Nasal irrigation systems such as a Neti pot are a natural treatment for short-term and long-term sinus infections and allergies. With these devices, a user sprays or pours a mixture of salt and water into one nostril, through the nasal cavity and out the other nostril. “You are cleaning the irritant out of the nose, whether it is an allergen or bacteria or some type of infection,” says Erica E. Gibson, MD, family practice physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Usually, it is irritating the first few times you do it, but it becomes more tolerable with time.”
If you decide to use one of these devices, make sure your equipment is sterilized and the water is purified or boiled. “Otherwise, you can get ill if the water is contaminated,” says Gibson. “The machine you are using also needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.”
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