Got snot? Try a neti pot.

Got snot? Try a neti pot.

Your allergies are acting up again. You’re congested, you’ve got postnasal drip going down the back of your throat and sinus pressure all over your face. You need some relief.

Anyone who knows how miserable allergy season can be has probably tried some of the more common solutions, like allergy medications and nasal sprays. But Dr. Shishir Sheth, otolaryngologist at the Aurora Ear, Nose and Throat clinic, often recommends a neti pot.

“Neti pots, along with other nasal irrigation systems, can help flush the nose with a high volume of saline,” says Dr. Sheth. “These devices are one tool in our toolbox that we can use to treat patients. It’s a low-risk intervention that can help, so it’s often one of the first things we tell patients to try.”

Neti pots and other nasal irrigation systems use salt water to rinse out the nasal cavities, which can help relieve a lot of nasal congestion symptoms. The instructions are simple – use distilled or sterile water, mix it with the packet of salt that comes with the irrigation system and follow the directions from the manufacturer.

“We don’t recommend using tap water as it may contain germs that you don’t want in your nose. Buy a gallon of distilled or sterile water at the store,” says Dr. Sheth. “Try a neti pot and see how it makes you feel. If it helps you, you can use it as often as you like. Some of my patients use it three times a day.”

Seasonal allergies are common, especially in spring and early summer, and sometimes symptoms can last year round. While a neti pot can help provide some relief, there are times when you need to see a doctor.

“If you try this and have persistent symptoms, go see your doctor. They can try some low risk interventions and can refer you to a specialist like me if you have persistent symptoms,” says Dr. Sheth.

Need relief? Find a doctor in Illinois or Wisconsin

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  1. I’ve found the nasal irrigator easier to use, not messy, not to mention the pulsing stream effective at breaking up congestion. Warm water to body temperature. You can make your own saline.

  2. I would really like to stress the importance to NOT use plain tap water (unless boiled). Tap water may contain a rare amoeba that can cause a deadly brain infection. ALWAYS use distilled or boiled water.

  3. I was skeptical at first, but these things truly do work. The hardest part is overcoming that panic of feeling like you’re drowning. Brings instant relief.

  4. Use lukewarm water, it’s a lot more comfortable.

  5. I’ve been using a neti pot almost 2 decades! Bend over the sink, tilt your head the opposite way from the nostril that you’re pouring the water in. Breath through your mouth. Easy. There are many videos on YouTube to help you.

  6. Hi Mom, info you probably already know
    But just in case! Love you, Lisa

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About the Author

Ben Hoekstra
Ben Hoekstra

Ben Hoekstra is a public affairs coordinator with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. He previously worked in marketing and PR for various Milwaukee nonprofits and received his master’s degree in Corporate Communications from Marquette University. He enjoys the outdoors, cooking, and all things Milwaukee.