The arrival of spring and pollen is accompanied for some unlucky people by the famous hay fever.
Among its notable symptoms is a stuffy nose.
And when it comes to hunting allergens and clearing your nostrils, washing your nose is recommended by health professionals.
However, this is far from being the only situation where this cleaning is required, confirm Georges Dib, ENT doctor at the Elsan private hospital in Eure-et-Loir, and Léa Wauquier, doctor of pharmacy and author of the book
Lea's pharma advice
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Not required on a daily basis
On average, about 12,000 liters of air per day circulate in our respiratory tracts.
As the human being is well constituted, our nose controls the inflow of inspired air through the nasal mucosa.
"Lined with microcilia, the latter naturally retains the microparticles that we inhale, preventing these substances from reaching the bronchi and lungs," says ENT doctor Georges Dib.
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However, the air we breathe is not always as pure as it seems.
Thus, if you live in the countryside, near a field, you will inhale a large quantity of pollen, which can cause allergies.
A dusty or polluted environment also brings its share of aerosols and other harmful particles.
And when these accumulate in the nose, the natural filter mechanism operates less well.
“In this sense, regular nose washing can be a good preventive gesture against this accumulation of substances in our nostrils, especially if you are prone to allergies or live in a big city.
But it is far from being obligatory”, nuance Georges Dib.
“If you ignore this cleaning, you do not increase the risk of being exposed to health complications”.
Recommended for ENT infections
On the other hand, when one contracts an ENT infection, such as a cold, sinusitis, pharyngitis or angina, washing the nasal cavities is no longer an option.
"This cleaning offers both a decongestant action improving respiratory comfort, and antimicrobial because it allows the elimination of secretions of germs and microbes", explains Dr. Georges Dib.
“At the first symptoms of cooling, in particular a runny nose, starting by washing your nose is a reflex”, abounds the doctor of pharmacy Léa Wauquiez.
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Which product to choose?
Before cleaning, it is important to choose the right product.
In the case of preventive and regular cleaning, health professionals recommend the so-called “isotonic” wash.
“It is a mixture of mineral salts to dilute, whose composition is similar to that of our nasal mucus.
Unlike pure water, which can irritate the mucous membrane, isotonic water is softer and completely painless”, assures Léa Wauquiez.
In practice, this dilutable mixture, sold by brands such as Rhinicur©, Respimer© or Rhino Horn©, is inserted into the nose via a "nasal shower", a pipette or even a horn-shaped nasal irrigation kit rhinoceros, also available in pharmacies.
Noses congested by an ENT infection will turn to a "hypertonic" solution, enriched with more mineral salts.
“The more salts there are, the more effective the cleaning will be.
Its use, on the other hand, must remain short-term, because it can weaken the mucous membrane and cause bleeding, ”warns ENT doctor Georges Dib.
This solution, sold in pharmacies most of the time in the form of a nasal spray, is also available according to need.
"Some hypertonic solutions are enriched with aloe vera, a thinning agent, others contain copper, with anti-infective benefits", informs Léa Wauquiez.
To wash, nothing could be simpler.
Whether you use a nasal spray, a pipette or a "horn", the instructions are the same.
If you have secretions, first start by blowing your nose.
Stand over a sink, tilt your head to the left, pinch the left nostril and inject the solution into the right one.
Release the left nostril and let the water flow out.
Repeat the same gesture on the other side.
Wait a few moments before blowing your nose again.
“For preventive washing, one cleaning per day is sufficient, to be carried out before going to sleep to prevent the particles from flowing into the bronchi during the night, advises doctor Georges Dib.
If the washing is for the treatment of an ENT infection, do it twice a day, morning and evening, for a week until the symptoms disappear.
And if the nose continues to be congested after this time, we consult our general practitioner.
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