Now, one can take over the counter decongestants, but they have side effects. I usually take a knock off of 24 Claritin for my itchy throat and watery eyes. But for congestion, I have succumbed to the nasal rinse and can now sing its praises!
About.com actually has a pretty decent article about using nasal rinses. So, if you are intrigued, check it out.
The key that I have found to using saline rinses is to be consistent with it to keep congestion at bay. I usually have to do it once in the morning and once at night when I'm really congested and only once a day when it's not so bad.
Best thing about nasal rinses is that they cost next to nothing when you make them yourself. It's also great that they are pretty natural compared to a decongestant in pill form. The worst thing about nasal rinses is the learning curve in figuring out how to do them. But, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
To make a saline nasal rinse, mix the following in a clean container:
- ½ to 1 teaspoon non-iodized salt (such as pickling or canning salt)
- Pinch of baking soda (to prevent burning – can increase the amount as needed)
- 1 cup of warm water (filtered or previously boiled water)