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Natural Nasal Washing Relieves Chronic Sinus Symptoms Without Drugs

Problems associated with sinus congestion or irritation typically drive many of the millions of American sufferers to drug-based commercial remedies like psuedoephedrine pills or chemical nasal sprays. But a new study, published in the medical journal Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, indicates that a simpler method may be quite effective. The approach? Regular nasal washing with warm water and 2 percent saline. Researchers found that the all-natural treatment can often not only clear up sinus symptoms associated with cold and flu, allergies and sinusitis on a long-term basis, but it has been proven to improve overall quality of life in patients with sinus symptoms.

The study is the first to follow participants using nasal wash treatment, or hypertonic saline nasal irrigation (HNSI), over a long period of time. Three primary outcome measures, including Sino-Nasal Outcomes Test (SNOT-20), all showed significant improvement over the 18-month trial. Secondary outcome measures including frequency and pattern of HSNI use, side effects and satisfaction showed that participants reported improved quality of life and frequent, satisfying use of nasal washing.

Participants self-administered the 2-percent nasal wash solution through a SinuCleanse neti-pot. Results of the study showed decreased sinus symptoms, overall improved health and, a decreased use of sinus medication among nasal wash users.

"The study strengthens the argument that HSNI is a safe, well-tolerated, inexpensive, effective, long term therapy that patients with chronic sinonasal complaints can and will use at home with minimal training and follow-up,” concluded Dr. David Rabago of the Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin, the study’s lead author.

These results contribute more weight to results from initial studies that were done by the University of Wisconsin supporting nasal washing as a successful way to treat sinus problems over a short period of time.

"This study provides further scientific data to support nasal washing as a safe, effective and satisfying method for relieving and preventing sinus problems," said Madison, Wisconsin otolaryngologist, Dr. Diane G. Heatley. "Chronic sinus problems will not go away on their own. Like weight control, sinus problems must be managed over time."

Dr. Heatley has been recommending nasal washing to patients of her ear, nose and throat practice for over a decade. In 1997, she developed a commercial version of the neti pot suitable for family home use. The commercial version of the neti pot is called SinuCleanse, manufactured by Med-Systems Inc., the same nasal wash neti pot used in the study.

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