It sits there silently on the bathroom counter. A simple little blue pot. Deceptively looking like a tiny teapot for one. As I begin to mix the solution to fill it, the children's song starts up in the back of my head : "I'm a little teapot, short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my spout." But I adjust the words to fit this particular situation. For this is no cup of tea I am preparing here.
"I'm a little neti pot, short and stout.
Here is my handle. Here is my spout.
Pour me in one nostril,
the other one goes out.
Tip me over, I'll clean you out"
For those not familiar - a neti pot is a small pot or bowl with a long spout. The pot is filled with a saline solution. Leaning over a bowl or sink, the user tips their head to one side and the end of the spout is placed in the upper nostril. The solution is then poured through the spout, into the nostril and into the sinus passages. Now, if that alone hasn't made you gag - the next step is the kicker. Once the saline solution has flushed through the sinus passages; it then pours out the lower nostril. Yes... ew....
The idea is that rinsing (or irrigating, or flushing - whatever you want to call it) out the sinus passages helps to thin the mucous secretions, as well as cleaning debris and excess mucous from the cilia - all those tiny hair-like things in your sinuses. This leaves the cilia clean and fresh to do their job of pushing mucous and other stuff either to the nose to be blown away or to the back of the throat for swallowing.
Neti pots can be found in most drug stores, or online. Pre-packaged solutions are also available, but can get expensive over time. I use a recipe I found online for my solution. Two cups sterilized water (either bottled, or boiled and cooled) warmed in the microwave for 45 seconds, 1 teaspoon non-iodized salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Be sure to use distilled or sterile water, or water which has been boiled and cooled.
The one allergy season I used the neti pot on a daily basis; I did have less frequent and less severe allergy attacks. So, I personally am a believer. And this morning when I got up feeling someone less congested from my cold, but feeling the congestion that was there was thicker and settling into certain areas of my sinuses making the pressure there unbearable - I knew it was time to pull out the pot and give it a rinse.
Many people can never get past the "ICK" factor to give the neti a chance. But for someone who has struggled with allergies and sinus problems for as long as I can remember; I am willing to try almost anything. Especially if it's not just one more medication to make me feel drowsy or jittery. And with pollen already filling the air with early spring like weather - I think the little blue pot will be sitting out and getting a lot of use for the next few months
Safety Disclaimer: I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV). You should probably consult your real physician such as an Allergist or Ear,Nose,and Throat specialist before using a neti pot.