If you’re dealing with sinus problems, you know how miserable facial pain and clogged nasal passages can be. In their search for relief, many sinus sufferers have turned to nasal saline irrigation, a therapy that uses a salt and water solution to flush out the nasal passages. Although several methods of nasal irrigation exist, one of the most popular is the Neti pot. Its use has been around for centuries but its popularity is now on the rise!
For some people, nasal irrigation may bring relief of sinus symptoms without the use of medications.
The basic explanation of how the Neti pot works is that it thins mucus and helps flush it out of the nasal passages. A more biological explanation for how the Neti pot works has to do with tiny, hair-like structures called cilia that line the inside of the nasal and sinus cavities. These cilia wave back and forth to push mucus either to the back of the throat where it can be swallowed, or to the nose to be blown out. Saline solution can help increase the speed and improve coordination of the cilia so that they may more effectively remove the allergens and other irritants that cause sinus problems.
There aren’t any official medical guidelines, but Neti pots usually come with an insert that explains how to use them. You might also want to ask your family doctor or an ear, nose, and throat specialist to talk you through the process so you can get comfortable with the Neti pot before trying it on your own.
Typically, to use the Neti pot or other nasal irrigation device you would mix about 16 ounces (1 pint) of lukewarm water (distilled, sterile, or previously boiled) with 1 teaspoon of salt. Some people add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to buffer the solution and make it gentler on the nose, but there isn’t any real proof that this improves the experience. Be sure to use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water to make up the irrigation solution.
Once you’ve filled the Neti pot, tilt your head over the sink at about a 45-degree angle. Place the spout into your top nostril, and gently pour the saline solution into that nostril.The fluid will flow through your nasal cavity and out the other nostril. It may also run into your throat. If this occurs, just spit it out. Blow your nose to get rid of any remaining liquid, then refill the Neti pot and repeat the process on the other side. It’s important to rinse the irrigation device after each use and leave open to air dry.
In studies, people suffering from daily sinus symptoms found relief from using the Neti pot or other nasal irrigation system daily. Three times a week was often enough once symptoms subsided.
To prevent infection, always use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water. Also, it’s important to properly care for your nasal irrigation device. Either wash the device thoroughly by hand, or put it in the dishwasher if it’s dishwasher-safe. Follow by drying the device completely after each use.
Talk with your pharmasict about the benefits of using a Neti Pot or other options like a saline nasal spray. Neti pots are available over-the-counter at many drug stores, health food stores, and online retailers. They usually cost between $10 and $20. If you give this centuries old tradition a try, please let us know how it works for you!
*Article written with excerpts from www.webmd.com