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Colds, sinusitis and hayfever – these are common ailments that cause blocked noses in millions of people around the world at any one time.
Of these three ailments, the cold is the most widespread and frequently experienced, which is why we often call it ‘the common cold’.1
All three of these conditions share similar symptoms such as a runny nose, a blocked or stuffy nose and sneezing.1

What causes a BLOCKED NOSE?

A blocked nose occurs when an infection or allergy causes the blood vessels in the nasal cavity to swell and for excessive fluid or mucus to be produced. This gives rise to a ‘stuffy feeling’.6

The sinuses and entire nasal cavity are lined with a thick layer of tissue called the nasal mucosa (also known as the mucocilliary layer or apparatus). This mucous membrane is responsible for transporting mucus. It provides an important defence mechanism against inhaled organisms and pollutants.3,4,5

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Saline nasal sprays

Nasal washing or douching, is a procedure that rinses the nasal cavity with either hypertonic or isotonic saline solutions. 10, 11

The Isotonic solutions have the same salt concentration as the cells that line the nasal cavity whereas hypertonic solutions have a higher salt concentration.10

It can be performed through a spray, pump, nebulizer or squirt bottle. Saline is a salt water that is thought to work by enhancing the nasal mucosa’s ability to resist the effects of irritants, infections and other inflammatory agents. 12 Saline is effective for use in managing symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infections, allergic rhinitis, and acute and chronic rhinosinusitis. 12

  • Clears a blocked nose5
  • It keeps noses running clear,5,12
  • eases breathing,12
  • moisturizes the nasal cavity 5, 11, 12
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Treatment

  • If a nasal spray hurts or scares babies/children, they won’t want to use it again. Use a product which contains a gentle micro mist, is preservative free and does not sting or burn, which is what you really need when helping your baby or child to breathe better.
  • Did you know that babies under the age of 6 months can only breathe through their noses, and if they have blocked noses, they struggle to latch onto the teat/nipple, swallow more air, and end up crying with discomfort or pain. By simply using a nasal spray 10 minutes before feeding, your baby would breathe and feed better.
  • Administering a nasal spray for a baby is a difficult task – holding your little one upright, trying to not push the nozzle too far up their tiny nose, pushing the nozzle down whilst trying to keep your little one’s head upright… a lot to remember, right? Choose a nasal spray with an easy thumb-press action, that sprays at any angle, so baby can be lying down, on his/her side, upside down, any angle.
  • Nasal sprays can be used in nursery- or school going kids to wash away pollen, dust, viruses and bacteria from the nose, reducing sniffles and allergies and reducing the frequency of colds and flu.
  • The fine micro-mist means that the spray doesn’t release a harsh, strong stream of liquid, meaning children, from a young age can use the sprays, repeatedly, themselves. Harsh aerosolised-type sprays tend to put children off using nasal sprays completely, defying the purpose of having the sprays.
  • Due to saline mimicking the nose environment, it can be used several times every day, even and especially for babies to breathe better (therefore drink, sleep and grow better). Indeed, helping babies drink and sleep better due to improving breathing and oxygen supply.
  • If your doctor has prescribed cortisone, using a spray before using the cortisone would wash away mucus from the nose, clearing the nose area for the cortisone to do its job, making the cortisone more effective, improving symptoms more quickly.
  • Make sure that the bottle design results in the contents remaining sterile despite being used, so there is no need to discard after use.
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  1. Derebery MJ, Dicpinigaitis PV. New Horizons: Current and Potential Future Self-Treatment for Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Conditions. Postgraduate Medicine 2013; 125(Issue 1):82-96.
  2. Porter RS (Ed-in-chief), The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook 2009: 1397-9. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey 2009. ISBN 978-1-11811-448-9.
  3. Chirico G, Beccagutti F. Nasal obstruction in neonates and infants. Minerva Pediatr 2010; 62(5):499-505.
  4. Rabago D. The Use of Saline Nasal Irrigation in Common Upper respiratory Conditions. US Pharmacist.com Continuing Education Available from URL: https://www.uspharmacist.com/ce (Accessed 26.02.2016).
  5. Papsin B, Mc Tavish A. Saline nasal irrigation: Its role as an adjunct treatment. Can Fam Physician 2003; 49:168-173.
  6. O’Shaughnessy KM, editor. British Medical Association New Guide to Medicines & Drugs 7th ed. London(UK) Dorling Kindersley; 2011:34-37, 51. 3.
  7. Beck-Speier I, Oswald B, Maier KL, et al. Oxymetazoline Inhibits and Resolves Inflammatory Reactions in Human Neutrophils. J Pharmacol Sci 2009; 110:276-284.
  8. Approved Drixine 0.05 % Nasal Drops, Nasal Spray and Pump Spray Package Insert.
  9. NIH-PA Author Manuscript. Saline Nasal Irrigation for Upper Respiratory Conditions. Am Fam Physician 2009; 80(10):1117-9.
  10. Achilles N, Mösges R. Nasal Saline Irrigations for the Symptoms of Acute and Chronic Rhinosinusitis. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 2013;13:229-235.
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6513421/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2778074/
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