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Saline Nasal Sprays and Nose Drops

Nonprescription saline nasal sprays and nose drops are used to keep nasal tissues moist, relieve nasal irritation, and help thick or dried mucus to drain.

Saline nose drops can be purchased without a prescription or can be made easily at home:

  • Mix ½ tsp (2.5 g) salt and ½ tsp (2.5 g) baking soda in 1 cup (240 mL) of distilled water (too much salt dries out nasal membranes). If you use tap water, boil it first to sterilize it, and then let it cool until it is lukewarm.
  • Place the solution in a clean bottle with a dropper (available at drugstores). Use as needed. Make a fresh solution every 3 days.
  • Insert drops while lying on a bed. The person should be on his or her back and hang the head over the side of the bed. This helps the drops get farther back. Wipe the dropper with a clean cloth or tissue after each use.
  • If the bottle does not have a dropper, the solution can be snuffed from the palm of the hand, one nostril at a time.

Saline sprays and nose drops can be used safely for as long as needed.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology
Current as of January 24, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 24, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.