So you bought your Neti pot, and are armed with hopes of eliminating allergy symptoms. Undoubtedly you are asking yourself, “how do I use a neti pot?”.
You found yourself here, so I’ll take that as a yes. Luckily for you, I do have firsthand experience using a neti pot. I will admit that it is not pretty, nor will mastering this skill be easy.
Do, please, read this entire article before beginning, this is not a “learn as you go” process.
Be patient and diligent my friend, this is a learning experience worthy of your devotion. Allow me to kindly walk you through the monumental task of a saline nasal rinse. .
Selecting A Neti Pot
Choosing a neti pot for the first time, is a simple enough task. Purchasing a neti pot “starter kit” that is plastic, complete with solution mix packets is my recommendation.
It is perfect for the novice user, as it takes the guess work out of making your own saline solution.
Trust me when I say, you want the proper saline solution mix, otherwise you will set your sinuses aflame.
If you cannot find a complete neti pot kit, you may purchase the pot and solution separately. These items can be found in most drugstores, and major general merchandise retailers.
You must have you own personal neti pot. It is a shame that I feel the need to add this information, nevertheless, here it is.
A neti pot is not something that you can share, I do not care if it belongs, to your spouse.
DO NOT USE ANYONE ESLE’S NETI POT. In my eyes, it is the equivalent of borrowing a dirty diaper.
Ready The Neti
Even if your neti pot is brand new, you still need to sanitize it. I don’t know about you, but relying on the cleanliness of others is not my strong suit.
There are two methods to sanitizing your neti pot. One is using a solution of one part white vinegar, to three parts water.
Rinse the entire inside and outside surface of the neti pot and allow to air dry completely before use.
The second method to sanitizing is using 90% rubbing alcohol. Rinse the entire surface of the neti pot and let air dry completely before use.
Read While Drying
Now that you have sanitized your neti pot, it is a good time to read the directions for mixing the saline solution. You MUST use sterile water to mix the saline solution.
Tap water alone, is not sterile enough for this use. Distilled bottled water is ideal for mixing saline solution.
However, if distilled water is unavailable, you may boil tap water for 5 minutes and allow it to cool to body temperature before using. Do not attempt if the water still feels warm to the touch!
Mix sterile water and saline solution mix according to package instructions.
Relearning How to Breathe
Yes, you read the heading correctly.
To use a neti pot, you must relearn how to breathe. Breathing is an autonomous bodily function.
We do it automatically. It requires no conscious effort on your behalf, but when a neti pot is involved……
Being in control of how you breathe is a requirement!
Forget everything you taught about breathing. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth is dangerous while performing a nasal rinse.
You can aspirate on fluid and essentially drown yourself. There is no nice way to say it.
Practice for several minutes, breathing slowly and steadily, exclusively through your mouth. It sounds simple enough, but retraining your body to do what comes naturally is no easy task.
It is important to remain relaxed and ignore the instinctive panic that may come when breathing in this manner.
Think happy thoughts and do not fear! You are in control and can stop at any moment. Always keep that in mind!
Once you feel comfortable, with this breathing technique, feel free to proceed with your first neti pot experience.
Let’s Do This!
For the second time in this article, I am going to go out on a limb here and state the obvious.
To use a neti pot, you should be standing over a sink, toilet, or other receptacle that you don’t mind snot water draining into.
This is a rinse…. The water flows in one nostril and out of the other.
Standing over your basin of choice, tilt your head forward, and at an angle. (As if learning into a kiss.)
It may take a little practice to get your ideal head tilting position. Don’t fret, it will come naturally soon.
Start breathing through your mouth before you begin.
You will touch the tip of the neti pot to your nostril, covering it completely. Be careful not to “smush” it to your face.
The water will not flow freely if the neti pot is touching your septum, and it will also make cleaning your neti pot afterward more difficult.
Tilt the neti pot and allow the liquid to flow freely from the opposite nostril. Continue for as long as you are comfortable, or until the contents are empty.
Switch to the other nostril and complete the process.
Post Nasal Drip
After you complete the nasal rinse you may still feel saline solution inside your sinus cavities.
Whatever you do, resist the urge to blow your nose! In the traditional way, that is.
You may blow your nose to clear remaining fluid, but do not pinch your nostrils closed completely or it will force the liquid into your ear canal.
Blow your nose very, very, very gently. I suggest you do this while still standing over a sink. It will me messy….
I am about to give you the most valuable tidbit of information in this entire article. I wish someone was able to warn me about this, so consider yourself fortunate to get this tip.
Even hours after you have completed the nasal rinse, you may still have fluid remaining in your sinus cavities, that you were oblivious to.
Leaning forward with your head down, will make the remaining fluid come pouring out! I found this out in public, while leaning over to tie my shoes…. You’re welcome.
My suggestion is that after about 30 minutes (in the privacy of your own home) you replicate the same posture and clear things out on your own time.
Simply lean your head forward and bend over, gravity will do the rest. Be sure to do this with tissue on hand.
It will not be pretty.
Now that you have conquered your first nasal rinse, be sure to clean and thoroughly sanitize your neti pot.
Be sure to do this both before and after each and every use. I cannot stress the importance of this!