6 Neti Pot Tips For Nasal Irrigation
By Kerry Thomas
Using a neti pot is a fairly simple process once you understand the basic concepts of what you are actually trying to do. The objective is to pour a warm saline solution through one nostril and allow it to exit the other nostril. This action serves to wash away dried mucus and bacteria that contributes to sinus problems.
The neti pot is designed as a simple vessel with a spout that allows you to form a water tight seal against the nostril. Here is three tips that can help you learn the simple technique of nasal irrigation.
The first tip is to be sure that the neti pot is clean before you use it. This is best done by simply washing the pot with a antibacterial dish-washing liquid and scrubbing all the areas of the pot with a nylon bristled brush. Cleaning the neti pot is essential, especially if you are sharing it with another person.
Tip 2 deals with properly mixing the saline solution. You will need to add salt to warm water (not hot) and mix it until it all dissolves thoroughly. If you are using prepackaged neti pot salt, then you can merely add the recommended amount to the pot you are using. The strength of the saline formula is important as too much salt can cause stinging and discomfort for the user.
Oddly, too little of an amount of salt can cause discomfort too. The optimum concentration is one that closely matches the normal salinity of the body's own mucus. This is referred to as an isotonic solution. Generally you will need to add approximately one-eighth of a teaspoon of non-iodized salt to a normal sized neti pot. You can always adjust the salt mixture to suit your own preferences.
Tip 3 involves the actual nasal irrigation process. The user will need to bend forward over a sink so that the drainage from the nostril will not splash everywhere. The key to getting a good sinus flush is to get a good flow of the saline mixture. The neti pot works on the principle of gravity and thus does not create excessive pressure in the sinuses.
Once the user leans forward, simply turn your face slightly towards the side you will be rinsing from. For example, if you want to rinse the right nostril, you will need to turn your face to the right. Next, press the neti pot's spout against the upper most nostril and slowly tip the pot up so as to allow the water to flow out and into the nose.
Once you have flushed from one side, you will need to refill the pot and flush from the other side, using the same techniques. You are simply going to turn your face towards the other side. Use a full volume to wash through each nostril.
The user may have difficulty getting the vessel angled correctly at first, but learning to adjust the top and keeping the face down close to the sink will help. You will not need to press the spout against the nostril with a lot of force... just enough pressure to get a watertight seal is all that is necessary. Note that you can press hard enough to push the pot's opening against your septum and shut off the flow.
Once you have done the nasal irrigation technique for a few times, you will soon learn how to hold the neti pot and achieve the desired effects.
Tip 4 addresses the issue of properly draining the sinuses after you flush them. This is an important step, as water can sometimes get trapped and will eventually run out unexpectedly. The preferred way to accomplish the draining process is to lean forward completely and swish your head from side to side. Keep a tissue handy to catch any water. Do this a couple of times... standing upright in between.
Once you have done the draining procedure, gently blow your nose into a tissue. Do not restrict your nostrils or attempt to pressurize your sinuses beyond the force of what simply exhaling provides. You can force water into the ears via the Eustachian Tubes if you forcefully exhale or try to constrict the nostrils.
Tip 5 deals with properly cleaning the neti pot after each use. It is vital that you clean the neti pot to prevent the spread of germs. Once again, as was discussed in tip 1, you will need to wash the pot with an antibacterial dish-washing liquid and scrub the pot with a brush. Do not use a sponge, as it can actually harbor bacteria and will not clean properly. If you are sharing a neti pot with others, always wash the pot after each user has completed their flush.
It is recommended that you get each person their own. Plastic neti pots are very inexpensive and allows each person to irrigate their sinuses and they can be responsible for keeping their own neti pot clean.
Tip 6 is a tip regarding how many times you can use the pot and how often you should perform nasal irrigation. The general rule is that you can use the neti pot up to four times daily if you need to clean excess mucus and help control congestion. One can use the neti pot once daily if you are plagued with chronic sinus problems. The key here is to experiment and see how often you need to use the pot to help.
You may find that flushing your sinuses after you are exposed to allergens can help prevent more problems for you. If you are exposed to dust,pollen, animal dander, etc. then you can flush your sinuses to get rid of the majority of the debris.
Following these simple neti pot tips will help you get the best benefit from nasal irrigation.