The flu season has arrived with a vengeance. Officials all around the country are reporting high levels of outbreaks. Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, has declared a state of emergency for the state of New York over the flu. Boston’s mayor, Thomas Menino, has done the same for his city. This should underscore the need for everyone to get a flu shot. Flu shots are not a foolproof way to keep from getting the flu though. As more and more people look for ways to keep from getting the flu, including washing their hands more and staying clear of other people’s germs, there is one way illness-prevention method that is often overlooked and underutilized: the sinus rinse.
Sinus rinses are especially popular in India, where they are done as a part of the daily grooming routine by a large portion of the popular. Sinus rinses are done with the help of a “Neti Pot,” which essentially pours water into one side of the nasal cavity and comes out the other side. Everything in the nasal cavity, including mucous and any allergens that might have been inhaled, are cleaned out and leave the person breathing easier. Sinus rinses are helpful in preventing many illnesses, including sinus infections, and can speed up the healing process once an individual has already taken ill.
There are two main pieces of equipment that people can choose from when deciding to try a sinus rinse. The Neti Pot (which looks like a gravy boat and can be plastic or ceramic) or what amounts to a small squeeze bottle that an athlete might use for drinking water. Both items are widely available at most chain pharmacies and will clearly be labeled as items to be used in a sinus rinse. The only other items that are necessary is a little bit of salt and lukewarm water (hot and cold water are not recommended).
The process of a sinus rinse is not pretty or particularly fun to be sure. However, the end result is gratifying. To begin, mix a pinch of salt (be careful to limit the amount of salt you put into the water) with the lukewarm water in the Neti Pot or squeeze bottle. Stand over the sink and tilt your head to one side, open your mouth and slowly pour the water into your high nostril (if you tilt to the left, pour the water into your right nostril). Keep your mouth open so that you can breathe. The water, and everything else in your nasal cavity, will come out the lower nostril. Softly blow your nose as you finish. Repeat the process for the other side.
As mentioned, this is not a pretty process. You can expect some mucous and other flecks of allergens (dirt, lint, etc.) to come out. The water will wash it all away though. If you use too much salt or hot/cold water, your nose will burn and your eyes will water. Basically, it is like eating some really spicy food, only you have water washing it all away. As you get better at it, you will get more used to it and will not suffer these side effects. Once you are finished, you will have a feeling that is similar to what you feel like after you have been swimming in a pool. Your breathing should feel completely clear and clean too.
This is the season for various illnesses, notably the flu, which is hitting the country very hard right now. One overlooked method of prevention is a sinus rinse. Sinus rinses can be used to prevent illness, fight ongoing illness, and help you feel better in general. Give it a shot and see you feel afterward.
Baby on board
Beyonce will be giving Blue Ivy a sibling in the near future.Get the details