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Nasal douche

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Reasons for douching

  • After nasal surgery. After nasal surgery the inside of the nose and can often be left raw and sore. The mucus produced by the nose can become dry and form a crust. This drying can mean that healing is delayed and infection can develop. After surgery, nasal douching can help to prevent dry crusts (scabs) from forming by washing them away.
  • After epistaxis. After a nose bleed crusts can form. Nasal douching can keep these soft and prevent further bleeding.
  • Rhinitis. Washing away excess mucus along with any allergens or irritants helps to reduce the amount of inflammation in the nasal passages and relieve symptoms.

Recipe for douching

To make the solution, in a jug, mix:

  • 1 level teaspoon of salt.
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate.
  • 1 pint of freshly boiled water.

Leave to cool, until the solution feels slightly warm to touch.

Directions for douching

1. Prepare the solution as described above.

2. Stand over a bowl or sink and pour some of the solution into the cupped palm of your hand.

3. Sniff the solution from your palm into one nostril.

4. Repeat at least 3 times in each nostril until your nose feels comfortable.

  • You may, if you wish, gargle with the remaining solution to help clear any residual mucus from the back of your throat.
  • Try not to swallow any of the mixture, always spit out as much as you can.
  • Discard any leftover solution: it is recommended that you prepare fresh solution each time you douche.

Use the douche 3 times a day EVERY DAY until your nose is clear (this may take up to 2 weeks).

If you have a plaster of paris (POP) splint on your nose, you should soak some cotton wool in the solution and sniff this. It will avoid getting the splint wet.

What if I have been prescribed nasal drops or sprays?

Continue to use them as normal but always apply them after douching.

Where can I get further information?

NHS Choices provides online information and guidance on all aspects of health and healthcare, to help you make choices about your health.

Who can I contact with any concerns or questions?

If you have any problems or are worried, please do not hesitate to contact us in the Ear, Nose and Throat Outpatient Department.

Royal Sussex County Hospital telephone: 01273 696955 extension 64813.

This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Publication Date: May 2021

Review Date: February 2024

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