Nasal congestion is a common symptom in rhinitis (both allergic and nonallergic), rhinosinusitis and nasal polyposis. Congestion can also be caused by physical obstruction of nasal passages and/or modulation of sensory perception. Mucosal inflammation underlies many of the specific and interrelated factors that contribute to nasal congestion, as well as other symptoms of both allergic rhinitis and rhinosinusitis. A wide range of biologically active agents (eg, histamine, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukins, cell adhesion molecules) and cell types contribute to inflammation, which can manifest as venous engorgement, increased nasal secretions and tissue swelling/edema, ultimately leading to impaired airflow and the sensation of nasal congestion. Inflammation-induced changes in the properties of sensory afferents (eg, expression of peptides and receptors) that innervate the nose can also contribute to altered sensory perception, which may result in a subjective feeling of congestion. Increased understanding of the mechanisms underlying inflammation can facilitate improved treatment selection and the development of new therapies for congestion.Saline sprays also help keep the cilia in your nose healthy. Cilia are small hair-like structures that help humidify air going 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 3 teaspoons of non-iodized salt (kosher salt with no additives is best) and one teaspoon of baking soda. Store this mixture in a small clean jar. When you are ready to use it, mix a teaspoon of the mixture into 8 ounces of distilled, sterile, or previously boiled and cooled water.