Many doctors recommend nasal irrigation and other non-drug treatments for sinus infections, which can become more common as you get older. In fact, guidelines for physicians issued in 2012 suggest more than 90% of sinus infections are caused by viruses—not bacteria—and therefore do not require antibiotics. Various tools are available to help you wash congestion out of the sinus cavities behind your nose, including the traditional Neti pot. A new generation of battery-operated sinus irrigators is helping you get the job done with a little more force.
NailMed Sinugator Cordless Pulsating Nasal Wash
The NeilMed Sinugator is a sinus irrigation device that flushes congestion out of your nose and sinuses (the hollow spaces behind your nose) when you have a cold or allergies. Getting rid of congestion can relieve pressure to help you feel more comfortable, and can also wash away allergens and viruses to help you avoid a reaction or infection.
How It Works:
The Sinugator is made in two pieces: a plastic reservoir to hold saline solution, and a battery-operated pump with a nozzle that attaches to it. When you press the blue switch, saline is pushed up a flexible tube through the nozzle, into one nostril and out the other, to rinse your nose and nasal passages.
Directions: The manufacturer's insert recommends the following steps:
- Wash your hands.
- Fill the blue reservoir with about a cup (240 ml) of lukewarm distilled or previously-boiled (and cooled to lukewarm) water (water can be microwaved in the reservoir in 5-10 sec increments)
- Add a pre-mixed saline packet (Note: you can mix your own saline using this recipe from our Allergies guide)
- Put the white motor on top of the reservoir and rotate to lock it into place. Three AA batteries are included with the device.
- Lean forward over a sink
- Put the tip of the nozzle firmly against one nostril
- Press the blue button, allowing saline solution to drain out the other nostril (some saline might run into your mouth, you can just spit it out)
- Continue until half of the solution has been used
- Switch nostrils and rinse with the remaining solution
- Blow nose gently into tissue
- Gently sniff to inhale any solution remaining in your nose, as this will help rinse the area behind your nose
- To avoid delayed drainage (trapped saline dripping from your nose) after irrigating, lean forward, tilt your head to one side, and gently blow your nose. Repeat on the other side. This should prevent harmless dripping hours after the procedure.
- Wash device with plain running water and air-dry
- The irrigator tip, white tube and reservoir can all be microwaved for up to 60 seconds to disinfect (do not put the white motor unit in the microwave)
When to use it: According to the manufacturer, the Sinugator can be used to relieve:
- Runny and stuffy nose
- Post-nasal drip
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Sinus pressure
- Helps remove dust particles in the nose for anyone regularly exposed through work, farming, mining and other occupations
Warnings: The instructions warn that the device should not be used if:
- Your nasal passage is completely blocked
- You have an ear infection, blocked ears, or any pain or discomfort of any kind in your ear. Stop the irrigation if you sense fluid near your ears, and consult your health-care provider.
- Do not use on children under the age of four years.
- Do not use on anyone who is unable to stand near or bend over a sink (e.g. a patient confined to a bed).
- Very simple to use
- Quick procedure (one minute or less)
- More effective than the standard Neti pot, thanks to the gentle pressure provided by the pulsating pump
- Easy to clean
- At $20-$25, more expensive than a Neti pot or NeilMed's squeeze bottle
- Pump is slightly noisy
- Some users have found the bottom of the blue reservoir comes off; NeilMed assures me they'll offer a replacement device for anyone experiencing this problem. Contact Customer Service via the website, or by phone, toll-free for US and Canada, at (877) 477-8633.
The Sinugator is a little less expensive than the Water Pik SinuSense, and its design houses the batteries away from the saline solution and therefore avoids the risk of contamination that plagued an earlier model by Water Pik.
- Click here for a video explaining what allergies are
- Read my review of the Water Pik SinuSense Nasal Irrigator
Anthony W. Chow et al. "IDSA Clinical Practice Guideline for Acute Bacterial Rhinosinusitis in Children and Adults." Clin Infect Dis. (2012) doi: 10.1093/cid/cir1043. http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/03/20/cid.cir1043.full