House dust mite allergy sufferers will probably all suffer from headaches at some point in their lives. Chronic sufferers will possibly wake up every single morning still feeling like their head is full of cotton wool and not at all refreshed from their night’s sleep. This may be linked to inflammation and agitation in the sinuses.
One of the most common techniques used to clear the sinuses is the neti pot. For those of you unfamiliar with the neti pot, it is a small, traditional clay pot with a long spout used to direct water directly into the nasal passages, and totally clean out the sinuses. The idea is to remove the nasal passages of blockages, allergens and bacteria and it is a technique used throughout the world.
In India, for example, it’s common to use a neti pot every morning, or even just to inhale saline from a cupped hand. Neti pots are linked to the yoga tradition and are thought to bring an element of clarity and wellbeing to the user. At Dustblog however, as nice as they sound, we’re not interested in the tradition, we’re interested in whether they work.
Do neti pots work to relieve dust allergy symptoms?
My results with a neti pot are varied, but they should certainly be a key part of the toolkit for any dust mite, hayfever or nasal allergy sufferer. If you suffer from an airborne allergy you are probably in pain or discomfort because;
- Your sinuses are inflamed by the allergen, be it pollen or dust
- Your sinuses are blocked by the mucus which forms as a result.
You are therefore using a neti pot to wash away the allergen, and to try and clear the mucus from pressing against the sinuses, and to allow you to breathe more clearly. It is also thought that washing a warm, saline solution around the delicate fibres of the sinuses has a calming effect, and helps the sinuses to produce their own mucus and get everything flowing again. So they say!
I initially used the neti pot during a bout of acute sinusitis. My eyes were inflamed, my breathing was non existant and my head was about to explode. Over the counter medication was having no effect whatsoever and I needed to get the mucus out somehow. So I bough a neti pot, made my saline solution, and poured it in.
The first experience with a neti pot, if you’re really suffering, can be euphoric. A river of mucus came flowing forth out of my nostrils, giving me instant relief from the pressure and relieving my headache symptoms. It take a while to get used to the feeling of running water basically flowing throughout your head, but I personally find it quite pleasant and instantly useful.
However; Great caution must always be used when trying out a neti pot. First of all a sterile, saline solution must always be used to avoid infection. There are horror stories out there of people using non-sterile water and contracting hideous diseases. Whilst I’m sure the risk is low, caution is always, always advised. Secondly the neti pot isn’t a magic wand. If you have a sinus infection, whilst it can help treat the symptoms, it will not cure the infection. Secondly, it’s very difficult to reach anywhere other than the nasal sinuses, when often the pressure might be behind the eyes, or above.
I still use a neti pot when my symptoms are at their very worse, but I don’t consider it a daily solution to allergy sufferers. Whilst the risk of infection can be low, I’m sure there are people out there not taking care and actually making their symptoms worse.
I recommend buying a neti pot, keeping it immaculate and sterile, and breaking it out if all else fails. There are modern neti pots on the market now, such as the sinurinse, if you want to try something more modern. It’s a perfectly good product, and recommended by the medical profession apparently. However you’re kind of just shooting water straight up your nostrils and don’t get the natural flow of water you get from a traditional neti pot, which is part of the charm.
A traditional clay or plastic pot, with your own natural rock salt is perfectly sufficient. Make sure you boil your water, stir in enough natural salt and let it cool to a safe temperature, then pour away. If you haven’ tried it before, just be prepared for what comes out!