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How to do a nasal wash

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

When the nostrils are ventilated, everything remains healthy when the air travels through them and the structures around them (ears and paranasal sinuses). On the other hand, when secretions stagnate within them, they will most likely continue to be ill and take longer to achieve a state of well-being. Also, when there is no stagnant mucus, the lungs work better.

A simple way to keep this respiratory system free of mucus is through nasal washes. This can be done in both adults and children. From FastlyHeal, we bring you the necessary information so that you know how to do a nasal wash at home.

Recipe to make a homemade nasal wash

To clean the nose, you can use: an isotonic physiological solution, hypertonic physiological solution (it will carry more mucus), diluted seawater, or make a homemade mixture that has the same effect.

To do a homemade nasal wash, you will need the following:

  • 100 ml of water.
  • One teaspoon of table salt, if it were with sea salt (which is better due to the number of beneficial minerals), one teaspoon should be diluted in 250 ml of water.

How many solutions should be used to wash the nostrils?

This differs in each case since it depends on the age, the characteristics of the mucus (thick or fluid), and its quantity:

  • child can use between 1 and 10 ml of solution per nostril as a general rule.
  • In a baby, it can be used from 1 ml, and at an older age, more may be required, which is highly variable according to each patient.
  • In adults50 to 150 ml per nostril may suffice.

On the other hand, the amount and consistency of secretions must also be considered. If the secretions are thick or abundant, more will likely be needed than if they were fluid.

How often should nasal washes be done?

The frequency of washings will also depend on the degree of obstruction and amount of secretions. In general, when there is mucus in the nostrils, a wash can be done, as long as it does not fall into exaggeration since numerous washes a day can irritate the lining of the nose and consequently damage it.

In children, it should be done before meals and before going to sleep since those are the times when the mucus generates more discomfort. Some professionals suggest that you can do up to 5 washes daily. It is also advisable to do it when they return from school since undesirable particles are dragged that could make them sick, especially in children with a predisposition to suffer from rhinitis, allergy, otitis, or asthma.

In adults, it is also a desirable practice to clean the nose frequently, even when there is no noticeable accumulation of mucus. In Ayurvedic medicine of Hindu origin, nasal washing almost daily is standard, like cleaning teeth. It is done because it is assumed that the body secretes toxins and waste through nasal secretions, which hinder normal functioning—a sense of smell and breath.

Another time when nasal washes are helpful is before using the nasal spray with medication. It prepares the nostrils to receive it and, thus, prevents stagnant mucus from disturbing the effect expected of the remedy.

With what elements can nasal washes be made?

Cleaning the nose can be done with different instruments:

  • There are nasal sprays of isotonic or hypertonic physiological solution that keep the nose moisturized, leaving the secretions more fluid, possibly being eliminated naturally, either by blowing the nose or swallowing the secretions. The difficulty is that the amount that these systems expel is very small, and if you have a cold or sinusitis, it will not be enough.
  • Another way is using a syringe. And it allows the liquid to be slowly instilled into the nostrils, hydrating the mucus and facilitating its expulsion. It is the most recommended method for children since both the pressure and the amount of infused solution can be controlled. You can also use the ampoules with physiological solution, which allows instilling drop by drop; They are often used more in babies but will not clean as effectively.
  • In adults, the most effective method is through so-called Neti jugs (or Neti pot). These come from Ayurvedic medicine. It is a kind of small teapot through which the solution is instilled into one and the other pit.

If you do not have any of these elements, an adult can perform the nasal wash simply with their hands.

How to do a nasal wash to a child

The step-by-step follow to do a homemade nasal wash for a child is as follows:

  1. The solution used should be warm. In this way, it will generate minor discomfort.
  2. Ideally, two adults should be involved in cleaning a child’s nasal passages, one holding the body and head still and the other doing the washing. If that is not possible, it is advisable to wrap the child with a sheet or towel and thus immobilize him. With this, we prevent it from moving, minimizing the possibility of hurting it.
  3. In infants and young children, lying on their backs is the ideal position. Older children and collaborators can remain seated with their heads tilted back.
  4. The solution should be placed in a nostril. In this way, the mucus will hydrate and become more fluid, allowing it to go to the throat, and the child swallows it.
  5. There is no fear that the child will swallow the mucus, as it is the usual route of elimination. It will go to the digestive tract and be eliminated.
  6. It is important not to put the syringe in the nose, as it can hurt it. On the other hand, the needle should be pointed back, not up or in the middle, since what is needed is for the liquid to reach the back of the nose and sweep the stagnant mucus there.
  7. To make it easier for the child to swallow the mucus, a forced aspiration (breathe deeply inward) must be generated. If it is a large child, one can ask it, but if it is small, it can be achieved by making it close its mouth, and since it will indeed be crying (not because of pain, but because of displeasure), that forced aspiration will be natural.

It is suggested to avoid using nose pads or nasal aspirators since they irritate the nose, can hurt it, and generate more mucus production. They are reserved for the case that the secretion remains even after forced aspiration, and oral nasal aspirators are recommended. Experts are wholly discouraged since they can cause damage to the eardrum by not being able to control the pressure that is sucked with it.

The process must be repeated for the other nostril so that both are clean.

Special care must be taken if the child suffers from a swallowing problem or neurological disease because the fluid may pass into the lungs. In this case, it is advisable to turn to a professional so that he can help.

How to do a nasal wash to an adult

Neti jug washing is explained as it is the most effective. If it is not available, it can be done with a syringe.

  1. As a first step, the solution must be heated until warm.
  2. The head should be tilted to one side and the liquid instilled through the higher nostril (that is, if the charge is lateralized to the right, the solution should be placed in the left nostril, and vice versa). This should be done by breathing through the mouth so that the liquid passes into the other nostril and not into the throat. What we achieve in this way is to clean both the sinuses and the sinuses.
  3. Then, the nose should be blown on the side where the serum came out, for which the nostril where it entered should be covered. (If the solution was placed on the left side, it must be covered to expel air through the right nostril later). In this way, the secretions will be appropriately secreted.
  4. Later, the whole process must be repeated, but on the other side, thus leaving both nostrils clean.

Suppose in this cleaning you swallow physiological solution or secretions. You should not worry since swallowing is the regular route that secretions take, but because it is in small quantities, it is not usually perceptible.

If the washing is done only with the hands, the way is as follows: a nostril must be covered, for example, the right one, and then with the left-hand warm solution is collected and breathed in through the nostril. The result will be the fluidization of secretions and subsequent expulsion or swallowing. This must be repeated several times on either side.

This way, we can ensure that the nasal wash will be effective and not generate significant inconveniences.

It is essential to emphasize that if you are unsure how to do nasal washes, it is best to consult your doctor if these are not enough to improve your health.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal.com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to do a nasal wash, we recommend that you enter our Well-being category.

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