(AscendHealthy.com) – In theory, the idea makes perfect sense: Flush out your sinuses to keep them clear of the virus. Nasal irrigation can be a helpful tool against allergies and sinus infections, but can it prevent COVID-19 infections? The answer’s a little more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.”
See Whether Nasal Irrigation Can Prevent COVID-19.
Benefits of Nasal Irrigation
Saline nasal irrigation is an effective therapy for chronic rhinosinusitis. Some evidence suggests it can also be helpful against mild or moderate allergies, and it may reduce the severity of some upper respiratory infections. The saline solution can be helpful in keeping sinus passages moist, reducing irritation and inflammation. This might improve some pathogen resistance — but that protection may not necessarily apply to all infections, including COVID-19.
The WHO recently published a list of “Mythbusters,” warning the public about bad bits of advice that have been circulating online. Among them is a piece on saline nasal rinses. Although a clinical trial is currently in the works to formally rule out this approach, the official word is that nasal irrigation does not protect against COVID-19 infection.
The reason is simple: Your sinuses aren’t the only potential route of infection. You can breathe the virus in through your mouth, bypassing the sinuses altogether. You can even catch COVID-19 through your eyes. Put simply, nasal irrigation isn’t going to clear traces of the virus from every possible point of entry. A good flush might help reduce your chances of infection, so it may be worth doing if you’re concerned you’ve been exposed, but it’s far from being a preventative and definitely shouldn’t be counted on for any meaningful protection.
Nasal irrigation may be a helpful tool in controlling sinus inflammation and reducing infections, but it has its limits. For now, wearing a mask out in public and practicing good hand hygiene are the most proven ways to reduce COVID-19 transmission. Stay safe out there!
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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