If you suffer from allergies, perhaps you’re seeking some natural remedies to treat your congested nose and scratchy throat. Many allergy sufferers opt for natural remedies, especially if they’re not finding effective relief with allergy medicines and treatments.
While the results of studies vary, saline nasal sprays may give you nasal allergy relief.
In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics, including some of the most cherished medical myths out there. For our March/April 2012 issue, we talked to Michael Palumbo, MD, an allergist with Allergy & Clinical Immunology Associates in Pittsburgh, about the popular idea that honey helps prevent allergies.
Q: Can local honey help my allergies?
A: No. The theory that taking in small amounts of pollen by eating local honey...
How can natural remedies like nasal sprays help my allergies?
With allergies, there’s nasal obstruction and inflammation. When the normal clearance of mucus from the nasal passage toward the throat becomes obstructed, it leads to retention of mucus within the sinus cavities. Saline nasal sprays may help liquefy these secretions and decrease the risk of crusting in the sinus cavities, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.
Some studies support the use of saline solution (salt water) to restore moisture to dry nasal passages and sinuses and to lessen the inflammation of mucous membranes. Findings show that if saline irrigation is used regularly, it can help to thin mucus, decrease postnasal drip, and cleanse your nasal passages of bacteria.The two main ways to use saline irrigation are with a Neti pot or small squirt bottle.
What type of saline nasal spray is a natural remedy for allergies?
You can purchase 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 saline sprays have a higher concentration of salt than that of bodily tissue. Both types of saline sprays can help clear mucus, according to studies, which helps keep your sinuses healthy and infection-free.
Saline sprays also help keep the cilia in your nose healthy. Cilia are small hair-like structures in your nose that help humidify air to your lungs, trap bacteria to prevent them from entering the cells, and aid your sense of smell. By keeping cilia healthy, studies show that saline sprays may help treat rhinitis and sinusitis.
When should I use this natural remedy for allergy prevention?
Over-the-counter saline sprays and rinses can help remove pollen from the nasal lining if you’ve been exposed to pollen. People often use them at the end of the day. You can also use saline nasal sprays to add moisture if your nose feels dry from winter weather.
Also, before you use a nasal steroid spray to treat your allergies, doctors suggest you first use a saline nasal spray to cleanse the nose and rid it of thick mucus and debris. Thick mucus can keep the nasal steroid spray from coating the nasal mucosa, where it’s most effective.