Cold and flu season is in full effect and it seems like everyone I know (myself included) is complaining of the same symptoms: sore throat, sinus congestion, runny nose, headache, sneezing and coughing. What many people fail to realize is that all of these symptoms come from the same source: sinus irritation, swelling and drainage. There is also a simple solution that can relieve all of these symptoms: an easy DIY Sinus Rinse Recipe.
Most of America first heard about sinus rinse treatments from Dr. Oz on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Since I never really watched Oprah, I heard it from the second most common source: my mother. Being a long time sufferer of sinus infections, I was willing to try anything. I was impressed with how well it worked and the instant relief it gave me. Not only did it flush out a lot of the mucus that was causing my congestion, but it also reduced the swelling that was causing my headaches and migraines.
The two most common brands of sinus rinses on the market are made by NeilMed and Ayr, but there are now several generic brands also available. I purchased a NeilMed Sinus Rinse kit from the drug store. It came with a bottle and several packets of powder to mix your own saline solution with distilled water. You can purchase additional packets of dry saline mix when you use up your starter kit. The problem is those packets can get expensive, and they create a lot of waste from the additional packaging. I decided to do some research and make the mix myself. It’s a simple mixture that I store in a mason jar. I usually keep a bottle of distilled water on hand so I can mix as needed.
DIY Sinus Rinse Recipe
In a food processor, mix ingredients together for about 1 minute to blend well. Store in an airtight container. When you’re ready to make a saline solution, mix 1/2 tsp of mix with 8 oz of distilled water. If you do not have distilled water, you can boil water and cool it before use, but be sure that it is completely cooled to prevent burning the inside of your nose. I find that it’s just easier to keep a bottle of distilled water handy.
Lean over the sink while you perform your sinus rinse. When you flush your nostrils, the saline solution will go up one nostril and come out the other. Some of the solution may also come out of your mouth, so I recommend keeping your mouth open. Place the tip of the bottle up one nostril and squeeze to force the liquid into your sinuses. It will be a strange sensation the first time, but it should not burn. If it does, then your salt/baking soda/water ratio is off. I recommend flushing 8 oz of solution up each nostril. When you’re finished, there will still be some solution in your sinuses. It will drain with time, but you may find it draining at very inconvenient times (like when you’re bent over a basket of clean laundry). If you want to blow out some of the saline, do so very gently and do not block one nostril to blow out the other. You will almost certainly damage an ear drum and cause yourself a lot of pain.
Make sure you sanitize your bottle or syringe after each use to prevent bacteria growth. You can do so by running it in the dishwasher or placing it in boiling water for a few seconds. I have found the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags to be a very handy way to sanitize things in my microwave. The bags are designed for baby products, but they’ll work for anything that will fit in the bag. Simply add 2 oz of water and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Works like a charm.