Cochrane Summaries

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Nasal irrigation with saline (salt water) for the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis

Harvey R, Hannan SA, Badia L, Scadding G
Published Online: 
21 January 2009

The use of nasal irrigation for the treatment of nose and sinus complaints has its foundations in yogic and homeopathic traditions. It is often prescribed as an adjunct to other treatments such as intranasal steroids or antibiotics. However, there is significant effort involved in preparing and delivering the solutions. This review summarises the evidence for the effect of saline irrigations in the management of the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis. There is evidence that they relieve symptoms, help as an adjunct to treatment and are well tolerated by the majority of patients. While there is no evidence that saline is a replacement for standard therapies, the addition of topical nasal saline is likely to improve symptom control in patients with persistent sino-nasal disease. No recommendations can be made regarding specific solutions, dosage or delivery. There are no significant side-effects reported in trials.