Q. You recently had a letter from someone with frequent sinus infections. For many years, I too struggled with sinus infections every few months. I’d feel bad and usually have bad breath.
To deal with them, I went to a doctor who would prescribe antibiotics and strong decongestants. Then four years ago, I read in the Mayo Clinic newsletter about using saline solution for clearing out mucus. So every morning after my shower and every evening before bed, I tilt my head back and squirt saline solution in each nostril and “snort” it up into my sinuses. I then blow my nose.
Doing this twice daily prevents mucus buildup that invites bacterial growth. This solution is cheap and natural. The saline spray costs about $3 and lasts a week.
Occasionally during allergy season I still have to take an OTC decongestant, but I have not been to the doctor for this problem in 4 years. This has made life so much better.
A. Using saline nasal spray as you do is a variant of the ancient Indian practice of using a neti pot with saline solution to rinse the nasal passages and sinuses. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) have found that many patients with chronic sinus problems report dramatic improvement when they start using saline solution regularly (Annals of Family Medicine, Jul-Aug. 2006).