Stick a Teapot up Your Nose to Clear Your Sinuses

Tried it?      Yes

Liked it?      thumbs-side-clipart41

I was visiting my family one day when, at the table, my five-year-old nephew suddenly made this inhuman rumbling noise like he was channeling a cement mixer, only it was coming from his sinuses. I turned to him and said, “Dude—you should get a Neti pot.”

“What’s that?” he said.

“Well, it’s a little teapot that you put salt water in and you stick it up your nose and pour it into one nostril and it comes out the other end and then you won’t make those insane noises.”

My sister looked in the direction of the inappropriate dinner conversation and didn’t seem surprised that it was coming from me. “Well,” she said, stifling her laughter, “that’s attractive!”

“Well, maybe I’ll try it out and let you know how it goes,” I said half-jokingly.

That weekend, Karma laid one on me. I got the flu.

A few days later, I found myself stuffed up, feverish, and staring blearily at a sale flyer in front of a wall of cold remedies at the Pharma Plus. Swaying slightly, my eyes focused suddenly on a 20% off ad for NeilMed sinus products. Neti pot? Sale? Mmkay. I added it to my haphazard collection of multiple flavours of Neo Citran and Nyquil, not coherent enough to wryly notice that everything in my basket began with the letter N, and proceeded to the checkout.

I decided to wait for the fever to break before sticking anything up my nose, so it wasn’t until the next week before I opened the package. I added 1 cup of lukewarm, previously boiled water from the kettle to the blue plastic pot, poured in a packet of solution, tipped my head forward and slightly to one side over the sink, stuck the pot up my nose, breathed through my mouth, and waited for the miracle to happen.

All in all, it wasn’t too terrible an experience. Weird, yes—terrible, not so much.

What I can’t stress enough, however, is that if you aren’t used to consciously breathing through your mouth for long periods of time without feeling the need to swallow, practice first. I didn’t, and some of the solution went in my throat—which had the subsequent effect of my being convinced, after blowing my nose, that everything smelled like salt for the rest of the night. But that, at least, meant that I could smell—in my case, well into the next day!

So I can’t exactly say that I liked it. I can only attest to the fact that it worked; to be perfectly honest, I haven’t felt the need to use it since. That’s not to say that it’s that magical—I just don’t have chronic sinus issues like some do, and I was likely at the tail end of the congestion phase of my cold.

For those of you who are interested in giving it a try, Neilmeds’s site is offering $3 coupons for both Canadian and US customers right now and, in the box I bought, there was a fax-in coupon for a free sinus rinse bottle.

For those of you who aren’t, well… have fun watching this video that illustrates why putting anything but saline solution up your nose is not a good idea…

Update: I have the flu again and tried the neti pot again yesterday. Do not, I repeat, do not double the amount of solution (to create a hypertonic effect). I haven’t had a nosebleed for twelve years until yesterday—and today. I was able to breathe and produced a lot of drainage (yum), but it wasn’t worth the scariness of blood pouring out of my nose intermittently. I’ll put it off until tomorrow, but I’ll stick to the one packet from now on.

3 Responses to “Stick a Teapot up Your Nose to Clear Your Sinuses”

  1. 1 Barry Lipton
    August 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    I was reading your Neti pot entry. I have been iriigating my sinuses for years without a store bought Neti pot.
    I put a little salt not so much as to feel it burn in a small glass and mix in some warm water.I use the tube from a Bic pen. I put the pen up one nostril and put my finger over the other and snort in the salt water, then spit it out.
    Then I switch nostrils.
    Cheap and easy


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