Nasal Irrigation Is the Key to Reducing COVID-19 Progression, Doctor Says
Amy Baxter, MD, says nasal irrigation may be the best way to treat positive coronavirus patients.
Though we may be getting closer, there is currently no known cure for the coronavirus that's shut down much of the world and taken hundreds of thousands of lives globally. But there may be some good news for those who have COVID-19, according to Amy Baxter, MD. The Atlanta-based doctor known for creative solutions to long-standing medical challenges is touting a lesser-discussed method to combat the progression of COVID-19 in patients who are positive: nasal irrigation.
After considerable research and talking to colleagues who focus on both ear, nose, and throat and pulmonary treatment, Baxter, CEO and founder of Pain Care Labs, told Best Life she "believe[s] strongly that nasal irrigation is the key to reducing COVID-19 progression of symptoms and infectivity."
Nasal irrigation, or a nasal wash, has long been considered an effective way to remove viruses or bacteria from sinus cavities. According to Baxter, recent clinical trials show that nasal irrigation reduces the duration and symptoms for other viral illnesses like flu and the common cold, though it hasn't yet been studied for COVID-19. Still, she has multiple reasons for believing that this approach can be effective in preventing coronavirus from worsening in a sick patient. Firstly, she says, "SARS-CoV2's viral load is heaviest in sinuses/nasal cavity."
Secondly, the sex and age discrimination of COVID-19 supports her conclusion. "Children don't develop full sinuses until teens; males have larger cavities than women, and the cavities are largest [in those] over 70 years," Baxter says. Of course, you've heard by now that children have been the least affected by COVID-19, and the elderly and men are dying at faster rates.
Baxter also adds that the total deaths in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam are particularly low. "Yes, they wear masks, and yes, they bow and don't shake hands, but the biggest difference between them and places like South Korea or Japan is that nasal irrigation is practiced by 80 percent of people," she says.
For anyone exposed to or positive for COVID-19, Baxter offers the following specific self-treatment:
"Do a hypertonic nasal irrigation with 1/2 tsp. povidone-iodine in the a.m. and in the evening with 8 oz. boiled lukewarm tap water, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1 tsp. salt per cup H20."
She suggests a NeilMed sinus rinse bottle (over a neti pot) because the high pressure seems better than gravity.
To help us understand how it works, Baxter offers this colorful comparison to the Lord of the Rings. "Imagine the nasal cavities are Saruman's orcs, building pits of flame. It takes a while to create enough invaders to march down to the throat, then the lungs," she says.
"During the five days of non-smelling, headache, and/or sore throat as the rose-crowned orcs multiply, imagine flushing the whole works out twice a day," she adds. This "gives the immune system time to figure out what it needs while reducing the enemy."
In short, regular flushing of one's sinuses in the manner described above could be an effective way to keep the COVID-19 contagion from building up and entering your lungs and causing potentially fatal respiratory problems.
And for more helpful information about coronavirus, check out 13 Actual Facts That Debunk Common Coronavirus Myths.