So many people suffer from late season allergies, and there are some obvious ways to treat them: by taking over the counter antihistamines, such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin, etc OR by using some alternative treatments. There is one alternative treatment that people SWEAR by and claim to get rid of their allergies altogether. The main one? Neti pots. I really cannot go anywhere without hearing about them and how amazing they are, so I finally decided to look into the science behind it and the theories surrounding why they work so well.
How to they work?
It is a nasal irrigation, you mix lukewarm water with usually a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, so that the solution is pH balanced and doesn’t irritate your nasal canals, fill the pot, and bend your head to the side and pour the contents of the pot (using gravity as a guide) into one nasal passage, and it comes out the other! The theory is that it clears out the nasal passages and decreases your allergic reactions.
Is there any science behind Neti pots?
There have actually been a few pretty decent studies around the use of neti pots. Most of them support the use of neti pots because they decrease antibiotic days overall for people who get frequent sinus infections. As well, patients report less discomfort from seasonal allergies and decreased amounts of hay fever reaction and sinus infections. Many HCPs (Healthcare Practitioners) suggest the use of neti pots to patients that have severe hay fever or chronic sinus infections. One rather large study did find that chronic use of neti pots actually increased the rates of sinus infections, so they are suggested to be used to treat seasonal allergies or for use to treat symptoms of a sinus infection but you should not use them chronically, only when you have symptoms that you want to clear.
Despite the research being a little contradictory, the outcome is the same: neti pots do decrease symptoms related to sinus infections and nasal reactions to seasonal allergies. Just like anything else, don’t overdo it, and only treat the symptoms you want to clear. As well, make sure that you clean your neti pots, I can only imagine that if you are sticking something up your nose, that has allergens or bacteria on/in it, then putting it up your other nasal passage, and using the same pot later, there would be cross contamination. You can clean it using warm soapy water OR most are safe to throw in the dishwasher to get a good cleaning.
So, keep it clean, and for those of you who love to neti pot, keep on neti’ing but use some restraint!
Yours in Good Health