Our first design was a squeeze bottle without anti-backwash valves, similar to others on the market. Yes, it was better than neti pots, but after squeezed, the bottle became negatively pressured and sucked the nasal wash solution back into the bottle and narrow, hard-to-clean tube. We quickly recognized the risk of re-infection, and we also knew that time-consuming bottle-wash after each use would not be practical if users need to frequently rinse their noses. If patients did not wash the contaminated tube and bottle well, there would be a high risk of sinus re-infection even though their doctors had performed excellent nasal surgeries. This was proved late by Dr. Amin Javer’s group from St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, Canada, who orally presented their clinical studies on the first day of the Rhinology World 2009 conference in Philadelphia (Abstract #1356 on page 47 of the Program). Hindered by negative pressure crushing the bottle, and too soft a bottle, the cleansing efficiency of the backflow-prone bottle-obviously needs a significant improvement.
To prevent the problematic backflow, we invented a nasal irrigator with both liquid and air valves. We filed the patent on Jan 17, 1997 and it was granted in 2000. We filed 510K application to FDA and received clearance in 2002 for marketing this class 1 medical device. We spent a lot of time to perfect the design so the irrigator would be able to efficiently remove viruses, sticky mucus and dried debris without causing discomfort. The speed of liquid flow and the strength of pressure are easily controlled by the two valves through user’s hands. Hindered by negative pressure crushing the bottle, inefficient “hose,” and too soft a bottle, the cleansing efficiency of the backflow-prone bottle is obviously lower than that of the dual-valve nasal irrigator.
As stated in our first business plan in 1998, “As we believe all people will need our product for nasal rinsing to prevent and treat upper respiratory diseases, the final product must be user-friendly, extremely safe, and cost-effective, akin to tooth brushing.” Our current NasalCare product is the second generation; it has overcome the drawbacks of neti pots, backflow-prone bottles, and electric irrigators. To make it easier for users’ to add the pre-mix powder and water, we designed the bottle to have a wider opening. We also added a dust-preventive lid for better hygiene and convenience for travelers. Medical doctors found that hypertonic saline was more effective than isotonic saline for chronic sinusitis, but we observed that if the saline is too hypertonic it caused stinging, burning and dryness. So we improved the solution by changing regular salt to mineral-rich sea salt-which has less sodium and added at the comfortable hypertonic level. Besides sodium bicarbonate, we also included aloe extract for its moisturizing and potential anti-inflammation and anti-microbe activities, and buffering citric acid/sodium citrate for more comfort and enhances sense of smell.
A backflow-prone bottle is troublesome. Cleaning the narrow tube and bottle requires too many steps. A biweekly discard the contaminated bottle would add more cost to consumers and damaging the environment than using the NasalCare Irrigator. Our product provides the right solutions and we hope the health care providers become involved in our efforts to provide the state of the art nasal irrigation system to their patients.
Why the NasalCare® can help reduce spread of the A/H1N1 virus?
As you know, the first and primary place for cold/flu viruses to infect victims is the nose, and according to the CDC, it takes 24 hours to 4 days of the incubation period of virus shedding into nasal secretions. This indicates that the attention in management of the common virus infection and spread should be on the nasal cavities. Washing hands is not enough because the virus-contaminated hands actually touch the nose, little via the mouth. Washing the nose is more helpful than washing hands.
Therefore, timely elimination of the viruses from nasal cavities shall significantly reduce the risk of developing colds and flu. With expertise in infectious diseases and epidemiology, Dr. Liu authored a book to teach people perform daily nasal irrigation using the NasalCare Nasal Rinse Kit, which is a simple, safe, comfortable, inexpensive and effective approach in fighting cold and flu virus infections. This effect has been proven by recent clinical studies: Daily nasal rinse prevents common cold in adults and school children, and also reduces severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of illness. Washing the virus down to the drain not only protects the users but also people around them. Why nasal clease reducing the virus spread? Simply because of less virus secretions when people sneeze or cough.
Remember, not all nasal rinse devices are created equal. The NasalCare device is the only one that has a patent-protected dual valve anti-backflow feature.