Colds, flu, sinus infections and the like can cause clogged sinuses and miserable facial discomfort. One option for relief is nasal saline irrigations, such as a Neti pot, a therapy that uses a salt and water solution to flush nasal passages.
There are several methods of nasal irrigation, however the Neti pot, an Ayurvedic medical treatment, is one of the most popular. A Neti pot can be found at most drugstores for $10 to $15 and look like a cross between a small teapot and “genie” lamp. The main difference between a Neti pot and other nasal sprays or decongestants is the amount of flow of the saline solution which may help flush out your sinuses more effectively than basic saline nasal sprays.
Many physicians recommend Neti pots for patients who have undergone sinus surgery to clear away crusting in nasal passages. Use of Neti pots is also recommended to treat symptoms of allergies and other environmental irritants helping relieve congestion and facial pain/pressure by thinning mucus and flushing it out of the nasal passages.
Although there aren’t any official medical guidelines, most Neti pots come with an insert that explains how to use them (you can also check out this video).
To use the Neti pot you would:
- Grab a tissue or paper towel.
- Mix about 16 ounces of lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend use of distilled or sterile water to make up the irrigation solution. Tap water is acceptable if it’s been passed through a filter with a 1-micron pore size or if it’s been boiled for several minutes and then left to cool.
- Fill the Neti pot with half of the salt water solution.
- Tilt your head over the sink at an 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 and may also run into your throat.
- Blow your nose to get rid of any remaining liquid, then refill the Neti pot and repeat the process on the other side.
- Rinse the Neti pot after each use and leave open to air dry.
- Use Neti pot once daily when experiencing sinus symptoms.
Research has found that the Neti pot is generally safe although some regular users have experienced mild side effects including nasal irritation, stinging and, in rare cases, nosebleeds. Reducing the amount of salt in the solution, adjusting the frequency of Neti pot use, and changing the temperature of the water can reduce side effects.
Have you used a Neti pot to treat sinus discomfort?