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Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:34 PM

Question about a "Neti Pot"

That's what my doctor called it. It looks like a small tea kettle. You fill it with saline solution and rinse your sinuses. Very simple. You tilt your head, place it in your nostril and pour. It flows through the sinuses and out the other nostril. Not in the least uncomfortable or squick inducing.

I have a bad cold and she suggested this as an alternative to decongestants, wich I can't take due to other meds I use regulary.

So far so good. It has reduce the burning sensation and my nose is running far less.

Has anyone had an experience with these? How frequently do you use it? Any other tips?

Mine looks like this, but there are many other designs, too.

19 replies, 2127 views

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Question about a "Neti Pot" (Original post)
Stinky The Clown Feb 2013 OP
Still Sensible Feb 2013 #1
snagglepuss Feb 2013 #12
Still Sensible Feb 2013 #14
snagglepuss Feb 2013 #15
riqster Feb 2013 #2
longship Feb 2013 #3
Stinky The Clown Feb 2013 #7
longship Feb 2013 #11
A Little Weird Feb 2013 #4
kestrel91316 Feb 2013 #8
Scuba Feb 2013 #5
bettyellen Feb 2013 #6
customerserviceguy Feb 2013 #9
Stinky The Clown Feb 2013 #10
jonthebru Feb 2013 #13
OutNow Feb 2013 #16
Stinky The Clown Feb 2013 #18
Why Syzygy Feb 2013 #17
Warpy Feb 2013 #19

Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:40 PM

1. I use one very sparingly

You can find quite a lot of pros and cons on the web. The most important thing is to keep it clean and make sure you are using sterile water and saline solution. The most common complication is bacterial infection as a result of either the Neti Pot itself not being sterilized or bacteria in the water or saline solution.

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Response to Still Sensible (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:41 PM

12. Have some links to those statements? I have always use

salt with warm tap water and have never had any issues. I learnt to do this from someone who had lived in India. I have no issue about extolling caution but I don't see this procedure exposes people to any risk.

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Response to snagglepuss (Reply #12)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:59 PM

14. Here is some info

Fatal infection is very rare, as noted in the stories below, which apparently cites a specific bacteria in bad tap water. The more common infections appear to be mostly the result of not keeping the Neti Pot clean. Like I said, I use mine sparingly and make sure I keep it clean.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/03/rare-infection-prompts-neti-pot-warning/

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm316375.htm

Doctors say it’s important to keep the risk of Naegleria fowleri contamination in perspective. Most cases are in the South, although some have been documented in the Midwest and as far north as Minnesota. Millions of people swim and dive in lakes and rivers each year, yet from 2002 to 2011 there were only 32 reported Naegleria fowleri infections, according to the disease centers. By comparison, from 1996 to 2005, the most recent period with available data, the United States had more than 36,000 drowning deaths.

With neti pots and other forms of nasal lavage, the greater risk comes from improper cleaning. Bacteria or fungi can form on the spout of a used neti pot or in a partly used nasal lavage bottle. Regular use of an improperly cleaned neti pot or contaminated lavage bottle can lead to chronic irritation or allergies.

And like toothbrushes, neti pots shouldn’t be shared with anyone. People with a compromised immune system should consult a doctor before using a neti pot.


(snip)

“If you talk about the general population, there are more common things to be aware of and worry about than a scary amoebic infection,” said Dr. Hagen, who is also the editor of “The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies.” “It’s an opportunity to remind people to be cautious and use good cleaning approaches and maintenance of their neti pot.”

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Response to Still Sensible (Reply #14)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:14 PM

15. Thank you. I glad you didn't find my post to be snark.

From experience I know home remedies can pose unexpected dangers for instance an ENT specialist advised me to stop using regular sesame seed oil when my nasal passages were dry as it could result in contact dermititis.I have since learned one can buy sesame oil for that purpose.

Perhaps why I never had a problem with the salt solution is that the bowl I use is cleaned and dried after each use.Also I only use the procedure when I have a cold or flu.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:41 PM

2. My wife and daughters swear by theirs.

I can't use it due to some old broken sinus bones, but the Neti pot works for everybody else I know.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:46 PM

3. SGU has reported about these.

There are some people who seem to think Neti pots are necessary for good health. That's woo woo rubbish. From what I've heard, they're okay for what your doctor prescribed, reducing symptoms.

SGU is the Skeptics Guide to the Universe a podcast devoted to scientific skepticism. They've been doing a weekly podcast since May, 2005. Episode 336, from December 24, 2011 has a segment on Neti pots. It's available by clicking on the Podcast Archive link. The host is an MD, Steven Novella from Yale.

