Thursday, May 3, 2012

Is Your Nose Clean?

So, this post might fall into the ‘too much information’ category but I’m going to share it anyway.  If you are someone who suffers from allergies or sinus issues this might be your solution; or at least a ticket to feeling a little bit better.  It might even help with the common cold.  It brings new meaning to the phrase that my childhood neighbor’s dad always said to me when I rang their doorbell; “You can come in if your nose is clean!"  I never really knew what that meant, but maybe this was what he was referring to.

About 7-8 years ago I somehow developed seasonal allergies.  Every fall for two or three years I’d start sneezing, get a runny nose, itchy eyes, and be stuffed up.  It lasted for a few weeks so I figured it must have been some sort of pollen.  Most over the counter drugs helped with the sneezing and runny nose, but I had terrible post nasal drip that no drugs could help.  This was something I always sort of had issues with no matter what the season but it became worse with the allergies (my sister always made fun of me because drinking milk made me phlegm-y).  It was so bad that I would get a sore throat from it and I had enough of it.  I consulted Dr. Google and read all about neti pots and decided to give it a try.  I went to Walgreens and ended up buying a saline rinse bottle, which is a similar concept.  The point of the rinse is to eliminate all the impurities you breathe in before your body notices them (your body sneezes and causes a runny nose to get rid of the allergens).  You’re just avoiding the allergic reaction to begin with.  It's preventative medicine.
FREE NeilMed Sinus Rinse Kit

Now, how does this contraption work, you ask?  It may look/sound a little odd, but it’s pretty simple.  Basically, you fill the bottle/pot with warm water (they recommend sterilizing the water or using distilled, but I never have…I used to test that water afterall!) and add a packet of salt.  You tilt your head down towards the sink, stick the nozzle in your nostril, and lightly squeeze.  The warm water will travel from one side and drain out the other side.  Then you switch sides and repeat, lightly blowing your nose in between.  It feels a little odd at first, especially if you are one to plug your nose when you go underwater.  At this point, it reminds me of my vacations to the ocean; snorkelling with the fishies!  Depending what’s living up there, it can sometimes be surprising at what comes out!  Especially if you are sick or were working in the garden.  Ewww, gross, I know!

I’ve been using the rinse for a good 6 years now and I love it! (I realize that makes me sound like a total nerd with a pocket protector)  I rarely use OTC allergy medicines anymore (to be fair, I think those allergies have subsided quite a bit on their own…maybe my apartment was near a tree I was allergic to.).  Whenever I feel like my post nasal drip is ‘acting up’ I use the saline rinse and it’s fixed!  They recommend using it once daily, but I typically only use it when I feel the need; every two weeks and maybe more if I have a cold.  It’s helpful for the common cold if you can’t seem to get your nose unstuffed.  It helps to loosen up all that mucous so that you can blow your nose. I would proceed with caution if you are super plugged up though….the water sometimes can't get anywhere and will just come back out the same nostril it’s put into.

So, there is my TMI post for you.  If you haven’t cleaned out your nose the all natural way, I highly recommend giving it a squirt.  You might save yourself from spending a boatload on all of those OTC drugs.

Dr. Oz explains how a neti pot can clear the sinuses.

The neti pot was even featured on Oprah by Dr. Oz.  So, it's got to be good!

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