Nasal flushing cuts risk for COVID-19 hospitalization, death: study

Flushing the nasal cavity with a mild saline solution may significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a recent study published in Ear, Nose & Throat Journal.

Researchers from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University conducted the study, which involved 79 participants aged 55 and older who were enrolled within 24 hours of testing positive for COVID-19 between Sept. 24 and Dec. 21, 2020. Participants were instructed to flush their nasal cavity twice daily for 14 days. They used a saline solution made of distilled water and either baking soda or povidone-iodine. 

Participants were followed for 28 days. One was admitted to the hospital and there were no deaths, the findings showed. Researchers compared the results to a CDC report involving nearly 3 million COVID-19 cases among a group with similar demographics. In that group, 9.47 percent were hospitalized and 1.5 percent died. 

"We found an 8.5-fold reduction in hospitalizations and no fatalities compared to our controls," Richard Schwartz, MD, chair of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Georgia and study author, told the JagWire August University's news site — in a Sept. 13 report. "Both of those are pretty significant endpoints."

 Researchers told the JagWire that nasal irrigation can safely be done at home by mixing a half teaspoon each of salt and baking soda in a cup of boiled or distilled water, and placing the mixture into a sinus rinse bottle. 

"By giving extra hydration to your sinuses, it makes them function better. If you have a contaminant, the more you flush it out, the better you are able to get rid of dirt, viruses and anything else," said Amy Baxter, MD, study author and emergency medicine physician at the Medical College of Georgia. 

Click here to view the full study.


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