health nutrition

Beating Seasonal Allergies

A little known but super effective and natural method for dealing with allergies.

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Allergy season is here early, judging from how much we've been sneezing. Seasonal allergies can affect people in many different ways, from itchy eyes to hives. We personally suffer from congestion, especially at night or while lying horizontally, sinus discomfort and runny noses.

For years, we were relied heavily on medicated nasal spray, which was effective but did nothing for our dry and cracked nasal passages. But once we discovered and started using neti pots, we've reserved the nasal spray for only the most pollen-heavy days.

What are neti pots?

They resemble small teapots with a long spout and a handle on one side. Neti pots have been used for eons in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. They are typically made of ceramic or plastic and can be found at mainstream drug stores.

How do they work?

You might be familiar with saline sprays. Neti pots are conceptually similar, but they do a more thorough job of washing the nasal passages. You fill the pot with sterile, boiled or distilled water (absolutely no tap water) and some salt to create a saline solution.

Then, you put the spout up one nostril and gravity does the rest, drawing the water through your sinuses and nasal cavity. The water will flow out of your other nostril, bringing with it debris, bacteria, pollen, dust, thick mucus and other irritants.

Other benefits we have seen include relief from dry air and symptoms of cold or sinus infections; the saline solution can act as a gentle disinfectant and clear up congestion.

You want me to stick a tiny spout up my nose?

In short, yes. Trust us. We were also really skeptical, initially. But doing the neti pot has become a part of our morning — and sometimes, evening — routine, and seeing all the mucus drainage (sorry, TMI) is strangely satisfying and cathartic. Over time, we have less nighttime congestion, fewer runny noses, clearer sinuses and overall less reliance on medicated nasal sprays.

Use responsibly

The reason it's so important to use sterile, previously boiled or distilled water is because tap water can contain bacteria and other organisms. Some of these bacteria can cause serious infections in nasal passages and can be deadly. We are literally talking about brain-eating amoebas. Don't take any chances, boil your water!

Top tips

Choose a ceramic, not plastic, neti pot that is dishwasher safe and has a solid rather than a hollow handle. The fewer nooks and crannies for moisture and bacteria, the better!

Pair your pot with a finely milled, non-iodized salt. Table salt can be harsh. You can find neti pot salt on Amazon.

Wash your hands vigorously with soap and water before handling.

Lukewarm water that was boiled then cooled is more soothing and comfortable than cold water.

Make sure the salt dissolves well into the water before you do the neti pot, otherwise the experience may sting. To help it along, put the salt into the pot first, add a small amount of water, swirl to dissolve, then add the rest of the water.

The water will flow more easily if you tilt your face over the sink without pointing your chin down. It takes practice, but the idea is to tilt your head sideways without pointing your head down.

Breathe through your mouth. If any water flows down your throat, simply spit it out. With practice, you will learn how to avoid it.

Rinse your neti pot out fully with leftover boiled water, then leave to air dry. Toss it in the dishwasher regularly.

The content of this website is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical treatment. Please contact your medical care practitioner for medical information and medical treatment. Never refrain from or delay seeking medical treatment or a medical consultation because of something you read on this site.