We had a great ENT (Ear, nose and throat doctor) in Alaska that introduced us to a sinus wash. The air in Alaska is very, very dry and that made us even more prone to sinus infections, since it tended to really dry out our nasal passages. Once we started using the sinus wash, it helped a lot.
There are several different types of sinus wash techniques. The Neti Pot has been around for a long time. It's not something we have tried, even though for a while, Frank just used a bowl of saline in the shower. Once I got used to the really weird feeling of squirting water up my nose, I prefer a sinus wash bottle. It is simple, quick and effective.
The first sinus wash bottle we bought had individual packets to mix in each application. When we realized the contents were salt and baking soda, we started mixing our own. Before we used the last packet, we measured the contents. A slightly heaping 1/4 teaspoon works just fine. So now we fill a little bowl with salt and add a pinch of baking soda.
The directions for use are printed on the bottle. This is our backup, just in case the original one finally bites the dust. We have been using it for nine years. After each use, we rinse it with hot water. One thing we learned was to leave the bottle sitting upright with the lid off between uses, just for air circulation. Periodically, it can be cleaned with a vinegar solution. When cleaning, a narrow tube cleaning brush works on the straw portion and a regular bottle brush works well on the bottle.
A friend asked me if we used sterile water when we mixed up the solution. Our ENT indicated tap water is fine for this procedure, even following sinus surgery. I use warm water as close to body temperature as possible. Cold water just doesn't seem to work as well.
After we started using the sinus wash we found out that a young lady we knew swore by them. She was a very active, athletic young woman that had serious allergies and asthma. Once she discovered and started using a sinus wash, she had fewer asthma attacks and was able to decrease the medication she was taking for these two issues. She found that washing out the irritants that kicked up her allergies not only helped alleviate some of those symptoms, but in turn, decreased her asthma reactions as well. I don't know if this would be the case for others since I do not have any serious allergies, or suffer from asthma, but I did think it was very interesting.
Using a sinus wash instead of pills or nose spray, is a little more work and not always convenient. It is definitely easier to swallow a pill or squirt a mist in my nose. But in our efforts to decrease our chemical intake, this is a low-tech, no medication option. And along those lines, when the time comes when we don't have easy access to the plethora of over the counter medications, this may be a very important option. If we have access to water and salt, we can treat allergies, sinus congestion, colds and any other ailment that comes along to decrease the air flow in our nasal passages. Is it a cure all? No. Is it a sustainable way to help increase our health without bombarding our bodies with yet more chemicals? Yes. Happy breathing.
Until next time - Fern