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Nasal Saline Irrigation and COVID-19 Severity Reduction

By Caitlin Potere  •   2 minute read

Nasal Saline Irrigation and COVID-19 Severity Reduction

A recently published scientific trial concluded that using nasal saline irrigation twice daily greatly reduced severity, risk of hospitalization and death in high risk Covid-19 patients.  Study participants started the nasal saline irrigation within 24 hours of testing positive for Covid-19 on a PCR test.  The study found that participants who used the nasal irrigation were over 8 times less likely to be hospitalized than the national rate.

What exactly is "nasal saline irrigation"? 
In basic terms, it's the process of rinsing the inside of your nose and sinuses with specially prepared salt water.  We recommend using a neti pot and neti salt.  View our collection here.  We've known for a long time that using a neti pot during a respiratory infection or seasonal allergies can help relieve symptoms by physically flushing bacteria, viruses, and pollen out of the body.  Click here to read step-by-step instructions on how to perform nasal saline irrigation.

Limitations of the study
Keep in mind, while this research article was published in August 2022, the actual study took place between September 24th and December 21, 2020, which was (1) during the original Covid-19 strain, and (2) before any of the vaccines became available.  It would be interesting to expand and repeat the study to see how well nasal saline irrigation performs against the newer strains, as well as comparing vaccinated versus unvaccinated participants.

Our takeaways
Nasal saline irrigation is an easy, affordable and accessible health intervention and is safe for almost all ages, including children as young as 2 years old.  The use of a saline irrigation twice daily for 14 days during a Covid-19 infection is likely to reduce viral load and improve health outcomes.  It may be more effective for unvaccinated individuals; further testing would be needed to determine exactly how effective nasal saline irrigation is for vaccinated individuals.  However, we don't think it could hurt for anyone to use a neti pot while sick.


Click the "read" button to view the full text of the study.


Baxter AL, Schwartz KR, Johnson RW, et al. Rapid initiation of nasal saline irrigation to reduce severity in high-risk COVID+ outpatients. Ear, Nose & Throat Journal. 2022;0(0). doi:10.1177/01455613221123737


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