Saline Rinses & Neti-Pots Work for Flu & Cold

It's generally not advisable to put things in your nose, from marbles to remote controls to illegal substances.

But there is one thing doctors--and Oprah--have been telling us to shove up nostrils: A saline rinse when you're sick.

Right now, it's flu season, and activity is high. Or maybe you're like the rest of us, and someone in your house has a runny nose.

A saline rinse or a neti pot is a totally economical and holistic way to deal with snot. Saline rinses can make you feel better whenever your nose is runny due to flu, cold, allergies or sinus infections, explains Dr. Jordan S. Josephson, director of the New York Nasal and Sinus Center.

They can relieve sore throats, moisturize irritated nasal cavities and loosen dry mucus.


Here are Dr. Josephson's tips for actually doing a saline rinse:

  • Carry saline spray like Goldberger's saline or AYR spray in your purse or pocket. Or make your own solution with these instructions.
  • Spray a few drops in each nostril multiple times per day.
  • As you spray saline into your nose, sniff in.
  • Breathe in and out through your nose slowly after each spray saline.

So what's this thing called a neti pot? It's a Ayurvedic nasal irrigation system that looks like a little teapot. I've seen them at all the major drug stores. Here's how Dr. Josephson says to use it:

  • Fill the neti pot with salt and water according to the directions it came with. Different companies sell packets with the right amount of salt. Shake the salt and water to mix the solution properly.
  • Lean your head over the sink with your head bent down so you are looking directly into the basin. Proper head position allows solution to flow through the nose by gravity.
  • Holding the neti pot in your right hand (or your left hand), gently insert the spout into your right nostril so that it forms a comfortable seal. Breathe through an open mouth.
  • Rotate your head so that the right nostril is directly above the left nostril. The forehead should remain higher than the chin. Raise the handle of the pot so the solution enters the nostril. In a few moments, the solution will begin to drain out of the left nostril into the sink. Do not inhale or snort the solution into the nose. Breath through your mouth.
  • When the pot is empty, exhale through both nostrils one at a time while sealing the other to clear them of excess mucus and solution.
  • Then do toe touches with your head down and then turn your head from side to side. Stand up and again blow your nose out over the sink one at a time while compressing the other nostril. When you stand up you may feel a rush of saline as it frees itself from the deep recesses of your sinuses. Gently blow your nose into a tissue.
  •  Repeat the procedure on the other side.

Also, check out these 6 Holistic Remedies I Use on My Kids. Have you ever tried a saline rinse or a neti pot? What do you think?

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