- Researchers found gargling salt water could lower Covid hospitalizations
- Other studies have shown it can also prevent the common cold
- READ MORE: Doctor slams study saying Long Covid is more disabling than CANCER
Rinsing your mouth out with salt water when you have Covid could reduce your chance of ending up in the hospital.
In a study presented last week, researchers measured the effect of gargling and nasal rinsing with a saline solution on symptoms and hospitalization rates in patients with Covid.
They found hospitalization rates for people who gargled or nasal rinsed salt water were up to 40 percent lower than those who did not.
Dr Jimmy Espinoza, study author and professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive services at the University of Texas, said that the goal was to see if gargling and nasal rinsing could improve respiratory symptoms associated with Covid.
He said: ‘We found that both saline regimens appear to be associated with lower hospitalization rates compared to controls in SARS-CoV-2 infections.’
In findings presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) annual meeting last week in Anaheim, California, researchers showed gargling salt water resulted in up to 40 percent fewer hospitalizations
Between 2020 and 2022, the team evaluated 9,398 adults between 18 and 65 years old who had tested positive for Covid via a PCR test. Of those, 58 were selected to follow either a low-dose or high-dose saline regimen mixed with eight ounces of warm water.
The low-dose regimen was 2.13 grams of saline – about one-third a teaspoon – and the high-dose was six grams – about one and one-quarter a teaspoon. Participants gargled and did nasal rinsing four times a day for 14 days.
Nasal singing involves moving a saline solution through the nasal passages to clear our mucus and allergens. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this is done by tilting your head sideways to the left over a sink or tub and gently pouring or squeezing the solution through the nostril.
The control group that hadn’t been instructed to gargle salt water or nasal rinse had a 58.8 percent hospitalization rate.
The researchers found the hospitalization rate for participants on the low-dose regimen dropped to 18.5 percent, and the rate for the high-dose group was 21.4 percent.
This was up to 40 percent lower than the control group.
Dr Zach Rubin, an allergist and spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), told Medscape: ‘This is a type of intervention that is low risk with some small potential benefit.’
The researchers did not explain why the saline regimens resulted in fewer hospitalizations, but Dr Rubin said gargling and rinsing could help clear the virus from the sinuses and reduce the chance of it seeping into the lungs, which could result in pneumonia, a major cause of hospitalization.
He said: ‘It can help reduce symptoms such as nasal congestion, [runny nose], postnasal drip, and sinus pain and pressure.’
The study excluded patients with chronic hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, since they could accidentally swallow some of the salt, and excess salt can narrow and stiffen blood vessels, further raising blood pressure.
The patients were also all nearly obese, with BMIs ranging from 29.6 to 31.7, which increases the likelihood of complications that would land them in the hospital. The control and study groups had ‘similar rates of vaccination,’ the researchers stated.
The findings are consistent with other smaller studies that have tested the effects of gargling and nasal rinsing.
A June review in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, for example, found this practice could relieve common colds, upper respiratory infections, and Covid by flushing out the viruses.
It’s unclear if gargling and nasal rinsing would have the same effect on mostly vaccinated patients or those with more normal BMIs, the researchers said.
The study was presented last week at the ACAAI Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California.