Four Ways to Wash Your Sinuses

With all this talk of neti pots, you'd be forgiven for thinking that those funny-looking teapot contraptions are the only way to wash out your sinuses. In fact, other devices can get the job done too. Most of them work in the same way: saline solution is pushed up into your sinuses, where it washes out the allergens, mucus and irritants before draining out your nose or mouth. However, there are subtle differences between each method.

1. Sinus Rinse Kit

How does it work? Sinus rinse kits are small 8-ounce squeeze bottles that come with sachets of prepared salt and baking soda mixes. Most of the companies recommend that you boil the water, stir in the saline mixture and then allow the solution to cool before using. After inserting the bottle's nozzle up one nostril, you squeeze the bottle and allow the saline solution to drain out the mouth and nose.

Pros: The bottles are very easy to use and some people may prefer the convenience of pre-mixed solution. The force used to spray the saline solution can be good for severely blocked sinuses.

Cons: Buying the pre-mixed saline packages can get expensive. Some people might not like the sensation of the water coming out of their mouth.

2. Neti Pot

How does it work? Using a small teapot-like device, you pour water in one nostril and it drains out the other. Neti pots rely on gravity and vacuums to pull the water through the sinuses, bringing bacteria, allergens and irritants along with it. Neti pots come in various shapes and sizes and can be plastic, ceramic or metal.

Pros: The neti pot is gentler than some other sinus wash devices, making it a good everyday option. Most of the pots are lightweight and easy to pack for travel. Neti pots have been used for centuries--millions of people can't be wrong!

Cons: A neti pot can be messy, and its "gentle" action means that it sometimes has trouble washing out sinuses that are very congested or blocked. Learning the best technique can take some time and patience.

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