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Saline solutions

Allergy, General | November 25, 2020 | Author: Naturopath

nose, allergy, general

Saline solutions

Saline solutions are a mixture of salt and water. Solutions of saline have many applications. They are helpful for when the nasal passages are congested from allergies or the common cold, are a great resource in the first aid kit for cuts and abrasions, can be used as an eye wash and for the cleaning and storage of contact lenses. Saline can also benefit skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, and prevent dry nose when flying. It is safe to use with babies, small children and in pregnancy. 

Saline for Nasal irrigation

Nasal congestion can have quite an impact on health. It can affect speech, cause headaches, poor concentration, snoring and sleep disturbances.

The respiratory tract between the nose and the alveoli of the lung is exposed daily to viral and bacterial pathogens, and along with other mechanisms, the mucociliary clearance system is considered a primary defence mechanism. The surface of airways is lined by ciliated epithelial cells plus an airway surface layer of mucus and lubrication. Mucus traps inhaled particles and foreign pathogens, and lubrication facilitates efficient mucus clearance. The cilia are specialized organelles resembling hair-like structures providing the force needed to transport foreign matter towards the mouth where they can be expectorated or swallowed. The cilia beat in waves in a coordinated manner to clear the paranasal sinus cavities and upper airway of the mucus. Saline can help!

Nasal irrigation with saline solution can improve mucociliary clearance.

Nasal irrigation can help clear congestion, move mucus and wash away inhaled allergens and irritants such as pollen, dust and pathogens. 

Saline irrigation, also known as nasal douching, washing or lavage, uses an isotonic or hypertonic saline solution to rinse the nasal cavities. Low-pressure is used via a spray, pump, squirt bottle or nebulizer.

Saline nasal sprays are gentle, non-medicated, non-habit forming, with no re-bound effect. They are an effective and easy way to relieve nasal congestion which helps with breathing. Formulas are available as still saline sprays, sparkling saline sprays (infused with microbubbles), and combined with tea tree and eucalypts oils.

Saline rinses /washes are ideal for daily cleaning of nasal and sinus cavities. They can help with sinus congestion from rhinitis, allergies, cold and flu and sinusitis, and post-surgery cleaning. The larger volume of saline solution helps clear away allergens, pollutants and excess mucus from nasal passages.

Saline nasal sprays usually come in two salt concentrations. Isotonic (sodium chloride) is equal to the concentration of salt found in body fluids – equal to 0.9%w/v. Hypertonic is a salt concentration higher than that found in body fluid – greater than 0.9w/v. the hypertonic solution draws fluid out, relieving sinus pressure.

These can be effective for use for people suffering from conditions of the nasal passages such as:

Allergic rhinitis - as an alternative to, or adjunct with medicated nasal spray, nasal irrigation can help reduce the severity of allergic rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis, also referred to as hay fever, is a common non-infectious form of rhinitis (nasal inflammation) caused by an allergic response by the body to a perceived allergen. It results in nasal congestion, frequent sneezing, runny nose, post nasal drip, itchy eyes, ears, nose and throat; red, itchy or watery eyes, and headaches. Treatment prescribed is commonly medication for allergies and medicated nasal sprays. These can address the allergic reaction and reduce the inflammatory response. Saline nasal sprays are a useful between nasal medication or can be used prior to medication to help remove accumulated nasal secretions and allergens.

Upper respiratory infections – saline helps clear sinuses, relieves congestion which helps make breathing easiler.

Sinusitis/ Acute rhinosinusitis is inflammation of the sinus and nasal mucosa which persist after a viral infection (cold or flu). Symptoms include nasal congestion and discharge, loss or reduction in taste or/and smell, facial pain and tooth discomfort. 

After nasal surgery the nasal passages can be inflamed and swollen and contain crust of dry blood and mucus which irritates. Saline rinses can help clear the debris. Be advised by your ENT surgeon on when and how to use a saline rinse.   

Frequent flyers. The low humidity in aircraft cabins can result in dry and stuffy nasal passages, potentially leaving the body underdefended against airborne pathogens. Nasal sprays can thin mucus, moisturise and restore natural defence and clearing system of the nasal passages.

Safe for babies. Saline nasal sprays are available for use of nasal congestion in babies. This can occur due to viruses and allergies. The non-medicated, non-sting, alcohol-free and preservative – free formulas are a gentle and quick way of relieving nasal congestion in new-born babies and toddlers. These work well when used with nasal aspirators which gently help remove mucus from around baby's nose.

As a gargle, salt water can soothe and relieve a sore and inflamed throat and mouth. It can be useful in health conditions such as upper respiratory viral infections, allergy irritations, dental infections and mouth ulcers. Salt helps draw out fluid from tissues and effectively blocks pathogenic invaders from entering.

Skin irritations such as eczema and rashes can benefit from the use of saline. Saline has bee been found to supports the barrier function of the skin which helps prevent bacterial infection, stimulates skin cell regeneration and skin exfoliation.  

First aid First aid. Saline is a handy first aid product to have in the medical box. It can be the first choice for a use in number of medical applications such as ​to clean a wound of debris and damaged skin cells without interfering with the normal healing process. Normal sterile saline is regarded as the most appropriate and preferred cleansing solution because it is a nontoxic, isotonic solution that does not damage healing tissues. 

As an eye wash, saline is safe to use to flush the eye of foreign objects or to relieve irritation.

Low concentrated saline solutions should not sting when applied to an open wound. Saline solutions are available in sterile ampules for single use – handy in the first aid kit.

Cleaning solution. Saline is used to clean  and soak contact lenses and can be used to clean piercings.

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References

Saline irrigation for allergic rhinitis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29932206/

Hypertonic Saline Versus Isotonic Saline Nasal Irrigation: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29774747/

Cilia and Mucociliary Clearance https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5378048/

Acquired cilia dysfunction in chronic rhinosinusitis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3906518/

Effect of the temperature of nasal lavages on mucociliary clearance: a randomised controlled trial https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30006653/

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Water for wound cleansing https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22336796/

Wound Cleansing: Water or Saline? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1472650/

Respiratory Tract Infections and its Preventive Measures among Hajj Pilgrims, 2010: A Nested Case Control Study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793484/

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