A Saltwater Adventure (Except Not the Fun Kind): On Nasal Spray

When I was first diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, I hadn’t even realized I was having nasal symptoms. Unlike the date of my asthma diagnosis, which has been burned into my head, I can’t even remember when I learned I have allergic rhinitis. Every so often though, I’ve chronicled some of the journeys with this annoying set of symptoms here on Asthma.net.

The first time was 5 years ago, with The Ups and Downs of Allergic Rhinitis. It's clear through subsequent articles such as the aptly-titled Analyzing My Non-Adherence to Nasal Steroids (2017 - still doin’ that), the conversations with my docs about The Optional One (2019), and analyzing side-effects in Winter 2020 that despite frequently revisiting this topic in my brain (which then turns into my writing), I still haven’t got myself into a groove here, as here I am in March 2021 still figuring things out, thank you very much.

This time, it’s (perhaps again) about nasal saline.

A saltwater adventure (except not the fun kind)

For the last... several years... I’ve been refilling a metered-dose type Salinex bottle with saline from one of those big pressurized things. Well, finally I realized that the big pressurized thing, which I hated, was stamped with a date in 2016.

Yes, this was indeed in 2021.

I mean, I don’t think saltwater - what saline is - exactly expires, but I figured I should probably get rid of it and put the $10 out for a new bottle.

I presumed I’d less effectively continue to use this bottle by spraying it into said little Salinex bottle. I have tried to use the big pressurized bottle in the past and it just felt like I was... um, drowning myself through my nose, I guess? It was not something I could tolerate on a sensory level, whether that is ADHD-related or something else. Thus why I was putting it into the little pump bottle thing that sprayed a gentle mist into my nose for half a second.

A different replacement

Well, thanks to COVID (not), I have not gone to a store or the like since March 14, 2020, so I put the request on a list to my mom and sent her a picture and she went on her way.

She texted me with a picture of some all-in-one situation with multiple nozzle tip things with which you spray saline into your sinuses by sticking them in your nose, asking if that was what I wanted. I replied the affirmative and zeroed in on the Mr. Noodles beside it in her cart.

Given I was actually seeking out the replacement saline, it’s clear my sinuses weren’t great at the time. Noting my terrible experiences in the past, though, feeling as if I were drowning myself through the nose with a spray bottle of saltwater, I was still wary but thought I’d try it again at least once. I mean, after all, there was a nozzle for age 1+. If a baby can tolerate it, I could, right? RIGHT?

Identifying my ideal saline delivery vessel

It turns out (as I’ve literally just read now) that nozzle for both babies and grown-ups is for moisturizing. Well, I’ve been using it for several weeks now every day or two, and it seems to work pretty well beyond moisturizing and actually clearing gunk out. But, perhaps now that I’ve learned its intended purpose I’ll at least try to step up to the age 5+ “medium” nozzle?

But look, if it makes me feel like I am drowning myself again, I am going back to the baby tip since it’s doing better than that little pump bottle did. No shame!

I’ve also not tried a neti pot because it sounds like torture given my past experiences with spraying it in there, never mind pouring it (though I suppose in my past experiences of the clarifying effect of getting a noseful of pool water it could be successful?), nor one of those machine-type-sorts that pulses—though I am intrigued in a semi-suspicious sort of way?

I’m still not sure I’ve found my ideal saline delivery vessel—but at least I’m maybe a bit closer than I was to getting a bit more of a proper sinus rinse as my doctor probably intended when she recommended this to me!

What is your preferred method of doing saline nasal treatments for allergic rhinitis? Let me know in the comments.

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