By Heather Legg
With this long and lingering allergy season, many people are tired of the same symptoms day after day. Often people turn to a neti pot, but many people still are wondering what exactly it is and what exactly it does. Here is your basic rundown on the benefits and the how to’s of the neti pot.
What is a neti pot?
A neti pot is a small pot usually made of ceramic, but also can be glass, metal or plastic. It looks like a cross between a small tea pot and Aladdin’s lamp. A saline solution is used to thin mucous and flush the sinus passages between the ears, nose and throat to remove built up congestion.
How does that help?
Not only does the neti pot help remove congestion and excess mucous, it also can help remove any allergens caught in the nasal passages. By getting rid of all of this, allergy symptoms can be lessened and the risk of secondary symptoms (like ear and sinus infections) is reduced. Think of it as going in the ocean and being knocked down by a big wave and the salt water going up your nose. When it’s over, you feel so cleaned out!
Can kids use a neti pot?
Yes! Depending on age and ability, they may need some adult help or they can learn to do it themselves. Be ready for some giggles when learning!
How do you use a neti pot?
The pot is filled with a room temperature or body temperature saline solution (see below*) and simply poured in one nostril to come out the other. Of course, it needs to be done over a sink or tub, and you hold your head over the sink leaning up to one side. Some people choose to do this everyday, just like brushing their teeth, while others save it for when their allergies are bad or sinuses are painful. Make sure the salinity is correct in the neti pot and that the temperature is right. You can also read more detailed directions in using a neti pot.
What is the best way to get the right temperature?
It is recommended to boil the water first, add the salt, and then let the water cool to room temperature, or just above, like body temperature. By adding the salt to the warm water, it will dissolve. Undissolved salt can be irritating to the nasal passages. Water too hot can be dangerous, so make sure it is cool enough.
How much salt or what kind of saline solution do I add?*
If making your own solution, use salt with no additives and use fine salt; you can buy sea salt and grind it yourself if you can’t find fine sea salt. Table salt is not recommended as it may contain iodine or other additives. You can find neti pot solutions and salts, like Neti Salt from Himalayan Institute or Alkalol Nasal Wash, both sold on Amazon.com along with neti pots and other accessories.
Ideally, the solution should be 0.9% salt and many neti pots come with measuring tools for this. If you are making this yourself, it also equals 500 ml of water and one teaspoon of salt.
Like most alternative practices, there are not a lot of side effects with neti pots, only benefits. Once people get up the gumption to give them a try, they’re sold. It may be just the thing you need for your allergies!