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Saline nasal sprays and nose drops

Nonprescription saline nasal sprays and nose drops are used to keep nasal tissues moist, relieve nasal irritation, and help thick or dried mucus to drain.

Saline nose sprays and drops can be purchased without a prescription or can be made easily at home. To make your own saline solution:

  • Mix 1 tsp (2.5 mL) non-iodized salt and 1 tsp (2.5 mL) baking soda in 2 cups (240 mL) of distilled water (too much salt dries out nasal membranes). If you use tap water, boil it first to sterilize it, and then let it cool until it is lukewarm.
  • Place the solution in a clean bottle with a dropper or a squeeze bottle (available at drugstores). You can also use a bulb syringe. Use as needed. Make a fresh solution every 3 days.

To use the nose sprays:

  • Stand over the sink with your head tilted forward and slightly to one side. Put only the tip of the syringe or squeeze bottle into the nostril that is farther away from the sink. (The nostril closer to the sink will drain the fluid.) Gently squirt the solution into the nostril toward the back of your head while your mouth is open. The solution should flow out the other nostril. Repeat on the other side and gently blow your nose.
  • Clean the syringe or bottle after each use.