Last news

Some customers ask about the difference between isotonic and hypertonic saline irrigation solutions. Both saline solutions wash germs, allergens, and other pollutants out of the nose.

What's the difference, and how can different solutions help your allergies or cold?

common cold

Simply put, saline is salt water. When it comes to a saline solution, there are three basic types - isotonic, hypertonic, and hypotonic. "Iso" means "equal", "hyper" means "high", and "hypo" means "low". With regard to saline solutions, these prefixes refer to the salinity, i.e. the amount of salt in solution, compared to that in the cells of our body.

Hypertonic saline

Hypertonic saline has a higher concentration of salt than cells in our body and its application will have an osmotic effect. The cells of nasal mucosa will release water, which will allow easier evacuation of the accumulated mucus on the surface of nasal mucosa.Thus, in case of nasal congestion or a runny nose a hypertonic solution may be helpful. While some physicians recommend hypertonic solutions because a higher concentration of salt may draw fluid and mucus out more effectively, many patients experience a burning sensation when they use hypertonic solutions. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that prior to using a hypertonic rinse to consult a physician. If you experience painful burning or stinging when using a hypertonic saline wash, you should stop using it. If your nasal mucosa is badly inflamed or sensitive, where the simple sensation of touch could be enough to cause pain, you should see a doctor and likely avoid a hypertonic saline irrigation.

Isotonic saline

Isotonic saline solutions have a salt concentration equal to that in the cells of our body, therefore an isotonic solution should be perfectly balanced for your body.

If your nasal mucosa is very dry, you may find that a hypertonic solution dries it out even more, while an isotonic solution should restore some moisture to nasal mucosa. Due to a lower salt content, isotonic solutions do not draw out excess moisture and mucus like hypertonic solutions do. However, because they are balanced, they make for an excellent way to rinse away allergens and moisturize, and also can be used every day for prophylactic nasal hygiene.

It's important to keep in mind that the difference between an isotonic and hypertonic solution is relatively small. There is no need for a large amount of salt in order saline irrigation to have a significant impact on the nasal mucosa. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you want to take care of your health and improve the quality of life.