How do you spell congestion relief? Neti Pot
Are you one of the millions of people who suffer from chronic sinus infections? If so, a recent study done by the University of Southampton in England may be of interest to you.
The study evaluated the effectiveness of two very common treatments for sinus congestion: steam inhalation versus nasal irrigation. Researchers found that steam inhalation is not effective in relieving symptoms of chronic sinus congestion. They reasoned that the use of the steam (heat) can create more swelling within the nasal cavity, which could create more sinus pressure.
They concluded nasal irrigation, when patients are given proper education of use, is the better choice.
“Nasal irrigation is the rinsing of the sinuses with a saline (salt-based) solution,” says Dr. Howard Kotler, an otolaryngologist with Advocate Medical Group.
There are many different types of nasal irrigation devices, including the Neti pot, bulb syringes and squeeze bottles.
“Depending on the device chosen, the user either pours or sprays the saline solution into the nasal cavity. The solution then flows into the nasal passageway on the other side and exits. Gently blow your nose and then repeat on the other side,” says Dr. Kotler.
Most importantly, be sure to follow the instructions that come with your device. Dr. Kotler reminds patients to always breathe through your mouth and not your nose in order to avoid swallowing the solution.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises using filtered, boiled or distilled water for the saline solution. They also recommend rinsing irrigation devices after each use with safe water, and letting them air dry completely.
“My patients generally see some relief after the first use,” says Dr. Kotler. “I encourage daily use until the symptoms subside. For many patients, this should be their first line of defense against future sinus infections. Daily to weekly use may help combat future infections.”
Talk with your health care provider to find the best device and usage for your given situation.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.