Sinus rinsing, aka water torture

Sinus rinsing.  Yup, this will be some exciting stuff. Bet you are on the edge of your seat just filled with anticipation, aren’t you?  So, let’s talk getting rid of snot.

Have you ever been told to do a sinus rinse by your doctor?  Did you look at him and think he completely lost his mind and there is no way on this planet you will comply?  Or are you one of those people who are willing to try anything if it will make you feel better?  All of the above apply to me.

When I was first dealing with all the craziness of sinus infections and sinus surgeries, I was told to do sinus rinses regularly. I thought they were crazy and refused to comply.  And then my doctor got stern with me.  So I tried it.  OH. MY. GOD.  I hated it and I think I almost drowned!  I had water everywhere, except for where it should have been, which was up my nose.  But I’m no quitter and I tried again, this time with better results because I actually followed the directions.  Go figure. And I kept up with the rinsing and found that maybe they were on to something because it actually worked and I found some relief.  And (I’m warning you this is gross but…) there is something satisfying about seeing what was trapped in my head.  A kind of “So that’s why my head hurt so bad” kind of thing. And so I’m a believer.  And I’m always telling everyone else to try it and now I’m telling you.  Really, it works and is so much better for you than taking a bunch of medication which just masks your problem. Sinus rinsing decreases your symptoms naturally and safely. And that’s a winner in my book. And now my tips:

  • Make sure to always use distilled water. You can also use boiled tap water.  But never, EVER, use water straight from the tap.  So many germs and you don’t want to introduce those directly into your body.
  • Never use hot water.  I know this from experience.  It hurts.  Warm water is soothing but room temp is good too.  Cold?  Just don’t. Talk about brain freeze.  Again, trust me on this one.
  • Make sure you sanitize everything and often. You can just throw your neti-pot, sinus rinse bottle, etc. into the dishwasher. I usually just throw my stuff into a pot of water and boil and then air dry – just the same as you would do for bottle nipples.
  • Make sure to wash your hands BEFORE doing a sinus rinse.  You don’t want to contaminate your sanitized equipment. And this goes without saying, I hope, but use soap and make sure you really wash your hands.  Sing the ABC’s to yourself while you do it and then you’ll be sure your hands are clean.
  • Follow the directions included in your rinse kit of choice so you get optimal use.
  • Do NOT do a sinus rinse directly before bed. Make sure you allow enough time for your sinuses to properly drain.  Otherwise you are going to bed with warm fluid in your sinuses – a perfect breeding ground for infection.
  • Do NOT be alarmed when you bend over and water leaks out your nose.  I’ve had this happen hours after a rinse.  It happens. You’re not dying. I promise.
  • When travelling, I like to buy the pre-mixed rinses in a can (make sure it’s a rinse or irrigation and not a saline spray).  That way you aren’t dealing with finding ways to sanitize everything.  When we traveled to Ireland, I threw a bunch in my suitcase and didn’t have any problems.

While home sick last year, I saw an ad for and interesting nasal rinse contraption called Navage.  It’s a suction-based nasal rinse which takes all the mess and “yuck” out of sinus rinsing. I decided I had to have it and am so glad I bought it.   I love it and it was worth every penny.  Just pop the salt tab in, add water and let the machine do the work for you.  I can even walk around and talk while doing it but that kind of freaks my family out. When I’m finished, I just throw all the pieces into the dishwasher and I’m done.

When do I rinse?  All the time!  Why do I rinse?  Because it works! When I’m sick, I’ll do a sinus rinse 3-4 times per day! I’ll be honest, I’m supposed to do it daily and I don’t.  But I know my body and when I need to step it up. The moment I feel the slightest of sinus pressure or stuffiness, I’m on it.  It’s also great during allergy season or if I’ve been out doing yard work because I can flush the allergens right out.  Really, I swear by sinus rinsing and am sorry I hadn’t complied earlier.  Give it a shot. It’s really not bad and you might find you enjoy it.  And, I promise, you won’t drown.





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