Today is Groundhog Day which means (whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow) there is light at the end of the winter tunnel! So if you or members of your family are still suffering from colds, congestion, or sinus infections, hang in there! And until the weather warms up here’s a super simple and effective way to keep all those nasty bugs at bay!
It’s widely believed that the most common reason for cold and flu outbreaks during the colder winter months is the fact that colder temperatures lead to drier air. This dries out nasal passages and without any lubrication, the nose can’t flush out bacteria, which results in a safe haven for germs.
Saline nasal spray is a simple remedy that helps to flush out mucus and bacteria. Adding moisture to the nasal passages also helps to combat stuffiness, congestion, and further infection.
There are several different options available for using a saline spray. The first is to simply buy a can of saline spray, usually available at any grocery store or pharmacy. This spray from Arm & Hammer contains only water, salt, and baking soda, and works well. However, a can will set you back about $9.00!
The other delivery methods for saline spray include reusable nasal spray bottles (Spark Naturals offers a nice glass option on their website), and a nasal irrigation pot commonly referred to as a “neti pot.” The nasal spray bottle is used by spraying 2-4 sprays in each nostril (depending on how strong the spray is), and allowing the solution to run out the nose.
A neti pot is used by pouring a saline solution into one nostril and allowing it to come out of the other nostril. There’s a small learning curve with a neti pots, but using one can also provide the best results because the solution travels all the way through the nasal passages, potentially clearing more irritants than a spray could.
So which of these three options should you choose? Well, the major advantage of both the reusable nasal spray bottle and the neti pot is that they can be used with a simple homemade saline solution that you can make for pennies!
Homemade Saline Solution
- 1 cup distilled, purified, or previously boiled water
- 1/8 tsp sea salt (I love Real Salt!)
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1 drop Eucalyptus essential oil (optional)
To make the solution, simply combine all the ingredients in a container and shake well until the salt and baking soda have dissolved. Pour the solution into your preferred delivery device and use as needed to manage sinus symptoms.
The salt and baking soda thin mucus and clean out irritants, but this saline solution gets an extra punch from the addition of a drop of Eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to calm inflamed nostrils and open the airways. (Note: since the mucous membrane inside the nose is sensitive, we’ve only added a very small amount of oil to this solution. I’ve used the solution and personally think the addition of the oil is very helpful, but if you’re uncomfortable with it for any reason, feel free to leave it out!)
If you or someone you care about are suffering from sinus issues, give this a try and let me know how it works! And remember….winter can’t last forever! :-)