NBC Right Now- If you've ever felt a cold coming on or had nasal and sinus congestion you've probably considered using a neti pot or some sort of saline sinus rinse. But if used improperly, it could be harmful to you.

Local family physician, Dr. Vaughan Bulfinch recommends adhering to box instructions and using the neti pot as an alternative to relieve sinus pressure. 

"The neti pot is a great way of taking saline and dumping it into nasal passages to clear them out," says Dr. Bulfinch.

With every natural remedy there are risks, the biggest thing to remember with a saline nasal rinse is to use distilled water or boiling tap water. 

The CDC reports that several infections, some fatal, have been reported by people who use contaminated tap water when rinsing their nose out. 

CDC's recommendation for what water to use: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/sinus-rinsing.html

  • Boil: Use water that has been previously boiled for at least 3 minutes and left to cool.
  • Buy: Use water with a label specifying that it contains distilled or sterile water.

To use a neti pot:

  1. Use distilled or sterile water. If using tap or filtered water, boil for several minutes and let cool until lukewarm.
  2. Tilt your head sideways over the sink and place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril.
  3. Breathing through your open mouth, gently pour the saltwater solution into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Rinse the irrigation device after each use with similarly distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered water and leave open to air-dry.

Always make sure to disinfect your nasal rinse after each use as per box instructions. 

Alternatives to nasal rinses include pseudoephedrine or sudafed nasal decongestants. Both help give symptom relief and dry things up. Above all Dr.Bulfinch's recommendation with an alternative is time. Give your body at least a week to recuperate and heal. 

For any questions before use always refr to the box's instructions or ask your doctor.  

If you've ever felt a cold coming on or had nasal and sinus congestion you've probably considered using a neti pot or some sort of saline sinus rinse.

Multi-Media Journalist

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