Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sinus Enema Anyone?

Recently I got a cold. It's the second cold I've gotten this year. I think it's because I started two small reading groups with students. We share a round table. They sneeze, and I sometimes feel the breeze. (That can't be good.)

My colds used to progress into bronchitis. I seem to have halted that progression, but these last two colds have progressed into sinus infections. My body eventually fights these off, but the healing process is painfully slow: three to four weeks.

Some of my co-workers just say, "Do the drugs, Don."

But I'm a bit stubborn. I'm saving anti-bacterial medications for when I really need them.

One co-worker quietly recommended a Neti Pot. What's a Neti Pot? It's the equivalent of an sinus enema.

WebMD puts it this way, "If you're one of the millions of Americans dealing with chronic sinus problems, you know how miserable the headaches, facial pain, and clogged nasal passages can be. In their search for relief, many sinus sufferers have turned to nasal saline irrigation, a therapy that uses a salt and water solution to flush out the nasal cavity."

"Although several methods of nasal irrigation exist, one of the most popular is the Neti pot -- a ceramic pot that looks like a cross between a small teapot and Aladdin's magic lamp. Although nasal irrigation using the Neti pot has been around for centuries, its use is on the rise in the U.S., thanks to an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show and a fair amount of news coverage. The Neti pot originally comes from the Ayurvedic/yoga medical tradition."

Being fairly miserable, I decided to build my own Neti pot before I bought one. eHow told me how. I fashioned on out of a mid-sized, empty mustard squirt bottle. The nozzle-to-nose fit was not quite optimum, but it worked well enough to win me over.

I order a Neti pot called Rhino Horn via It looks like this:

I've been using my Blue Rhino Horn for about two weeks. My sinus infection is 95% gone. Woo-hoo!

My nasal passages have never felt so clear. Once my infection is completely gone, I'll probably use the Rhino for general maintenance. It's great to have a tool to use once allergy season strikes me next October.

It's amazing what you can learn from people if you just listen to them. My co-worker quietly mentioned the Neti pot, and I'm so glad she did.

(Someone else mentioned ear candling, but that turned out to be a bad idea. I wasted a bit of money, but stopped short of using them. I should have done my research before I made the purchase. Oh well.)

So if you have sinus problems, I recommend a sinus enema, aka nasal saline irrigation. Whatever you call it... it rocks!

(I almost forgot. There are YouTube videos that show you how to use the Neti pot. I just found this one... note the wall behind them!)


  1. Glad that you're feeling better Don. My mom suffered from sinus infections when I was a kid. I always felt so bad for her. She did try the over the counter methods. I get a sinus headache every few months. Thanks for this information. It may turn out to be very helpful for me.

  2. @September: This is a great one for kids too. A bit uncomfortable on the first try, but a great alternative for a stuffy head. Better than a hot shower or cup of tea. Better even than a humidifier. Cheaper too.

  3. yikes, that thing looks dangerous!

    Glad it worked, though.

  4. I'll keep it in mind! I used to get sinus infections but since I started taking flu shots each year in the autumn I haven't had any cold that has gone that bad.

  5. @Chase: And the one I'm showing is one of the better looking models. Nice color though, eh?

    @Dawn: I hardly ever get the flu, but if they soften the cold/sinus cycle, that may push me towards getting a flu shot. Thanks for the tip.

  6. I too suffer from sinus issues. Maybe this is something I should try! Thanks, Don

  7. @Deedee: It's been several days since I wrote this post, and my nose is completely clear now. Gargling probably seems strange to a non-gargler. Same with the Neti pot... until you try it, it sounds strange, but results are everything!

  8. Well........


    But I'm glad it worked for you! :-)

  9. @Saphron: Often, when I tell a joke, people laugh. Other times I'm satisfied with a "Tssss." That said, "Gross," works for me. ;-)

  10. Hey Don. Hope all is well. Just wanted to let you know that you won another "Write with Pictures" prompt! Way to go!

  11. @september: woohoo! (My Memories were auto-biographical -- dragonflies and soup... the stuff of confused dreams.

  12. @Dennis: Thanks for this link:

    It warns of over-doing it with sinus irrigation. There is such a thing as good mucus! ;-)

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