Truth About Neti Pots

Phara with customerThere you go, you have a good day.NarratorWhenever Phara Brown begins to get congested, she immediately turns to a centuries old method of clearing her sinuses: the neti pot.Phara BrownAt first I was a little hesitant because of the whole idea of using neti pot or using something you stick up your nose to drain out the other end, but it actually works.Interview QuestionHow did you overcome your reluctance?Phara BrownI wanted to breathe. I wanted to breathe through my nose and congestion is an awful thing.Dr. Josephson to patientif you’re taking a showering, you are showing your nose right?NarratorDr. Jordan Josephson is an endoscopic sinus specialist and author of the book Sinus Relief Now. He recommends the neti pot to patients without hesitation.Jordan Josephson, MDYou fill it up with saline and you actually irrigate your sinuses and your nose out with it. It’s great for sinus problems. It’s great for allergies.It’s great for cough. It washes all the pollution out of your nose, the infection out of your nose, and whatever you’re allergic to that may be in your nose, it’ll wash that out as well.Anna Kelly, MDThere was a study done out of the University of Wisconsin which found that the neti pot was just as, or more effective in some cases as the prescriptions, with essentially no side effects.NarratorSide effects? Oh, you mean the feeling of drowning you can get if you don’t do it properly?Anna Kelly, MDI’ll say “Can you tell my nasal is breathing is separated from my mouth breathing”, you know, because you could hear the way I’m talking is different right?and they’ll say “Yeah yeah”, and I’ll say “Do that”, and some people can quite easily breathe through the mouth and separate the nasal passages,and other people say “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m afraid to use it.”NarratorTip One: Practice mouth breathing before using the neti pot.Anna Kelly, MDTip two. Never use tap water, even filtered tap water, unless first boiled for 3 minutes and then cooled. Distilled or sterile water is safest.NarratorTip three: Follow saline solution instructions carefully. Don’t use more than recommeded.Anna Kelly, MDIf the salt concentration is too high, there can be some burning of the tissue.NarratorIf you make your own, it’s about a quarter teaspoon of non-iodized salt for every cup of warm water. A pinch of baking soda can help soften the effect of the salt.Tip four: if you add an herbal wash to the mix, read the label carefully.Anna Kelly, MDSome of the washes contain zinc which can temporarily reduce the sense of smell, so you might want to look for a wash that’s zinc free.We don’t recommend the use of the washes in pregnant women, although the use of the salt water in the neti pot is fine.NarratorTip five: clean your neti pot thoroughly after each use and replace it frequently. Bacteria can lodge in the thin neck of the pot.And tip six: don’t be afraid to use it as often as once a day if that’s what your symptoms requre.Anna Kelly, MDYou would use a neti pot whenever there’s any sinus or nasal congestion, and it can be used anywhere from once a day to once a week.Phara BrownWhen I can feel that postnasal drip or my sinuses starting to act up that’s when I start using it and keep it from actually turning into something where I could potentially be,out of work for a couple of days or even on an antibiotic.NarratorFor WebMD, I’m Sandee LaMotte.

SOURCES: Anna C. Kelly, MD. Anesthesiologist, Acupuncturist, Metro Acupuncture. Mark Lewinter, L.Ac. Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist. Jordan S. Josephson, MD. Endoscopic Sinus Surgeon. WebMD Medical Reference: Neti Pots.


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