The technique of nasal irrigation may be used to treat specific complaints related to your sinuses, including congestion from the common cold, allergies and sinusitis. Doctors also recommend nasal irrigation following surgery to correct chronic sinus problems. The method is a non-invasive, drug-free way to clear your sinus cavities of mucus, bacteria and allergens, notes the University of California School of Medicine in San Diego. There are tools and machine made exclusively for nasal irrigation. Attachments are also available that turn a Water Pik from a dental cleaning device into a nasal irrigation system.
Clean the Water Pik tank with warm, clear water.
Fill the Water Pik's tank with lukewarm water. Measure 2 tsp. baking soda or table salt and mix it into the warm water in the reservoir tank.
Position yourself near the sink, leaning forward far enough to allow water to flow into the sink after irrigation.
Insert the irrigation attachment in one nostril. Position your head so that it tilts down and in the opposite direction from the Water Pik. For instance, if you start with your left nostril, hang your head down and to the right.
Turn the water jet on to the lowest setting and allow the water to enter one nostril and flow out the other. Breathe through your mouth during this operation to avoid inhaling too much water in your nose.
Rotate the Water Pik nozzle inside your nostril to aid the irrigation process. Clear fluid will begin flowing out of the other nostril.
Switch to the other nostril after you've used between a quarter and a half of the water in the tank. Repeat the process, this time hanging your head so that the unfilled nostril tilts toward the sink.
Pinch your nose gently and blow through your nostrils.
Empty the tank, if any water remains. Refill with warm water only. Do not add baking soda to this rinsing step as you did with the cleansing irrigation.
Use the same method for the rinse irrigation you employed for the cleansing stage. Irrigate one nostril at a time, gently rotating the nozzle inside your nose until the water runs clear.
Refill the reservoir with warm water and 1 oz. liquid nasal deodorizing solution, if directed by your doctor. This third irrigation is known as a deodorizing irrigation.
Things You'll Need
Nasal irrigation attachment for Water Pik
Table salt or baking soda
Nasal deodorizing solution (optional)
Check with your doctor about the best nasal irrigation methods for your condition. Some physicians recommend either table salt or baking soda for the cleansing step. Opinions also vary concerning the optimum temperature of the water. Unless your doctor says otherwise, keep the temperature between 72 and 110 degrees F.
Depending on your nasal problem, your doctor may recommend your using nasal irrigation one to three times a day.