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Nasal Irrigation

last modified on: Mon, 03/25/2024 - 08:48

return to: Intranasal medications (steroid nasal spray, antihistamine nasal spray, nasal irrigations)

Note: last updated before 2018


  1. To remove discharge and prevent crusting in the nose.


  1. To be placed at the bedside:
    1. Ear bulb syringe (2 oz) or gavage feeding bag
    2. Saline solution or other irrigants as ordered
    3. Clean basin


  1. Wash hands thoroughly.
  2. Explain procedure to patient.
  3. Irrigating solution may be used at room temperature or warmed to 105 to 110°F (40.6 to 43.3°C). Temperature of the solution may be checked by pouring over the inner aspect of the wrist without contaminating the remaining solution.
  4. Pour solution into basin if using ear bulb syringe. If using the gavage bag, fill the bag with the irrigating solution.
  5. Position the patient sitting or standing over a sink or large basin.
  6. Completely fill the bulb syringe or gavage bag with the irrigating solution.
  7. Place the tip of the syringe or gavage tubing approximately 0.5 to 0.75 inch into the nostril.
  8. Using gentle but even pressure, direct solution into nose. To prevent aspiration, keep the patient's head tilted forward.
  9. The solution will drain into the sink or basin.
  10. Continue irrigating until the prescribed amount of solution is used. Repeat irrigation in the second nostril as directed.
  11. Wash hands thoroughly.
  12. Record type of drainage returned.


  1. Nasal irrigation requires a physician's order.
  2. Other solutions may be ordered as an irrigating solution.
  3. If the amount is not specified, use 1000 cc of solution.
  4. If nasal drops or sprays are ordered, perform irrigations prior to drop or spray instillation.
  5. Sterile supplies may be indicated based on patient condition.
  6. If home care instructions are needed, supply patient with nasal Irrigation.