Sinus problems are no fun. Whether caused by a cold, flu, or allergy, the pain and pressure of clogged nasal passages can make it difficult to breath and sometimes ruin your sleep.  Fortunately relief can be found from the irritation and swelling of the tissues lining your nose by flushing out the nasal passages.  This is known as nasal irrigation. Remember those bizarre commercials advertising the “Neti pots”, well as bizarre as it looks it can provide relief.

Flushing nasal passages comes from traditional medicine in India.  The idea is to flush out the mucus and allergens trapped inside your nasal passage.  You simply fill a pot that looks similar to a tea pot with a saline solution.  With your head tilted over a sink place the spout of the pot into your nostril and gently pour the saline into your nostril so that it flows through the nasal cavity and out the other nostril. If there is any extra fluid remaining, simply blow your nose to get rid of it. Then repeat on the other side.  (Make sure to thoroughly clean the pot afterwards.)  There are other products that use a squeeze bottles instead of gravity but the concept is exactly the same.

Does it work?  Research has found that nasal irrigation will improve the clearing of nasal secretion and is effective in reducing congestion from a cold or sinus infections.  If you are waking up in the middle of the night coughing or with breathing discomfort using a Neti pot before you go to sleep or during the night will help improve your sleep.

To get the most out of a Neti pot, boil the water first to sterilize the water.  This will kill off any bacteria found in the tap water.  Let the water cool then add the salt packets to make the saline water. (make sure you use iodide-free and preservative- free salt.)  Fill the Neti pot with the sterilized saline water.  Using good quality water is important.  If you are unable to boil the water before hand use distilled water.