Covid: gargling salt water can ward off serious illness according to new study
A new study has shown that hospital rates for those with Covid were significantly lower for those who gargled salt water during the illness
Gargling or nasal rinsing with salt water while you have Covid may lower the risk of you being hospitalised with the virus, a new study has suggested.
Researchers in a new study, which was presented at the ACAAI Annual Meeting in California last week, said that hospitalisation rates for those with Covid who rinsed with salt water were significantly lower than those who did not. The study showed that the rate of hospitalisation was up to 40% lower than those who did not.
Dr Jimmy Espinoza, a professor of obstetrics, gynaecology and reproductive services at the University of Texas, conducted the study. He said: "We found that both saline regimens appear to be associated with lower hospitalization rates compared to controls in SARS-CoV-2 infections."
The study itself looked at a sample of 9,398 adults aged 18 to 16 between 2020 and 2022 who had tested positive for coronavirus. It was also noted that those who took part did not have high blood pressure due to the impact that swallowing any salt could have on their health, and that the control group and study group had "similar rates of vaccination". All patients also had a BMI between 29.6 to 31.7, classing them as nearly obese.
58 of those positive cases were told to gargle or nasal rinse with a high dose of six grams or a low dose of 2.13g of saline powder, mixed with eight ounces of water. They gargled and nasal rinsed at least four times per day for two weeks.
Researchers found that the control group which had not been told to gargle the salt water solution had an average hospitalisation rate relating to their Covid illness of 58.8%. In comparison, the group using the salt water solution was 40% lower - the rate dropped to 21.4% for the group using the high-dose, and even lower to 18.5% for the low-dose group.
While there was no direct explanation for the effect salt water cleansing the mouth and nasal passage had on the severity of Covid, Dr Zach Rubin, an allergist and spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), said it can help to clear the virus out of the sinuses and help to prevent it developing into pneumonia in the lungs. Speaking to Medscape, he said: "This is a type of intervention that is low risk with some small potential benefit. It can help reduce symptoms such as nasal congestion, [runny nose], postnasal drip, and sinus pain and pressure."