New study suggests gargling with salt water may be associated with lower COVID hospitalization
As COVID and its health effects move into a fourth year, those who become infected may be searching for remedies to improve their respiratory symptoms and keep them out of the hospital.
A new study being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Anaheim, Calif. determined that both a low- and high-dose saline regimen appeared to be associated with lower hospitalization rates compared to controls in SARS-CoV-2 infections.
"Between 2020 and 2022, individuals aged 18–65 years with positive PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 infection were randomly selected to undergo low- or high-dose saline regimens for 14 days," says Sebastian Espinoza, lead author of the study.
"The low- and high-saline solutions consisted of 2.13 grams and 6 grams of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water, respectively. Gargling and nasal rinsing was done four times a day for 14 days. Primary outcomes included frequency and duration of symptoms associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection; secondary outcomes included hospital or ICU admission, mechanical ventilatory support, or death. Exclusion criteria were chronic hypertension or participation in another interventional study. Those on the low- and high-dose saline solutions, as well as those in the reference population, had similar rates of vaccination."
A total of 58 individuals were allocated to either the low (27) or high (28) saline regimens; three were lost to follow-up. There were no significant differences in the primary or secondary outcomes of the study between these two groups.
During the study period, 9,398 individuals with positive SARS-CoV-2 infection were evaluated and were the reference population. The hospitalization rates in the low- (18.5%) and high- (21.4%) saline regimens were significantly lower than in the reference population (58.8%.) No significant differences were noted in other outcomes among these groups.
"Our goal was to examine saline nasal irrigation and gargling for possible association to improved respiratory symptoms associated with coronavirus infection," says Jimmy Espinoza, MD, co-author of the study. "We found that both saline regimens appear to be associated with lower hospitalization rates compared to controls in SARS-CoV-2 infections. We hope more studies can be done to further investigate the association."
Abstract P244: Double blind randomized controlled trial of saline solution gargling and nasal rinsing in SARS-CoV-2 infection