A recent study has found that twice daily rinsing of the nasal mucosa helps reduce the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19. Nasal irrigation provides hydration to the nasal mucosa and flushes out dirt, viruses, and other contaminants. This study shows that there may be a treatment with almost no side effects that can provide a significant benefit for many patients.
Study: Nasal saline irrigation to reduce severity in high-risk COVID+ outpatients
In this study, 79 patients were selected who had just tested positive for COVID. Participants in this study used a saline nasal rinse twice daily soon after testing positive. It was important that all participants had tested positive on a PCR COVID-19 test within 24 hours to be included. In this group that was given the nasal irrigation, less than 1.3% experienced hospitalization. This is compared to a similar group reported by the CDC in which 9.47% of patients were hospitalized. The researchers concluded that the saline irrigation significantly reduced hospitalizations in COVID patients.
The patients who were selected for this study were considered high-risk due to their age – all were 55 years of age or older. This group is the most likely to be admitted to the hospital with complications from a COVID infection. Reducing hospitalizations in this group can significantly reduce mortality from COVID overall. That is why the researchers are especially enthusiastic about implementing this treatment as soon as possible.
Benefits of Saline Rinsing for Nasally Acquired Virus
Nasal irrigation has been studied in reducing the severity of other illnesses like the flu. Research has shown that nasal irrigation can reduce the severity and duration of these illnesses. Saline helps keep the nose hydrated which improves its functioning in clearing out contaminants. It also physically removes debris and virus that may be present. While it does not completely eradicate the virus, it removes enough to reduce the viral load. A higher viral load has been associated with more severe symptoms – the more virus in your body, the worse the illness.
By removing as much of the virus as possible in the first 24 hours, the researchers found that patients could reduce the severity of their illness. There are additional benefits however to nasal rinsing besides its obvious effectiveness. Some of the additional benefits of nasal irrigation as a preventative measure for COVID include that it is easy to use, inexpensive, and widely available. Nasal irrigation is a standard of care in remote areas where there are few medical resources. Coaching for use can be done remotely and the necessary product can be easily ordered online.
Nasal Irrigation Tips
To be effective, nasal irrigations should be done with a saline rinse made with boiled or distilled water. The saline rinse is made in a concentration that is compatible with the salt concentrations in the body to prevent irritation. Usually a nasal irrigation bottle is used that floods the nasal passages with water which then is discharged into the sink. An atomizer like the Rhino Clear Sprint may help hydrate the nasal passages but might not be enough to thoroughly clear all of the contaminants and debris.
Salt packets are available that contain instructions for mixing with distilled water to produce the rinse. It is important to follow these instructions carefully including paying attention to the volume of water to mix with the salt packet. Mixing in the wrong concentration can produce irritation in the nasal passages and make it difficult to complete the irrigation.
It is important to get tested as soon as you think you may have COVID in order to fully benefit from the use of nasal rinsing to reduce the severity of the illness. You should always talk to your doctor about any treatments you are using. Since nasal rinsing has many benefits and almost no side effects, there is usually no reason not to start using them regularly.
Twice-daily nasal irrigation reduces COVID-related illness, death, study finds – Science Daily
Rapid initiation of nasal saline irrigation to reduce severity in high-risk COVID+ outpatients – SAGE Journals