Efficacy of Buffered Hypertonic Saline Nasal Irrigation for Nasal Symptoms in Children with Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2017;174(2):97-103. doi: 10.1159/000481093. Epub 2017 Oct 24.


Background: Saline nasal irrigation is labelled as an add-on treatment in patients with allergic rhinitis (AR). The primary aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of 21-day use of buffered hypertonic saline (BHS) versus normal saline solution (NSS) on reducing nasal symptoms in children with seasonal AR (SAR). Comparing their efficacy on nasal cytology counts (NCC), quality of life, and sleep quality was the secondary aim.

Methods: In this 21-day, open-label, randomized controlled study, 36 SAR children (aged 6-13 years) with a Total 5 Symptom Score (T5SS) ≥5 received twice-daily BHS or NSS delivered through a nasal douche. Efficacy measures were least square mean changes (LSmc) in T5SS, NCC, Paediatric Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (PRQLQ), and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scores.

Results: BHS improved the T5SS total score to a greater extent than NSS (LSmc -6.45 vs. -5.45, p < 0.001). Concerning NCC, BHS significantly reduced the scores of neutrophils (LSmc -0.76, p = 0.004) and eosinophils (LSmc -0.46, p = 0.018), while NSS did not. Similarly, only BHS yielded a significant improvement in the PRQLQ score (LSmc -0.57, p = 0.009), whereas the improvement in PSQI score was comparable between the BHS (LSmc -0.77, p = 0.025) and NSS (LSmc -1.39, p < 0.001) groups. Overall, BHS was well tolerated.

Conclusions: In children with SAR, BHS is effective in improving nasal symptoms and NCC, with an associated beneficial effect on quality of life.

Keywords: Buffered hypertonic solution; Children; Nasal cytology; Nasal symptoms; Quality of life; Seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Eosinophils / cytology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Nasal Lavage / methods*
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Quality of Life
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / therapy*
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / therapeutic use*
  • Sodium Chloride / therapeutic use*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic
  • Sodium Chloride