Friday February 26, 2016
This week I've seen a number of people with red watery eyes, stuffed up or runny noses. It looks like allergies are kicking in early. So if you haven't made this acquaintance yet, I'd like to introduce you to your new best friend for Spring - the neti pot.
It is hard to appreciate the glory of Spring when every time you step out the door your eyes are watering or a cascade of sneezes starts.
One way to relieve allergies without medication is by using a neti pot. What is that? It is a small, ceramic little teapot designed for flushing your nasal passages. They can be found at health markets for around $14.
How it works is you dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of regular salt into one cup (its capacity) distilled or filtered water only and rinse. (For health safety, never use tap water which may contain parasites you would not want to introduce to the inside of your head.) Follow the directions on the box. Tilting your head slightly is sufficient to get the water to flow out the other nostril (without having it flow elsewhere).
This is a great thing to do after working in the yard or if you breathe in lots of dust. The sooner you can rinse after exposure, the better your chance of inhibiting the histamine response.
For many people, the automatic response to a runny nose is to take allergy medications to stop it. Although quite messy and inconvenient, all that flowing mucus is your body's way of trying to flush out the irritants.
While medications dry out the mucous membranes to stop that flow, they don't necessarily kill bacteria that can be gathering in the sinuses. As a result, it is not uncommon for sinus infections to follow.
If you need or want to take allergy medication, supplementing it by rinsing your nasal passages will help keep them moist and healthy.
I've spoken about the benefits of tea tree before. It is an antibacterial essential oil (you can find it where you get the neti pot) that can be added to the salt water to kill bacteria in your sinuses. It is important to NOTE: ONLY 1 DROP is used for the whole cup of water. Otherwise, it will burn - not a fun experience! You can flush your nasal passages a few times and cover the remainder in the pot if you want to do several rinses. When you're complete, be sure to disinfect the neti pot by running it through the dishwasher before you use it again.
By using the neti pot (with just the salt water), I have eliminated what used to be 6 weeks straight on allergy medications to virtually to zero.
The bonus is in reducing the need for taking antibiotics for minor health issues, your body won't be resistant to them if you really need them for something major.
It's great to know there are simple preventive ways to stay healthy that can also diminish the need for medications with potential side effects.
Easy breathing and a sweet smelling Spring to you,