ZocdocAnswersShould I use a sinus rinse while I have a cold?

Question

Should I use a sinus rinse while I have a cold?

I use this sinus rinse that is a saline solution just about every day because where I work there is a lot of nasty stuff in the air. But right now I have a cold and I'm getting really congested. Is it still safe to use my sinus rinse while I am congested and have a cold?

Answer

Sinus rinse with a saline solution is one of the most effective and cheap ways to keep nasal and sinus congestion symptoms under control. If you are someone who suffers chronically from sinus congestion, which it sounds like you are, then you can probably expect to have worse congestion with a cold than another person would. In most cases, it is safe to continue using the sinus rinse while you have a cold, and you should notice that it makes a difference in terms of your congestion and gets you back to feeling better quicker. There are a few caveats here, of course. If you are someone who has chronic problems with fluid in the ears or frequent ear infections, then it is probably best not to use the sinus wash during the cold unless you consult with your doctor first. Also, if you notice that the congestion is worse after the wash, or if you experience ear pressure after the rinse, then you should discontinue until talking with your doctor. Finally, if you nostrils are completely obstructed then you should not use the wash. I would also recommend that you go to see your primary care doctor about this, to see if there is anything else that needs to be done about your symptoms.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.