Nasal irrigation with salt water (saline) is also called nasal wash, rinse, douche or lavage. It is a personal hygiene practice in which patient’s nasal cavity is washed with saline water to flush out debris and mucus. The earliest record of nasal irrigation practice is found in Ayurveda. Jal-neti is an old technique from India where in a container (Neti pot) is used to cleanse the nose with water.
This is often recommended to reduce the frequency & severity of symptoms associated with inflammation of nose and sinuses owing to allergies or other causes. It works by clearing out the allergens, irritants and bacteria from the nose and sinus cavities & also thinning and removing mucous secretions.
The indications of nasal douching are
1) Allergic rhinitis – If you are suffering from Allergic rhinitis you may be asked to perform douching to clean the nostrils from irritating allergens, debris and prevent infection of the nasal passages.
2) After nasal surgery – It helps remove the debris and scabs & also reduces the urge to pick the scab or blow the nose.
Various squeeze bottles can be used for irrigation. These are a part of the kit which also consists of sachets containing salt & baking soda mixture. Homemade solutions (boiled and cooled water, salt, baking soda) can also be used as an alternative to the commercially available kits.