How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot?


Last Updated October 11th, 2019

What is a neti pot?

It is a custom designed container with a shape of a teapot that is used to rinse the nose using water or a particularly formulated solution.  It is usually made from ceramic or plastic.  They are in use for centuries, which originated from the ayurvedic medical practice.  The structure of a Neti pot resembles half teapot and half Aladdin’s magic lamp.  Generally, the size of a neti pot varies but usually is big enough to hold at least 8 ounces of fluid.   The fluid used is a mixture of sterile water, salt, and baking soda.  The process of clearing up the nasal passages with the use of Neti pot is called nasal irrigation.  There are other methods of nasal irrigation available, but Neti pot seems to be the one which is commonly used.

It is used to relieve sinus problems such as nasal blockage and clear up the debris that is clogged in the nasal passages.  People suffering from dust allergies are also advised to use Neti pot to clear up the dust particles from the nasal passages and avoid infections.

Health benefits of nasal irrigation

Sinus relief

Sinus problems or sinusitis is a medical condition where the sinuses become inflamed due to a sinus infection or allergy problems.  It also causes clogging of the nasal passage creating pressure on the sinuses.  As a result of this, you may experience a headache as well as irritation in your sinus cavities.  Nasal irrigation is a suitable remedy to remove the clogging in the nasal passage.  Nasal irrigation with the use of Neti pot can be utilized to remove the mucus, irritants, as well as the inflammatory toxins.  Studies have indicated that regular use of Neti pot for nasal irrigation can help calm the sinuses and provide relief from sinus symptoms including allergies.

Limits congestion

Nasal congestion can be caused when environmental pollution and allergies cause irritation to the nasal passages.  This leads to the production of mucus in the nasal passages, which accumulates and can lead to congestion.  Once the congestion occurs, sinuses are at risk of infection, which leads to multiple other issues.  Using Neti pot for nasal irrigation allows the solution to flush out the irritants lodged in the nasal passages as well as the mucus that is accumulated.  When the mucus is diluted with the help of a solution, the congestion eases.

Reduces allergy symptoms

Seasonal allergy is a medical condition where the allergies affect a person during a particular season.  It is generally related to the allergens in the environment that causes an allergic reaction.  It may be caused by pollen particles, molds, grass, weeds, etc.  The symptoms may include frequent sneezing with itching in the nasal passages as well as irritation.  All these symptoms can be relieved with the use of a Neti pot.  Studies have indicated that regular use of Neti pot is more effective than many allergy medications.

Fights cold

The common cold affects everyone at least once or twice a year even in healthy individuals.  The production of mucus due to environmental allergens and pollution is the main cause of cold symptoms.  Using Neti pot to dilute the mucus helps in removing it from the nasal passages.  This relieves the pressure and pain, as well as helps with breathing.

May help reduce snoring

The process of noisy breathing is called snoring.  This may occur due to various reasons.  One of the reasons could include the presence of congestion in the nasal cavity.  Relieving this congestion with the use of Neti pot nasal irrigation promotes better breathing and reduces snoring.

How to use a Neti pot?

Using Neti pot is not rocket science and can be accomplished with some basic procedures.  Following the guideline that accompanies the Neti pot should be sufficient.  Consulting a family physician could be helpful in understanding the process.

The first and foremost instruction would be to prepare the solution required for the Neti pot.  It is very important to thoroughly wash the hands and sterilize the container with the use of lukewarm water.  Use sterile water for the preparation of the solution.  Three teaspoons of salt with one teaspoon of baking soda should be mixed together.  A teaspoon of this mixture should be added to eight ounces of sterile water and mixed well.  Apply a few drops of this solution to the tip of the nose.  If there is any feeling of burning or irritation, dilute the solution with more sterile water.  For children, half teaspoon of this mixture can be added to four ounces of water.