Hope this was helpful.

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Response to longship (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:12 PM

7. I just listened.

(Most it was about Chris Hitchins' death, which was a week before they recorded that.)

So I;m going to assume that millions of people use these. Two deaths with only a temporal link to using it with the cautioned-against tap water.

My sense is its safe enough.

Fun listen, though! Thanks!

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:26 PM

11. IMHO, SGU is the best of the genre.

They always have fun, and have not missed a week since 2005. I don't know how Steve Novella manages it. He must be super human.

I often go back into the archive and listen to old shows. Their weekly "Science or Fiction" quiz is great.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:49 PM

4. I use one sometimes

Not really on a regular schedule but whenever I feel like I'm having sinus troubles. They take a little getting used to but once you get the hang of it, they are really helpful.

One thing I was cautioned about was that you should only use distilled water. Apparently there are rare organisms (some kind of amoeba?) that can exist in tap water that are harmless when drank but could lead to potentially fatal infection when contacting the nasal cavity.

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Response to A Little Weird (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:13 PM

8. Doesn't need to be distilled, but boiled and cooled is advisable.

Distilled isn't sterile - it's free of minerals.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 12:53 PM

5. Waterboarding is a horrible practice and should be banned.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:03 PM

6. they have prevented the recurrent sinus and ear infections for years now, amazing tool

yes, it's bad if you have amoebas in the water. then you should use bottled water - and either way- always boil it first, then allow it to cool.

you can make your own saline with just natural salt and a pinch of baking soda but additives such as xylitol (as in Neti-Wash Plus, or just buy at a health food store) boost its power to break up infections greatly by penetrating the mucous. Xylitol is in sugarless gum and shown to help with both tooth decay and ear infections. I can't recommend it strongly enough!

The amount of salt used can be varied, it's good to experiment within the suggested range. It works great whether you are really dry up there, or stuffed up. It' also really amazing if you do it immediately after a bad allergen exposure.

One tip I learned to prevent the flush from going where it shouldn't, is to open your mouth and very conciously mouth breathe the whole time you're flushing. It's the only way I can do it. After getting some confidence, I can contort my head pretty well to get to my upper sinuses.

I've had every nasal spray and allergy med there is, and there's nothing that works for me like the Neti Pot. Maybe an occasional Claritin, but all those sprays and whatnot do not help nearly as well. Good luck- PM me if you have any questions!







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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:16 PM

9. My lady uses one

and she's constantly blowing her nose. It skeeves me out just to look at the thing sitting on the bathroom counter.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:16 PM

10. Thank you all!

I think I'll use this as my doc suggested - to gain some symptomatic relief when I have a cold. Also, since I rarely have a cold, I probably won't be using it very much, but it is good to know it is there.

I find I tend now to look longingly at Sudafed . . . . much as an alcoholic looks at a bottle of gin.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:49 PM

13. I use the NeilMed Sinus Rinse

A small plastic bottle that water is warmed in and to which a small pre-measured salt packet is added. I usually warm filtered water for 45 seconds in a Pyrex measuring cup, 1 cup volume, add the packet to the small bottle pour the warm water in and shake it up.
I find it a very useful remedy, evening and morning when necessary. The box from Costco has 2 bottles and a bunch of the packets. Its an age old traditional remedy that can be used by anyone who can learn the personal procedure needed. There may be an aversion to snorting the salt water but once the benefits are realized I don't think that would be a problem.

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Response to jonthebru (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 02:29 PM

16. Another Vote for Neilmed Sinus Rinse

My ENT doctor recommended Neilmed after I had sinus surgery. Said I should use it every day to reduce sinus and ear infections. I'd say it is 90% effective. I get one or two really bad sinus headaches a year vs one or two a month before. And you will not believe the stuff that goes down the drain.

Warning - follow the directions!!! You can really hurt your ears if you don't.

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Response to jonthebru (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 05:35 PM

18. Actually, that's the one I bought.

In truth, my son bought it for me and brought it over. He's a nurse and was familiar with them.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 05:06 PM

17. I've used one

I can't use it every day or my sinuses start hurting. A friend reports she found the same. But the Neti has worked for me when I get the rare congestion, etc. Good news to hear a doctor recommending one.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 02:52 AM

19. Either use sterile saline

or boil your filtered tap water, add the salt, and allow it to cool down before you use it.

I used "goldfish" at work in the same way, they're little plastic containers of sterile saline premeasured for use in inhaled medicines. It was a plus if I could get them a little warm first. They loosened the crud very nicely.

Just make sure the water is safe. Tap water hasn't been in a few cases if it's been unboiled.

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