Friday, October 13, 2006

The Neti Pot

Here is a device worth mention for anyone with sinus problems. The Neti Pot comes in many different sizes and shapes, but the basic purpose is the same – to irrigate the sinus passages. Why? To clean out any debris or irritants, moisten the sinuses and flush out any mucous or phlegm that may be obstructing the airway.

My wife introduced the Neti Pot to me and I was thoroughly opposed to sticking something up my nose at first. I was stricken with an upper respiratory infection with clogged sinuses and I could hardly breathe and tried it out of desperation. It was a strange experience at first. I even managed to get most of the water down my throat. But once I got the hang of it, copious amounts of green, infected mucous was expelled. For the first time in 4 days, I breathed easily.

Most people, with more common sense than me, use the Neti Pot regularly to prevent possible nasal inflammation, congestion or infection. Lest you fear that pouring water in your sinuses might increase the risk of problems from water being left behind, realize that a key part of the process is mixing salt in with the water.

The salt performs two functions. First, it helps dislodge any matter that needs to come out, and secondly it acts as an anti-septic. How much salt is being used? Does it sting? A small amount of salt is used to make the water the consistency of your tears so it’s definitely not going to sting.

I was going to mention that this is a good time of year to start using the Neti Pot, considering the change of season with fall and winter colds coming on, but the Neti Pot is good for all seasons. Use it now, use it in the spring when pollen and hay fever is rampant and you can even use it in the summer if you suffer sinus trouble year round.

I have many patients who come in sniffling and sneezing to their appointments, so sinus problems are very common. I’ve even taken to stocking some Neti Pots in my office so patients don’t have to run all over town if they decide they want to try it. I’ve gotten some rave reviews from patients who’ve tried the Neti Pot and eased their sinus congestion. So rather than taking Sudafed or some other drug, try the Neti and see if you can’t solve some of the problem simply.