Used correctly, neti pots can be highly effective
Facing the allergy season, people who annually endure the dreaded nasal symptoms – sniffling, sneezing, and itching – are willing to try just about anything to stem the flood.
The sinus-cleansing neti pot is a popular avenue for relief, but it’s an acquired form of therapy and one that requires a certain amount of care. Concerns arose last year about the safety of neti pots, the nasal irrigation and cleansing tool that originated in India, but those issues are easily addressed.
“Most allergists or ear, nose, and throat doctors have few concerns about neti pots,” says UT Southwestern Medical Center otolaryngologist Dr. Bradley Marple, who not only is a faculty member but also is an allergy sufferer and a regular neti pot user.
Neti pots are a cost-effective way to address the things that make life miserable for people who live with allergies. The product’s safety was brought into question after users cleaned their pots with straight tap water.
To ensure effective cleaning, the pot should be sanitized only with a saline solution made with either distilled water or cooled water that has been boiled for one minute. In either case, one cup of water should be mixed with one teaspoon of a 3-to-1 mixture of iodide-free salt (such as pickling or canning salt, not table salt) and baking soda. After cleaning, empty the neti pot and allow it to air-dry.
Once in a while, perhaps at the end of the allergy season, you can wash a neti pot in the dishwasher or with soap and water. Again, allow it to completely air-dry before storing it.
Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/earnosethroat to learn more about clinical services in otolaryngology at UT Southwestern.
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