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ANAHEIM, California—Gargling and nasal rinsing with saltwater several times a day appeared to be associated with significantly lower COVID-19 hospitalization rates in a small, randomized, double-blind, controlled study.

"The hypothesis was that interventions that target the upper respiratory tract may reduce the frequency and duration of upper respiratory symptoms associated with COVID 19," said Sebastian Espinoza, first author of the study; he is with Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Adults aged 18-65 years who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing between 2020 and 2022 were randomly selected to use low- or high-dose saltwater regimens for 14 days at the Harris Health System in Houston, Texas. For patients to be included in the study, 14 days had to have elapsed since the onset of any symptoms associated with COVID.

The low dose was 2.13 grams of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water, and the high dose was 6 grams. Participants gargled the saltwater and used it as a nasal rinse for 5 minutes four times a day.

Primary outcomes included frequency and duration of symptoms associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection; secondary outcomes included admission to the hospital or the intensive care unit, mechanical ventilatory support, or death.

The findings were presented in a poster at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Meeting. Head over to Medscape to read the full story.