Friday, August 14, 2015

Let's Talk About Weird Pseudo-Medical Practices

If, at any time in the future, you find your allergies acting up and you want to do something delightfully strange, I'd like to suggest you squirt water through one nostril, let it swish around your sinuses a bit, then run it out the opposite nostril.  It's a great trick for making your kids squeal, and I can only assume would be a hit at parties.

Here's what mine looks like, complete with picture of happy Dr. Mehta.

My mom was at one of her gatherings of people who delight in the suffering of others (she calls it a "nurse conference"), and a nurse from an allergist's office was lauding the benefits of nasal irrigation systems.  Mom then tried it to help ward off her standard post-mowing headache, and it worked.  Then, because she doesn't believe in hiding her medical light under a bushel, she bought one for me.  I was a little worried when she first told me about it, because instead of the above little squeeze bottle, I had previously only seen the Neti Pot, which makes it look less like you're rinsing pollen and dander and junk out of your system and more like you have a disturbing teapot fetish, like you'll stick that spout into just about any body orifice if these blasted people would go away.

To be honest, the first time I used it, it didn't go that great.  I mean, I managed to get it into one side of my nose and the water did run out the other, and I had the side perk of completely freaking Caedmon out, but it gave me a thumping sinus headache for the rest of the day.  It was immediately obvious what I'd done wrong:  I hadn't heated the water enough.  It turns out what feels lukewarm to the skin on the inside of my wrist feels pretty frigid when it's sluicing through my sinuses, akin to the feeling of getting pool water up your nose.  Not pleasant.

The second time, the pollen count had been high for days, my nose itched incessantly, and I'd spent a good portion of the day sneezing.  This time I made sure the water was nice and warm before squirting it into my face (there's really no getting around the fact that this whole thing is pretty weird), and sure enough:  No post-rinse headache and the itching and sneezing abated for the remainder of the day.  I've also found that, after each time I use Squeezy, I'm able to breathe much more easily through my nose.  I have chronically swollen nasal passages (Dear lifelong allergies:  I hate you), but for about thirty minutes after irrigation, I can inhale and exhale and even inhale again if I'm feeling extravagant, all through my nose, all the way I assume normal people can all the time.  Such luxury!

While the packaging does say "Daily Nasal Hygiene," this isn't something I'd do every day.  I don't even wash my hair every day, let alone the inside of my nose; I use it as needed, instead, when my nose is about to itch itself off my face, or after I've been breathing in mass amounts of pet dander, or when the demon ragweed is swirling through the air and making people miserable.  

Have any of you tried a Neti Pot?  Any kind of nasal irrigation system?  On a scale of 1 to 10, just how ridiculous did you feel the first time you used it?


  1. I have used that very product which you pictured and described here. It was a very private endeavor. More private than childbirth. More private than the act that eventually leads to childbirth. I let NO ONE BUT GOD observe me administering it. Even God looked away.

    I used it every day, after my horrible no-good very bad dreadful sinus infection, and it worked quite well at keeping such infections away.

    But eventually I stopped - it took quite a while to administer (yes, getting the water the correct temperature was very important - believe me, too cold is better than too hot!) and it was cumbersome to manage while traveling. It kind of never stopped feeling ridiculous to use the bottle, but maybe that's because I never gave it a fondness-inducing name such as Squeezy.

    My mother swears by it. She has had worse sinus problems than I have.

  2. Funny :-) I have also used that exact product. I'm not sure I really experienced much improvement (my nose seems to get so dry in the winter), however what eventually stopped me was reading about how dangerous it was to use it with well water. I couldn't see buying distilled water to do this, so I was just using the water coming out of our faucet. Our well is deep, and the water looks perfectly clear, but apparently you can get some sort of brain-eating bacteria from nasal cleansing with well water. That scared me good!

  3. I've never used a neti pot, and honestly would be a little freaked out to give it a go. However, I've heard so many people say it's cured their nasal problems. That's pretty tempting during times when allergies are bad (mine get TERRIBLE in May).

  4. I use this and love it. I use previously boiled water to avoid the brain-eating amoeba, and heat it for 23 seconds, 25 in the winter. The only thing I don't like is having to buy a new bottle every few months. I have seen a picture of a bottle that is reusable and would last longer, but I can't find it anywhere. I'm considering going to the teapot to avoid having to buy another bottle, but it's just so awkward looking.


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