Spring officially started in the northern hemisphere yesterday. But with spring can come allergies. Neti pots can be game changers when it comes to allergies and general sinus issues. But what are they? Are they safe? And how the heck do you use them?
What are Neti pots?
“Neti pot” is the current term for a type of sinus irrigation device. The brand NetiPot was first developed in 1972 and since then, the term “neti pot” has become similar to “Kleenex” (used generically for tissue) in that it refers to any style of sinus irrigation pot.
There are other styles of sinus irrigation tools, and many of them are similar in style. Have a peek at the different types here.
What do they do and are they safe?
Sinus issues can cause us headaches, pressure and pain in our faces, foreheads, throats, ears and even our jaws.
What nasal irrigation does
Usually, when we’re healthy, nasal mucus drains without much notice. But when allergies kick up, nasal tissue can become inflamed and irritated, causing the mucus to thicken and we feel congested. Nasal irrigation softens, thins and rinses out the mucus, clearing away irritants.
Nasal irrigation has been around for centuries, although only gaining visibility in the U.S. since the 70s. About 500 years ago, delivery systems such as neti pots began to be used in India.
Are they safe for seniors (or anyone)?
When done properly, nasal irrigation is safe for people of all ages. ParentGiving.com indicates, “I think neti is an excellent idea,” says Steven Park, MD, a New York City ear, nose and throat specialist and author of Sleep, Interrupted: A physician reveals the #1 reason why so many of us are sick and tired. “When I first mention it to my patients, they are reluctant. But when they see the benefits, they like it. The problem is they don’t incorporate it to their daily life. They should use it prophylactically on a daily basis.”
Dr. Park explains how it works this way: “When you have salty water in your nose, the nasal membranes shrink and you can breathe much better.” … Neti is generally considered to be safe, but if you have concerns about whether you should try in, ask your ear, nose and throat doctor if it’s right for you.”
How do you use them?
The Mayo Clinic has published this terrific information video that illustrates the use of different types of nasal irrigation devices:
Where can I get one?
All types of irrigation devices are found in most pharmacies, drug stores, and big box stores across the U.S. Of course, there is also a good selection online. If you have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, be sure to look for styles of pots that say they are “ergonomic”. Since irrigation is something that is beneficial to do daily, you don’t want to place undue pressure on your wrist or hands.
Before beginning any type of new therapy or treatment, always speak with your doctor. Let your medical professional know you’re thinking about nasal irrigation and ask if they have concerns or recommendations.
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