Seawater is one the best and natural ways to retain a healthy respiratory system. Winter is coming and flus and colds may cause nasal congestion, thus deteriorating the way of breathing in our everyday life.
Nasal congestion and stuffiness are among the most common problems during autumn and winter. They can be due to various conditions such as viral infections, sinusitis, colds, flu or allergies. Additionally, nasal congestion may be caused as a result of nasal surgery, inflammation and swelling of the nasal mucosa.
Depending on the cause of nasal congestion, it can be treated with both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical methods (corticosteroids, antihistamines, decongestants sprays, saline or salt water).
Although drugs appear to be indeed effective to relieve congestion, as they cause shrinkage of mucosal blood vessels, they cannot be taken for more than 4-5 days. In case of excessive use, they may lead to rhinitis, increased intensity of symptoms in case of interruption of use, addiction and other side effects such as drowsiness.
The value of seawater
Seawater is rich in salt (NaCl) and a variety of minerals and trace elements such as magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, selenium and sulfate salts. Thanks to its formula, helps to decongest nasal cavity by causing liquidation of nasal secretions while minerals provide protection against infections and nasal inflammations. Sea water also help increase moisture in nasal mucosa and remove dust, pollutants and germs.
Many studies have highlighted the value of seawater in the prevention and treatment of several infections of respiratory system. Advantages towards common decongestants sprays are:
- Not addictive
- Antiseptic properties
- Treatment of nasal congestion of any cause (allergy, cold, flus)
- Combination with medication
- Hydration and nourishment of nasal epithelium
- Long-term administration
- Protection from pharmaceutical rhinitis
- They do not affect taste or smell
- Safe use from infants and pregnant women
- Treatment and prevention of secondary infections and complications (otitis, bronchitis)
- Free from preservatives and chemical additives
How seawater acts
The action of sea water is based on osmosis. Osmosis is a natural phenomenon when fluids move towards a region of higher solute concentration, in a direction that tends to equalize the solute concentrations between the two sides. The osmotic action of seawater solutions depends on the concentration of salt (NaCl).
The concentration of NaCl normally in nasal tissues is about 0.9%. Nasal mucosa in contact with seawater solutions will cause a transport of excess water from the mucosa in the nasal cavity. This physical property will dilute the viscous and sticky mucous.
Types of nasal sprays
There is a big variety of nasal sprays, which are differentiated in terms of NaCl concentration.
Solutions that contain about 0.9% of NaCl, such as nasal tissues. They have mild decongestant effect and are suitable for light cases of catarrh, for prevention and treatment of nasal congestion in infants. Suitable for babies older than 6 months, children and adults.
Solutions that contain more than 0.9% of NaCl and have strong decongestant effects. Suitable for treatment of nasal symptoms such as severe stuffy nose with purulent and mucous secretions (chronic sinusitis, allergic rhinitis etc.). Suitable for children older than 1 year and adults.
Tips for better breathing in young children
- In case of nasal congestion, it is recommended to sleep on their backs
- Adequate hydration with enough water, hot tea or soups
- Increased moisture in the environment
When and how to use them
Seawater is suitable for daily and long-term use. In infants and children, it is usually recommended 1-2 sprays into each nostril, two to three times daily. In adults, it is recommended 1-3 sprays into each nostril, two to three times a day, depending on the severity of congestion. For prevention, you may use 1 to 2 sprays per day in each nostril.