Dealing with a blocked nose thanks to a cold or a sinus infection? If so, you may be wondering about ways to help alleviate your symptoms until the infection clears up. Many people swear by nasal irrigation, a simple remedy that involves pouring a saline solution into the nose to help wash out mucus and other bacteria. Is this the best way to manage your stuffy nose? Your ENT doctor is here to help you determine the best home remedies for treating blocked or clogged nasal passages.
What is nasal irrigation and how does it work?
Nasal irrigation has roots in ayurvedic medicine and involves flushing out the sinuses to help manage symptoms associated with:
- Sinusitis (both acute and chronic)
- Colds and other respiratory infections
Most people have heard of a neti pot, a small pot that holds and pours saline solution through the nasal passages. It’s crucial that you only use distilled or sterilized water when using an at-home nasal irrigation system. Your ENT doctor may recommend a neti pot for thinning out mucus and improving your symptoms, particularly if you deal with chronic or recurring sinus infections. In some cases, this may be beneficial for patients to do regularly, especially for those who are looking to avoid surgery to treat partially blocked or clogged sinuses.
By thinning out mucus, some patients also report a reduction in facial pain, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure, which can also reduce your chances of tension or sinus-related headaches.
How do I use my nasal irrigation system?
You can easily purchase a nasal irrigation system over the counter at your local drugstore. It’s important to read all instructions before starting. If you are unsure how to use it you may want to talk with your ENT doctor first, who can show you how to use your neti pot safely and effectively.
In most cases, you will need to mix a special salt and baking soda mixture into distilled or sterilized water. Once the neti pot has been filled with the saline solution, tilt your head slightly and place the spout of the pot into the nostril and slowly begin to pour the solution into the nose (this should be done over a sink). While it might feel awkward at first, it should not be uncomfortable or hurt. Neti pots can be used for people of all ages, including children.
If you are dealing with a recurrent sinus infection or uncontrollable allergy symptoms, you must talk with a qualified ENT doctor to find out what’s going on and how to get your condition under control.