What should I rinse with?

Saline is the same as salt water. You can purchase salt sachets from Dr Clancy or the pharmacy or make your own saline solution. Good brands to purchase are FLO or FESS. Rinses are more effective that mist sprays. Mist sprays are more convenient when you are travelling or at work.

Home made saline

To fill a 200ml nasal rinse bottle: 200ml water plus half a teaspoon of salt (and an optional pinch of bicarbonate of soda.)

To make 1 litre of saline: 1 litre water plus 2.5 teaspoons salt (and an optional half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.)

Dissolve salt and bicarb with boiling water and allow to cool before use. Saline can be stored in a clean sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. After surgery it is essential to use boiling water to make the saline solution. However, for non-surgical nasal symptoms, warm tap water is probably OK to use, provided your tap water is safe for drinking. The simpler the preparation, the more likely you are to rinse regularly.

How do I put the saline into my nose?

You can purchase a nasal rinse bottle from Dr Clancy’s staff or from the pharmacy. Netti pots can also be used but are less effective because the rinse pressure is lower.

Put saline solution into a nasal rinse bottle. Cold saline may cause pain. You can heat the saline for 10-20 seconds in the microwave with the lid off and shake well before using. Rinse each side of the nose with half of the bottle (100ml each side). Place your head forward over a sink, put the tip of the bottle in one nostril, squeeze the bottle and let the water run up into the nostril and then out of the opposite nostril. Breathe through your mouth while you rinse, don’t hold your breath, to prevent water going into the throat.

Thoroughly wash the bottle in hot soapy water and allow to dry completely every few days. You can purchase cleansing solutions from the clinic or pharmacy if required.

How often should I rinse my nose?

After nasal surgery use at least four times a day for six weeks. It is OK to rinse more often if desired. You can then rinse once or twice a day or whenever needed.

For rhinitis and hayfever or other nasal symptoms, use as needed. Rinsing is particularly effective before you use your steroid spray and after exposure to dust at work or pollen after gardening or harvesting.

If you have had treatment for polyps, you may be prescribed steroid rinses. Use these once a day for 6 months after surgery then check with the surgeon if you need to continue. Make up the saline rinse with water and salt first, then shake, then squirt one ampoule of liquid steroid into the rinse bottle, shake then rinse.