Posted by Nicole on February 18, 2014

We've all seen it; that strange little blue pot, sometimes made of plastic, usually in a bathroom. We've seen the commercials. We may have even seen someone use it, or try to tell us about how it can make such a big difference. The real question is, does nasal irrigation actually work, and can it help people who suffer from seasonal discomfort?

There's no getting around the fact that it looks, and even feels, ridiculous to pour water through one nostril and have it exit through the other, but those who have tried nasal irrigation and stuck with it have nothing but good things to say about the benefits. For seasonal discomfort sufferers, it may be one of the best ways to fight a runny or stuffy nose.

How it Works

Nasal irrigation typically uses a saline solution that is flushed through the nasal cavity. The most common type would be the neti pot or the bulb syringe, but there are also sprays and other devices that can be used. The unifying factor is that they all pass saline through the nasal cavity. The water and saline go into one nostril, and out the other.

When that action occurs, the idea is that the saline solution will effectively wash out any bad microscopic life that may have taken up residence inside of your nose. That also includes pollen, spores, and dander. An important thing to remember is that you should only use sterilized water for this, and that distilled water is preferable. Regular tap water can still have microbes inside of it, along with minerals and other substances which you don't want sitting inside of one of your more sensitive, and vulnerable, organs.

Why it Helps

Aside from the irritation that occurs whenever something unwanted shows up inside of your nostril, another problem that seasonal discomfort sufferers contend with is the thick mucus, which can cause stoppage inside of your nose. When that happens, you end up with a runny nose, or a completely stuffed up nose. It's actually very important for your mucus to be able to move around freely, but to also be consistent in its viscosity. The cilia inside of your nose work in coordination with that mucus to trap harmful particles before they get any further.

Nasal irrigation not only washes that protective layer clean, but it also helps to keep your mucus healthy and running smoothly.

Keeping it Clean

Before you run off to go get your own neti pot, keep in mind that hygiene is also extremely important. Washing any device that goes into or near your nose is key to keeping any bad bacteria away. Some devices can be run through the dishwasher, and others will need to be cleaned by hand. Store them in a dry, cool place, and you'll be on your way to a springtime you can actually enjoy.