Sinus Irrigation

Home Ear, Nose & Throat Sinus Irrigation In Kirkland, Bellevue, and Seattle

Sinus Irrigation in Kirkland, WA

Sinus irrigation, also known as nasal irrigation, has many uses and advantages to those with sinus problems. Not only can sinus irrigation often improve chronic sinusitis symptoms, it is also an integral part of recovering after sinus surgery. However, while this treatment may seem straightforward, it is important that sinus irrigation is performed correctly. Incorrectly performed sinus irrigation can lead to infections or other complications. The ENT doctors and surgeons at Northwest Face Medical will give you instructions on how to properly irrigate your sinuses for treatment of various sinus issues or after Kirkland sinus surgery. Drs. Allegra and Ummat have treated hundreds of sinus patients and can help you determine the optimal sinus irrigation protocol.


Sinus irrigation is the manual rinsing and flushing of the sinuses. The practice of nasal irrigation goes back to ancient ayurvedic medicine practices in India. This accounts for the creation and first known use of the neti pot. At some points, daily sinus irrigation was considered part of a daily hygiene routine. 

Nasal irrigation thins mucus in the nasal passages and sinuses. This allows for the rinse to clear away irritants and contaminants caught in the cilia. The cilia function similarly to your eyelashes. They catch pollutants and harmful particles before they have the chance to cause infection or irritation. With sinus problems or allergies, the buildup of mucus prevents your body from naturally ridding itself of these contaminants.

In modern times, doctors now prescribe sinus irrigation to those with chronic sinus problems, allergies, or for sinus surgery recovery. Some may even perform nasal irrigation when experiencing a cold to relieve congestion. However, there is no need to perform it everyday unless prescribed by a doctor. In fact, in some cases, rinsing the sinuses too much could worsen symptoms or cause more harm.

When To Do Nasal Irrigation:

The basic rule for when you should flush the sinuses is when a doctor prescribes it. If you do not have symptoms or a condition that requires regular rinsing, there is no reason to do so. Most of the time, ENT doctors will recommend sinus irrigation in the following situations:

When Not To Do Nasal Irrigation:

The best practice for sinus irrigation is not to do it unless prescribed or needed. Those who suffer from chronic sinusitis may need to repeat it every few days to continue treating their symptoms. This will vary from patient to patient. Below you can find some cases where nasal rinsing is not needed or unnecessary:
  • No symptoms or sinus condition present
  • One or both nostrils are completely clogged
  • If symptoms do not improve in a few weeks
  • Irrigation causes pain or extreme discomfort afterward
  • If you have an ear infection
In general sinus irrigation should be performed sparingly and only when needed. Drs. Allegra and Ummat at Northwest Face Medical can advise you on how long and when to flush out your sinuses. It is important to follow their instructions to prevent over irrigation or prolonged irritation. 


The largest benefit of nasal irrigation is the relief it can bring to many who have chronic sinus problems or allergies. Many symptoms of chronic sinusitis like: sinus headaches, runny nose, and sinus pain are caused by sinus buildup and inflammation. Rinsing the sinuses with saline can help flush out irritants and relieve these symptoms. Other benefits of sinus irrigation include:
  • Prevention of sinus infections
  • Improved breathing
  • Reduce swelling and inflammation in the sinuses
  • Relieve post nasal drip and other related symptoms
  • Non-invasive treatment for sinus problems and allergies
  • Can be performed at home
You should begin seeing the benefits of sinus irrigation after rinsing a few times. Your symptoms should lessen and improve and you may find it easier to breathe. Be careful not to over rinse. Over rinsing may increase the chance of developing a sinus infection or can worsen irritation. It is best to only perform nasal irrigation when experiencing symptoms or under the instruction of an Bellevue ENT doctor like Drs. Allegra and Ummat
Photo Shows A Woman Using A Neti Pot To Perform Sinus Irrigation in Kirkland, Bellevue, and Seattle


When performed incorrectly or in some patients, nasal irrigation does come with some risks. Among the minor risks include nose bleeds (although after surgery blood will likely be present), or the promotion of infection. The biggest risk, however, comes with using non-sterile water. This can cause a rare parasitic infection that can affect the brain, or other serious infections or conditions. 

