NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - We’ve all been hearing about and practicing good hand hygiene for months now, but a study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center aims to find out if nasal hygiene can help those with COVID-19.

Back in May the study began to see whether over-the-counter nasal saline irrigations like NeilMed could reduce the virus and symptoms in patients with COVID-19.

“Things that we’re looking at are the presence or absence of fever, coughs, chills, nasal congestion,” said Dr. Kyle Kimura, resident surgeon at VUMC.

Doctors studied more than 90 patients who were combating the illness at home.

They were instructed to use it twice daily. Once in the morning and once at night.

“We do not know yet whether or not their viral counts, or whether or not they’re contagious or whether they still have COVID-19 changed at all,” said Dr. Michael Freeman, resident surgeon at VUMC.

In the doctors’ preliminary report, it does appear saline rinses may have reduced how long those COVID-19 patients were experiencing symptoms.

“Patients using the saline nasal irrigations tended to get better faster than the patients that weren’t using saline irrigations,” Dr. Kimura said.

The participants were tracked for about three weeks and self-swabbed their nose every few days.

Researchers are reviewing the data to see if the nasal saline solution did help with the virus shed.

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