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LuckyGuy's avatar

What has been your experience with Saline nasal rinses like the Neti Sinus rinse?

Asked by LuckyGuy (38470points) August 26th, 2016

(First, let’s get his out of the way: It is a disgusting and uncomfortable procedure. There. I said it.)
I’ve been using the NeilMed premixed packets. One packet makes 250 ml (8 oz) but I use 2 packets in 400 ml because it gives me more rinse and more closely matches the “taste” of my gunk. I mix it in boiling water and let it sit covered for 42 minutes until it cools down to a temperature I can tolerate: 118F, 48C.
I use a squeeze bottle rather than the Neti pot so I can shoot it more forcefully (within limits) and get deeper. Oops! There goes First Grade!, Oops! There goes speech!
I have been doing this for a couple of years now and am always surprised at how much stuff, (snot, foreign matter: like grass and dirt, spray paint color, blood, even food bits!). How the heck does rice get up there, anyway???

So what do normal people, who don’t rinse, do about that junk? Does it just fester up there until you get a sinus infection? Does the body dissolve it somehow? Where does it go?
If you use the rinse do you find a lot of junk coming out? Do you use the squeeze bottle or the pot?
Am I doing long term damage by rinsing? Am I the only person on the planet who does this?

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20 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Well, you are not the only person in the world irrigating his sinuses!

I use a neti pot at times, but usually only when I am congested. I have mild pollen and grass allergies, so I use it in certain times of the year, but not everyday and not all year round. I also use it if I have a cold.

I speculate that your forcing it in “deeper” to your sinuses is probably dislodging more, including things in the back of your throat near your mouth. (I would bet a piece of rice got in there when you had a mishap, similar to milk coming out your nose while laughing at lunch in grade school!)

You are not doing any long term damage, since you are boiling the water and mixing ina saline solution, so you aren’t infecting your self.

jca's avatar

I blow my nose when I come out of the shower and everything is soft. That’s the extent of it for me.

BellaB's avatar

I prefer to use the baby saline spray. I don’t want it shooting back at high power.

It makes a huge difference in the number of sinus infections/bronchitis I get. I find I don’t need to use it as often when I swim a lot – all that water getting up my nose seems to do pretty much the same job.

My dad, who is in his 80’s is a devotee. He mixes his own saline rinse.

Seek's avatar

I own a Neti Pot, but I’ve never used it. Now I think I’m actually more afraid to know what’s going on in my head.

Seek's avatar

@LuckyGuy – How often do you use the thing?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Seek I use it in the morning after I shower and blow my nose well. (like @jca) Then I follow it up with the sinus rinse. Then I brush my teeth.
I do not do it before bed. I found that I occasionally wake up choking when I turn my head a certain way after rinsing.

When I shoot the stuff up my nose I immediately taste it in my mouth. Occasionally one passage will be blocked and the force of the squeeze bottle will free it up and start pouring the salty gunk into the back of my throat.

@zenvelo I am so worried about brain eating Amebas. That’s why I use boiling water and a slightly more concentrated mix. (I hope no Tardigrades (water bears) find their way into my water. They can withstand the heat of boiling water!.)
Does anyone know what those passages are called?

Seek's avatar

Every day?

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Seek Almost everyday. I might not have time or I might have spent the day in the office or lab with clean air so I don’t bother.
But If I am doing something dirty like digging or trimming trees or splitting wood I will rinse.

canidmajor's avatar

I tried a neti pot and made such a huge mess that I don’t anymore. I have pretty good sinuses that mostly take care of themselves, but when they need little extra help I irrigate with saline spray. That does a good job for me.

janbb's avatar

Some stones are better left unturned!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I just started using one based on a recommendation from another jelly. Not everyday but as an allergy sufferer it does help. I was skeptical at first.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Are you amazed (and appalled) at how much stuff comes out?
It’s shocking!

Oops! There goes my accordion lessons from 2nd grade!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Actually surprised by how little came out. I suppose the allergy induced snot tsunami does a good job of keeping all that clean.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me When you shoot it up one nostril, does the mix fly out of the other? Mine sure does. Also my ears pop! And I get squirting at the back of my throat.
And the dirt! Oh my! If I am using my chainsaw all kinds of stuff comes out when I rinse.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yes, sure I’m using it right. I need to try it when my allergies are not active and not blowing my nose every five seconds though.

Coloma's avatar

I’ve been using the sinus rinses Neil-Med and others for years due to my allergies and sinus issues. I have never had food or spray paint come out of my nose though. haha
Yes a saline rinse is good to remove irritants like dust, etc. I handle a lot of hay for horses and the fine hay particles aggravate my allergies.

Dust is a big issue and I live in a very dry and dusty climate at this time of year. Neil-Med is a 1–2x a day routine for me. Proper methodology is to bend over the sink and gently squirt the solution into your nostril and let it run out the other side, then switch sides and repeat. Then gently blow your nose to remove the extra water, congestion, etc.
You want to have a slow, steady, gentle stream not a power wash. lol

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Is there a medical need for you to do this? Or are you just fixated on cleaning out your sinuses? I’m in the ‘I blow my nose’ camp and leave it at that. I don’t have any sinus problems.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit I have allergies and over the years have had 2 sinus surgeries to remove nasal polyps. After the surgery I was told to use the rinse. I just kept doing it since it made breathing so much easier.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Fair enough then @LuckyGuy. I can see there is a medical reason for this activity. (Glad I don’t need to do this myself though).

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Again, I was a skeptic too but it does greatly help.

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