Would you ever take a road trip in a car whose engine filter had never been maintained? Or would you swim in a pool whose filter was out of order? Probably not! Well, since the nose is the filter of your lungs, make nasal hygiene a priority!
The nose, stuck in the middle of it all
For as long as we can remember, the nose has tickled our imagination; just think of Pinocchio, Cyrano de Bergerac and the lead character in Patrick Süskind’s novel Perfume. But rare are those who truly care for their nose on a day-to-day basis. Learn how your nose should hold a place of honour, not just on your face, but also in your daily care routine.
The nasal passage, the path to life
Obviously, we cannot live without breathing, and the nose is the gateway for the oxygen that is essential to life. Air travels to the lungs by taking a complex route that includes the nasal passage. The body has developed defenses to protect it and to allow oxygen to reach its destination. That is why the nose’s passageway is covered with hairs and mucus, which remove unwanted particles and humidify the air that comes through. Sometimes, however, these mechanisms get disrupted and create congestion. Mucus thickens, hairs get clogged and/or the nasal passage swells. This uncomfortable situation is disruptive and, as a result, can impede on a person’s sense of smell, concentration at work and quality of sleep. Here are a few possible causes for this ailment:
- allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies, allergy to animals, dust, etc.);
- respiratory-tract infection (cold, pneumonia, etc.);
- acute or chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses);
- sinus surgery.
Nasal hygiene can prevent and/or treat nasal dryness, congestion and discharge. It also provides a feeling of well-being in daily activities.
Salt water: a simple way to keep your nose healthy
To cleanse nasal passageways, salt water (also known as saline water) is advised. Although it is possible to make it yourself (your pharmacist will be happy to share the recipe with you!), it is much easier to just get some at the pharmacy. The commercial products that are available come with a device that facilitates and maximizes use so that the whole family can enjoy the benefits of good nasal hygiene:
- children and teenagers;
- pregnant and nursing women;
- adults and seniors.
In addition, cleansing the nasal passage with saline water can prevent or alleviate certain health problems, such as:
- seasonal allergies;
- chronic nasal congestion;
A safe practice
Using saline water every day is safe, and there is no risk of developing a dependency. Some people may occasionally experience the following symptoms, which are quite mild in most cases:
- tingling or burning sensation;
- mild bleeding;
- sore throat or headache;
- feeling like there is water in the ears.
These side effects are most often due to using the wrong irrigation technique or to using saline water whose level of concentration is not suited to you. Your pharmacist can provide you with information on how to best use the various devices (spray, irrigating syringe, nasal douche, etc.) and how to choose the right product. In addition, he or she can tell you more about the health perks that you and your family can enjoy from using saline water.
Does going a day without brushing your teeth or taking a shower make you uncomfortable? In the same way, once you have added nasal hygiene to your daily routine, you won’t be able to go without it!
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