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Feature Article

Find Relief With a Sinus Rinse

Sinus pressure or clogged sinuses can happen when the membrane that lines your nasal passages gets swollen or irritated due to a cold, allergies, sinus infection or other condition. Mucus builds up so your sinuses can’t drain normally, which can cause pain, pressure or an infection.

If you suffer from clogged sinuses, an at-home treatment that can help is sinus rinsing, also known as nasal irrigation. This treatment is safe when done correctly and can help relieve congestion, a runny nose or sneezing.

Sinus rinsing helps remove or loosen mucus and rinse away pathogens or allergens like dust, mold, bacteria, dirt and pollen that can irritate the sinuses. This helps relieve nasal pressure and congestion.

The type of sinus rinsing container to use is up to user preference and comfort. The main types are:

  • Neti pot — shaped like a teapot.
  • Rinse bottle — a squeeze bottle.
  • Prefilled saline solution with an applicator.

All the sinus rinse containers are used in the same general way and can be found over the counter at most pharmacies.

Follow these steps to use a sinus rinse:

  1. Start by washing your hands and the nasal irrigation container with soap and water.
  2. Fill the container with saline solution made with distilled, boiled or filtered water and prepackaged saline packet. Tap water is not safe for sinus rinsing and can cause infection.
  3. Lean forward over the sink with one side of your face pointing toward the sink.
  4. Start irrigating by placing the container’s tip or spout over your top nostril. Squeeze or tilt the solution into your nose and continue until the container is empty. Let the solution drain out of your nose into the sink.
  5. Blow your nose to clear out any remaining solution or mucus.
  6. Repeat this process on the other side.

If your symptoms don’t improve or worsen, contact your provider or nurse advice line, often provided by your health plan provider.