I get sinus infections all the time. Will using a neti pot help?

I get sinus infections all the time. Will using a neti pot help?

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Tanya Edwards, M.D.
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Tanya Edwards, M.D.

A family physician, Dr. Tanya Edwards is passionate about using nutrition for the prevention and treatment of chronic illness.  She... Read more

Regular use of a neti pot, which entails bathing the nasal cavity in a saline solution to thin mucus and remove irritants such as dust and pollen, has been shown to be very helpful in reducing chronic congestion and allergic rhinitis (due to pollen allergy). Saline nasal irrigation (SNI) may even lower the occurrence of sinus infections.

Several studies done at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health on SNI were rather encouraging. One randomized control trial involved patients with a history of sinus disease who were trained to use daily saline nasal irrigation. Patients reported improved quality of life, less frequent symptoms and reduced need for antibiotics and nasal sprays.

Neti pots, which look like miniature genie lamps, have been used for centuries and are believed to have originated in India where yogis used them as part of their practice of Ayurvedic medicine. You can buy premeasured salt packets that you add to water, or prepare your own saline solution by mixing distilled or purified water (using boiled tap water is fine, as long as you let it cool to warm or room temperature) with noniodized kosher salt. The ratio of water to salt will vary depending on the size of the neti pot; if the pot holds six to eight ounces, an eighth of a teaspoon of kosher salt should do the trick. The quick version of how to use: Bending over a sink, tilt your head at a 45-degree angle while positioning the spout in the opening of one nostril and breathing out of your mouth. With some patience and practice, the solution should travel up that nostril and flow out of the other. Gently blow your nose, and repeat on the other side. If you find the salt too irritating, a pinch of baking soda can help lessen the sting.

Neti pot users experience the most benefit from daily use when it comes to prevention of colds and sinus infection; if you have an active infection, SNI should be done more often, up to three or four times per day. The neti pot can help improve symptoms, and studies have suggested less use of antibiotics for those who use a neti pot to prevent recurrent sinus infections. You can purchase a neti pot at our 360-5.com Wellness Store.

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