Nasal congestion, or stuffy nose, is the miserable and annoying blockage of air flow in and out of the nose. The condition is caused when the nasal membranes swell, usually as a result of a cold, flu or even allergies. Since the mucus building up in the sinuses has nowhere to drain, it backs up into the sinus cavities until the blockage is relieved. A proactive approach that includes the use of homemade saline nasal spray can provide much welcome temporary relief for a stuffy nose.
Saline, or ordinary salt and water, is safe and effective for all stuffy noses. It can be used in mist or spray form, administered with an atomiser by adults and older children. It can be given to babies and very young children with an eyedropper or nasal syringe.
Although gentle and natural, saline nasal spray is powerful medicine. It works by partially breaking down and penetrating mucus build-up, temporarily relieving the pressure and discomfort caused by mucus obstruction. Although not as long-lasting as oral chemical decongestants, saline is all-natural and is not habit-forming. Therefore, it can be used as often as necessary.
Saline nasal spray also offers the benefit of gently soothing and moisturising dry, irritated, uncomfortable sinus and nasal passages. The same saline solution mixed with warm water can provide a soothing sore throat gargle as well.
Making Saline Nasal Spray
Distilled water is preferable to ordinary tap water for medicinal or cosmetic purposes because it's free of impurities present in tap water. If you don't have any, boil a cup of tap water for 10 minutes to purify it. Dissolve ¼ tsp of salt in the water and let it cool to room temperature. Fill a sterile nasal spray bottle or bulb syringe with it and give a couple of squirts into each nostril. For use with an eye dropper, tilt your head backward and administer 6 to10 drops into each nostril. Repeat this application as often as you need to.