Objective: To ascertain whether a daily nasal spray with physiological saline could prevent symptoms of common cold in a population of otherwise healthy adults.
Material and methods: This was study involving 10 weeks of daily use of a nasal saline spray and 10 weeks of only recording symptoms. Young adults eligible for military service at an army barrack in Boden, Sweden were invited to participate in the study and 108 healthy conscripts aged approximately 20 years agreed to do so. Data were recorded by the participants in a diary at home. In the diary the participants noted symptoms such as rhinitis, blocked nose, cough, fever and sore throat (pharyngeal pain). They also recorded inability to perform their duties due to the symptoms, and any medication or antibiotics necessitated by upper respiratory tract infection.
Results: A total of 69 subjects completed the 20-week diary period. For 60 of them, compliance during the spray period exceeded 60% and their data were used in the statistical calculations. During the spray period the number of days with nasal secretion and/or blocked nose (mean 6.4 days) was significantly (p=0.027) lower than that during the observation period (mean 11 days). Furthermore, the participants had a mean of 0.7 episodes of upper respiratory tract infection during the spray period, compared with 1.0 episodes during the observation period (p=0.05).
Conclusion: A daily nasal spray with saline can prevent nasal symptoms of common cold in a population of otherwise healthy adults.