If you follow directions, clean your irrigation device, and use sterilized or distilled water, there are few risks of nasal irrigation. Any major risks of rinsing the sinuses are exceptionally rare and many patients only experience the advantages of the treatment.


Outside of treatment for sinus conditions, nasal irrigation is important after sinus surgery to prevent infection. While Drs. Allegra and Ummat may recommend slightly different protocols for each patient, there are some basic protocols for sinus irrigation following surgery.

Normally, you will not begin a sinus saline rinse until one to two days after surgery. When you start them, you may rinse anywhere from one to three times per day, depending on your individual care instructions. You may be instructed to use a nasal spray 15-30 minutes following the rinse. 

Unlike with irrigation meant to relieve symptoms, sinus irrigation after surgery may include some blood. However, it should not be excessive and you may need to visit Northwest Face Medical for professional flushing of the sinuses after surgery.

Following Drs. Allegra and Ummat’s instructions will help prevent infection and lead to a more comfortable recovery following Bellevue sinus surgery. This also clears crusts that may form and prevents the buildup of scar tissue in the sinuses or nasal cavity.


Along with the importance of performing nasal irrigation after surgery, it is more important that it is performed correctly. If you have questions, you can contact Northwest Face Medical or your Seattle ENT surgeon for detailed instructions.

Finding The Proper Tool & Preparation

There are various tools used to perform sinus irrigation. It is important you use one that is easy for you to use and can easily be cleaned. The three most popular nasal irrigation tools include: the neti pot, bulb syringes, or squeeze bottles. Each of these options are widely available and are effective for nasal irrigation.

Before performing your sinus rinse, you should prepare your tool and the saline solution. First, ensure that your tool is cleaned and completely dry before each use. Next, use only distilled or boiled water that you have let cool. Using tap water runs the risk of complications or contamination. Finally, prepare the saline solution by mixing salt (and sometimes baking soda) into distilled or boiled water following your Kirkland ENT’s instructions. Also, the water should be room temperature, or lukewarm. Hot or cold water can increase the risk of complications or cause discomfort.

Flushing Your Sinuses

After completing all of the preparations, tilt your head over a sink or bathtub so that one side of your face is facing downward. Do not lean your head back. Bring the tool to the uppermost nostril and allow the water to flow through your nasal passages and out the opposite nostril. Keep your mouth open during the rinse so that you can breathe. Saline solution may run into your throat, you should spit this out, although it will not hurt you if swallowed.

Clear the remaining solution from your nose and then repeat this procedure on the other nostril. In general, most surgical patients perform this two to three times per day for the first one to two weeks. You should notice the amount of blood and mucus decrease over time. Those rinsing to relieve symptoms of chronic sinusitis may only need to rinse once per day or every few days.

What To Expect After

As mentioned above, it is normal to feel a little discomfort after rinsing, especially after a sinus surgery. This should not persist and the entire procedure should not be overly painful. If you develop a fever, see an increase in bleeding (or persistent bleeding if treating a condition), intense headache, or other signs of infection, you should contact Northwest Face Medical immediately. This is rare when nasal irrigation is performed properly and with clean tools. 

When you finish rinsing your sinuses, clear the remaining fluid from your nose and then wash your tool. Typically, the best way to do this is to run it through the dishwasher and allow it to completely air dry. This will prepare it for the next use.


Dr. Ludwig Allegra and Dr. Sunil Ummat at Northwest Face Medical are sinus doctors and surgeons. Among the best ENT doctors in Seattle, they can help you get to the root of your sinus issues. With many years of experience, Drs. Allegra and Ummat usually start with conservative sinus treatments, such as nasal irrigation. Their expertise and understanding of every individual patient will help them determine if sinus irrigation may benefit you. 

Northwest Face Medical has served the Greater Bellevue, Seattle, and Kirkland areas for over two decades. Providing generations of sinus care to the Pacific Northwest makes Drs. Allegra and Ummat and the Northwest Face Medical team uniquely qualified to serve all your sinus needs.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Ludwig Allegra or Dr. Sunil Ummat, call us at 425-522-0555 or contact us online.

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