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Saline Nasal Wash Helps Kids Fight Colds, Flu
Date:1/21/2008

Led to fewer respiratory problems, reduced reliance on cold medications, study says

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Rinsing with a special saline nasal wash made from Atlantic seawater improves symptoms in children with colds and flu, and may prevent recurrence of these infections, a new study claims.

"We brush our teeth every day, however, we do not pay attention to our noses -- a potential gate for infection," said study co-author Dr. Jana Skoupa, of Pharma Projects in Prague, Czech Republic. "Nasal wash should be used, based on our findings, immediately."

The study seems to confirm what many doctors already know.

"We have recommended this for years. This study gives some objective evidence," said Dr. Jonathan Field, emeritus director of the pediatric allergy and asthma clinic at New York University/Bellevue Medical Center in New York City.

An alternative to the many cough and cold medications that line drugstore shelves comes not a moment too soon.

Just last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory stating that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to infants and children under the age of 2. The agency has not come to a final decision on the use of such products in children aged 2 to 11.

"This is very promising, but there need to be more studies to confirm what the authors have found," Dr. Tom DeWitt, director of general pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "It is a suggestion that it may be an alternative to cold preparations that the FDA [recently issued a public health advisory about]."

The saline technique could provide a more holistic alternative to such over-the-counter medications, and has the added advantage of having little downside and not contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

The study, published in the January issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology-He
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