By Sonya Sidky
November 1, 2009
Simply put, the benefits of rinsing out your nasal passage is that you flush the germs, allergens and excess mucus out which saves you from getting sick or reduces your symptoms if you already are sick!
I started this practice about four years ago and now I rarely get sick and when I do I don’t stay sick for long. Sinus headaches from allergies and stress used to be a common occurrence for me and now I rarely get headaches anymore. I also achieve a great deal of relief during the dry months of winter when I often get nosebleeds. Cleansing regularly keeps my nasal passages moist and reduces the drainage of blood down my throat. No more nausea for me!
What I Do
Every morning I use a Neilmed squeeze bottle to flush out the contents of my nose. I use about ½ a teaspoon of my homemade salt and baking soda mixture mixed in the bottle along with room temperature water that I let sit in a bottle by the sink. Back in the days when I used a microwave oven (now used as decoration in my living room) I would fill a coffee mug full of water and heat for 20 seconds (the water should be lukewarm; never hot!). I shake the mixture vigorously, keeping a finger over the top of the nozzle. Then I bend over my bathroom sink and gently squeeze the some of the solution into one nostril and pause to blow out the contents of my nose. I repeat this procedure on one side until half the solution is used up and then I repeat the procedure on the other side. Simple!
Sometime I rinse twice a day if there is a reason such as lots of allergens in the air or I feel that I have been exposed to a lot of germs. I also own a neti pot and use that sometimes because it offers a very different feel than the squeeze bottle.
Adding this Simple Regimen to Your Life
Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor so these are my suggestions only. If you have a serious issue, it is best to consult with your doctor. I am happy that I did because that is how I learned about nasal irrigation in the first place!
- Try different types of nasal irrigation equipment. I suggest getting both a squeeze bottle variety and a neti pot. Each have a different feel and you really need to experience them both to see which you prefer. I generally prefer the extra force that I get from the squeeze bottle, but I prefer to use the neti pot when by sinuses are clogged because I am less likely to experience pressure in my ears due to blockage. Note that if you are clogged up, you may get better results taking a hot shower before or during your flush.
- Learn the proper technique for flushing your nasal passages by watching videos that teach you the technique. It is best to first watch the videos on how to use the Neilmed squeeze bottle and the neti pot . Once you learn the company recommended technique, you can make modifications to maximize your comfort and results.
- Start with the prepackaged solution packets if you must, but then quickly graduate to making your own solution! It is much cheaper and relatively simple to make your own mixture. I use 700 mg of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and 2300 mg of sodium chloride (unflavored popcorn salt works well). This translates to 14 grams of baking soda and 46 grams of salt. I used to meticulously measure the exact proportions using a scale that I bought at an online police auction (hmm, I wonder what the previous owner used it for), but now I just eyeball it. It does not need to be exact. Tip: Put the baking soda in to a bowl first and use a spoon to crush any lumps before mixing in the salt. Remember that a serving size is about ½ a teaspoon if you are using the Neilmed squeeze bottle and is a little less than that if you are using a neti pot.