People with chronic nasal congestion due to infection or allergies can find relief from symptoms through the use of a sinus rinse. A sinus rinse, also called nasal irrigation, is a technique in which a salt solution is passed through the nasal passageways to clear mucus and congestion. The side effects of a sinus rinse are typically minimal but should be discussed with a medical professional if they occur.
Stinging or Burning
People can experience a stinging or burning sensation when the saline rinse enters the nasal passageways, warn health professionals with National Health Services. This sensation can be uncomfortable and may cause certain people to sneeze after completing the nasal rinse. Severe burning or stinging may occur if there are open skin lesions within either nostril. Stinging or burning sensations are temporary and progressively subside with continued use of the saline sinus rinse.
A sinus rinse can cause a side effect of ear fullness in certain people, according to Drs. Rabago and Zgierska in a November 2009 article in the journal "American Family Physician." Ear fullness can be uncomfortable and may contribute to headache or hearing difficulties in certain people. These side effects of a sinus rinse gradually resolve with recurrent sinus treatments.
Rarely, certain people can experience a nosebleed, also called epitaxis, as a side effect of a sinus rinse, warn Drs. Rabago and Zgierska. The blood vessels within the nose can be damaged or irritated by a sinus rinse, which can cause them to bleed. If this occurs, affected people can notice small amounts of blood dripping from one or both nostrils. People who have recurrent nosebleeds or are unable to stop nasal bleeding within 15 to 20 minutes of onset should seek care from a physician, advise medical professionals with the Cleveland Clinic.
- "American Family Physician;" Saline Nasal Irrigation for Upper Respiratory Conditions; D. Rabago and A. Zgierska; November 2009
- Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust: Nasal Irrigation with Buffered Hypertonic Saline--Side Effects
- University of Wisconsin School of Medicine: Nasal Irrigation
- University of Michigan Health System: Saline Nasal Sprays and Irrigation--Are there any side effects?
- Cleveland Clinic: Nosebleed (Epistaxis)