How to Do Sinus Irrigation

 By: Jillian Phillips
Sinus irrigation is the process of flushing excess mucus, bacteria and other debris out of the nose and sinuses. The principle of this process is quite simple: a solution made from a combination of water and salt is allowed to enter through one nostril and drain out of the other. Sinus irrigation works not only for sinus infections but also for conditions like common colds, asthma and nasal allergies. There are several ways by which sinus irrigation can be done:

Using a Squeeze Bottle
With this method, the irrigating solution is contained in a squeezable bottle. One major disadvantage of using the squeeze bottle is that it may allow contaminants from the tip to be sucked back into the container, contaminating the bottle tip or container itself. This is especially a matter of concern when the squeeze bottle is reused. In order to prevent this, choose a squeeze bottle that can be easily and thoroughly cleaned with soap and water. Adding a few drops of chlorine or household bleach to the water that is used to rinse the bottle after use can be beneficial. The tip may also be disinfected with 70% alcohol and whenever possible, must be air dried in between use. The squeeze bottle should be reused sensibly and replaced regularly to prevent bacterial or mold invasion.

Using a Syringe
With this method, the irrigating solution is drawn into a syringe of 10 to 50 ml capacity. Then, with the needle removed, the patient positions his head and squirts the syringe's content into the nasal passages and sinuses. The syringe can then be discarded after use.

Using an Irrigator
An irrigator is a specially designed device that was meant for irrigation. Various models and brands of irrigators have their own distinct features. And while some are good enough to perform its basic function, some have been created with complex features. Some, for instance, were designed in such a way that the volume and pressure of the irrigating fluid can be controlled. Moreover, some models are even capable of pulsating action, similar to the movement of cilia, the hair-like projections found on the surface of the cells lining the nasal passages.

Aside from the state-of-the-art features of some irrigators, the function of irrigators has likewise changed. Nowadays, the concept of medicated irrigation has been introduced. Now, irrigation does not have the sole function of washing away debris and irritants. It can also be used to administer medications when there is already an existing sinus infection. An example of a specialized medicated irrigator is ActiveSinus, by Sinus Dynamics. Prescribed medications are compounded, or customized in forms suitable for use with your ActiveSinus irrigator. The liquid medication is poured into the ActiveSinus, and then the nasal cavities and sinuses are irrigated with the solution. This permits the irrigating solution's active ingredients to come directly in contact with the membranes of the nasal and sinus passages to bring much needed relief pronto. Because of its design, it is resistant to bacterial and fungal overgrowth in between use.

You can ask your doctor for more information about the advantages of medicated sinus irrigation. He or she can also tell you the wide range of techniques you can employ to address your sinusitis. Then, you can choose the technique that will most probably work best for you.
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