Once the solution is ready to use, fill it in the Neti pot.  Next, tilt your head to about 45-degree angle and place the spout into your top nostril and pour the solution gently into the nostril.  The solution should fill the nostril and flow through the other nostril.  There are chances that some solution may flow into the throat.

It is advised to immediately spit the solution out and clear the nasal passage by blowing out.  Continue this process until the solution is empty.  Follow this procedure once or twice a day depending on the requirement.

Neti Pot: Does it really work?

The next big question is if this process really works.  Yes, it does.  Using nasal irrigation to clear the congestion and mucus from the nasal cavity is the procedure followed by many medical professionals for a very long time.  Using Neti pot to accomplish this is one of the ways to irrigate the nose.  Research backs up this process.  Studies have indicated that using Neti pot for nasal irrigation is helpful in relieving sinus symptoms when used with a combination of other standard sinus treatments.

Nasal irrigation dilutes the mucus present in the nasal cavity and flushes the mucus out.  The solution used during nasal irrigation helps in the process of diluting and pushing the mucus out of the nasal cavity.  The nasal cavity consists of tiny hair follicles called cilia which wave back and forth during nasal irrigation and increases the process of removing the mucus.  It should be noted that other allergens, as well as environmental toxins that are lodged, are also expelled during this process.

Is it safe?

Using Neti pot for nasal irrigation is generally considered safe apart from few side effects.  Nasal irritation and burning may occur due to the presence of salt and baking soda.  A very few cases of nosebleed too can occur, but they are rare.  These side effects can be easily avoided by diluting the solution with additional saline water as well as following the procedure appropriately.  Using only lukewarm water and not hot water also can reduce these minimal side effects.  It should be noted that the risk of infection can be prevented by using sterile water for the preparation of the solution.  It is also important to sterilize the container before and after use.  Following these simple instructions can make your nasal irrigation experience much safer.

Neti pot for kids

It should be noted that Neti pots are not limited to only adults.  The benefits of nasal irrigation can help a child in a big way.  It is quite common for children to acquire a cold or stuffy nose.  Relieving this congestion caused by mucus is quite difficult.  Using the process of nasal irrigation with the use of Neti pot is highly suggested.  It should be noted that teaching children to use them is important.

It is always advised to not rush while teaching your child.  Your child needs to be comfortable to put something in the nose.  Practically showing the child how it is done makes the child confident that it is not harmful.  It should be noted to never do the nasal irrigation for your child, and it should always be done by the child itself.  It is like teaching a child how to swim.  You can take one step at a time and once the confidence is built, the child would do it without any issues.

Alternatives to Neti pot

Immune system disorders allergyThere are several alternatives available for Neti pot.  Some are discussed below.

Nasal bulb and syringe:  This process uses a saline solution to rinse the nasal passages.  They have a specific nostril fit, which promotes positive pressure into the sinus cavity.  This process helps in better cleansing.  It also negates the practice of bending the head to a particular side for an extended period of time.  They are effective particularly for young children and are comparatively comfortable and flexible.  They are also available in various sizes

Nasal wash bottle:  This is very similar to the Neti pot with only the shape being different.  They come in various shapes and size.  The same procedure of tilting the head to one side and pouring the solution into the nostril is done.  It is effective in superficial nasal washing, but there is a limitation in creating a vacuum seal.  Their construction is not precise and it becomes difficult to use it efficiently.

Pulsatile irrigation device:  It is a device that sends a pulsating stream of solution through the nasal cavity to clean the sinuses.  Studies have indicated that pulsatile irrigation is up to 100 times more effective than other types of nasal irrigation.

The final takeaway

Nasal passages are considered to be the front line barrier that protects the lungs from several harmful particles.  Due to the regular damage caused by many environmental toxins, it is important to maintain the health of the nasal cavity.  These environmental toxins lead to mucus formation that becomes a bigger problem when there is excess accumulation.  Regular nasal irrigation can clear the nasal cavities as well as the sinuses and help in many ways.  Choosing the right mode of nasal irrigation is left for you to choose.


TL;DR?

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