Wondering if your nagging cold is actually an allergy? Or what about your new skin cream that made your hands break out? Distinguishing an allergy from a non-allergic condition is not always a clear-cut task. But knowing the difference can sometimes help you solve what's ailing you, which in turn could mean faster relief.
Mary Fields knows just how difficult pinpointing an allergy can be. The 64-year-old Bronx resident tells WebMD she was convinced her frequent hives were caused by something in...
You can buy an over-the-counter saline solution or make one at home.
Most over-the-counter saline nasal sprays are isotonic, which means the solution is the same saline concentration as in your body. Hypertonic versions have a higher concentration of salt than what’s in your body. Both types can help clear mucus.
Saline sprays also help keep the cilia in your nose healthy. Cilia are small hair-like structures that help humidify air to your lungs, trap bacteria to keep them from entering the cells, and aid your sense of smell. By keeping cilia healthy, saline sprays may help treat rhinitis and sinusitis, studies show.
When should I use it?
Over-the-counter saline sprays and rinses can help remove pollen from the nasal lining. People often use them at the end of the day. You can also use these sprays to add moisture if your nose feels dry from winter weather.
If you use a nasal steroid spray to treat your allergies, doctors suggest you first use a saline spray to cleanse the nose and rid it of thick mucus and debris. Thick mucus can keep the steroid from working as well as possible.
How do I make a saline solution?
You can easily make one to wash your nose and sinuses at home. This natural remedy can be used with a bulb syringe, a Neti pot, a plastic squirt bottle, or your cupped hands.
To make the solution, mix 2 to 3 heaping teaspoons of non-iodized salt (kosher salt with no additives is best) to 1 quart of distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water. Add a teaspoon of baking soda.