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Use Nasal Saline to Combat Spring Allergies

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Spring allergy season is in full swing around the country and we probably have four to six more weeks ahead of us. So many people are having a hard time with allergies this year, and many people are being affected that have never even experienced allergies previously. Check the pollen counts in your area, but ours in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have been sky high and tremendous amount of wind continuing to spread the pollens.

I know I have emphasized the use of steroid nasal sprays in the prevention of allergic symptoms. These need to be taken on a regular basis to provide maximum benefit. But nasal saline irrigation is being shown to be more and more helpful in controlling allergic symptoms. The use of nasal saline has been around for years, originating in India, and allergists have long promoted its use. With endorsements this year by Oprah, the use of the Netti pot has soared and many patients are feeling relief from clogged nasal passages and sinuses that irrigation may provide.

Pediatricians have used a form of nasal irrigation for years in infants and young children when they have a cold. The bulb syringe that every parent receives on discharge from the hospital is a mini-Netti pot. By using a small amount of salt-water solution placed into the nostril of an infant, the parent can suction mucous out of an infants nose that they are unable to blow. Young children seem reticent to learn how to blow their nose (although I am convinced that girls acquire this ability before boys who find it perfectly appropriate to wipe it on their sleeve), and many children may be in elementary school before they are capable of effectively blowing their noses.

So during this allergy season, you might consider adding a Netti pot (or competitors product, there are many out there) to facilitate removing pollens and other allergens from the nose and sinus cavity. Once you have tried using it, children are even surprised at how much better they feel. I told a little boy today, using the warm water in the nose is a leap of faith, just try it once, the same way you tried riding a bike, and you may find relief from that allergic nose wiping.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

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