Frequently Asked Questions About Saline Nasal Spray

Saline nasal spray is one of the most frequently used types of nasal sprays. This type of spray can be used when you have a cold, allergies or a dry nose. However, if you aren't very familiar with this type of spray, you may have many questions about it. Getting answers to your questions will better help you to understand when this type of nasal spray can be used, how you can make your own and how to properly clean the nasal bottle to prevent the spread of germs. Here are a few frequently asked questions about saline nasal spray and the answers.

How Does Saline Nasal Spray Work?

When sprayed in your nasal passages, saline spray helps to rinse out any mucus or snot in your nose while also moisturizing the nostrils. This helps to slow down the production of mucus while also helping to relieve the dryness and irritation associated with constantly blowing your nose.

Is Saline Nasal Spray a Prescription Medication?

Saline nasal spray is not a prescription medication. It is sold over-the-counter and can be found at grocery stores, big box retailers and drug stores. However, if you are looking for a low cost alternative, or simply don't feel up for driving to go pick up an over-the-counter nasal spray, you can easily make your own. Follow these steps to make your own saline nasal spray:

  1. Heat up one quart of water. This can be done on the stove top or in the microwave. The water does not need to be boiling but it does need to be hot enough so that salt can dissolve in it.
  2. Add two to three teaspoons of non-iodized salt to the water. Stir the mixture until the salt dissolves into the water.
  3. Next, add in one teaspoon of baking soda. Stir this until the baking soda dissolves in the water. The baking soda helps to neutralize the solution so that the salt does not sting your nose.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Do not use the mixture until it has cooled, or you can burn or hurt yourself.
  5. Fill a bulb syringe or neti pot with the solution and use it to clear out your nose.

How Do You Clean the Nasal Bottle?

It is recommended that you clean the nasal bulb, neti pot or top of the nasal spray bottle after each use. After all, you don't want to insert a germ-infested item back into your nose while you are trying to fight off the cold you are dealing with. Fortunately, cleaning all of these items is extremely easy. Simply fill up your sink with the hottest water you can stand to touch and add a drop of a liquid dish soap. When possible, use an antibiotic dish soap for better results. Twist the cap off of the nasal spray to remove the portion of the bottle that goes into the nasal passage and allow it to soak for a couple of minutes. If you are using a neti pot, allow the pot to soak in the hot water for a few minutes. If you are using a nasal bulb, fill the bulb with water and allow it to soak in the hot water for a few minutes as well. After the item has soaked, use a sponge or dish rag to gently scrub the item. Rinse it in cool water and flush the item by spraying it or squeezing it to remove any leftover soap residue. Allow it to air dry. 

When properly used, saline nasal spray may help relieve your allergy or illness-related runny or irritated nose. However, if you are experiencing severe allergy symptoms and your saline nasal spray is not helping, consider making an appointment with your doctor. They may prescribe you allergy medications or a fluticasone nasal spray to help relieve your nose irritation.