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Neti Pot Danger Warnings – Ear Infections and Nasal Drip

Updated on December 14, 2011

Living in the modern age with all its technology and pollution, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that so many of us suffer from allergies which cause sinus problems including rhinitis.

Whilst many of us usually turn to the medicine cabinet for a remedy for these, others seek out alternative therapies; one of the most popular of which is the neti pot. Whilst this is an ancient remedy, used for centuries, there are a few neti pot danger signs that it is important to be aware of.

The pot itself is used for the cleaning of the nasal passage; a tradition that originated in ancient India and is a Hatha Yoga technique which is still in use today. In more modern times however, this technique, which is also called ‘saline nasal irrigation’ or SNI is used as a remedy for sinus conditions and has also been effectively used to remedy hay fever by flushing out pollen or dust particles, but instead of water being used, a saline solution is used in its place.

The neti pot itself can be made from any material including plastic, although ceramic is one of the more popular. Of course, it is important when buying one to consider the material used in its production as a chipped pot could cause damage or at least great discomfort. There are also modern equivalents which can be bought from the chemists but bear no resemblance to an actual pot but perform the same function, often through the use of a syringe type device.

Whilst the effectiveness of using a neti pot to irrigate the nasal passage has been proved to be successful, it is generally considered that its usage should be short term only and it is also important to be aware of any neti pot danger signs when they occur.

One of the biggest dangers in using one of these pots to treat an infection is the potential spreading of any infection present in the nasal passage to the ear. This usually happens when an incorrect position is assumed during its use, which causes the solution, along with any infections picked up along the way to drain into the ear cavity. To avoid this, you should ensure that whilst using the pot, you are leaning over a sink or something that can capture the saline solution that will pass through your nose. Whilst doing this, also turn your head sideways a little. This simple tip should prevent any solution entering the ear cavity and causing a painful ear infection.

Make Sure to Use The Correct Saline Solution

Make sure also that the saline solution you use is the correct strength and uses 5mg of salt to every 500ml of water which should itself be luke warm so as not to burn the delicate membrane of the nasal passage or to cause discomfort as it passes through. Sea salt should be used for this procedure as much commercial salt is iodised and can have anti caking agents added which can cause problems. Also make sure that the sea salt is fully dissolved to avoid any salt crystals causing irritation. It may also be worth considering using mineral water instead of tap water to eliminate any impurities which may be found in the tap water too although there has been no evidence of this so it is down to your personal feelings on this matter.

If you are planning on buying a neti pot, the best quality ones tend to be made either of ceramic or stainless steel as these are more resistant to bacteria. All though should be thoroughly cleaned after use to prevent bacterial build up which may be introduced into the nose next time otherwise.

One danger of using a neti pot is that you may find that you have nasal drip a little later on. This often occurs when the water during the process is forced through by blowing the nose forcefully. Although more patience is required, it is much better to let gravity take its course and remain over the sink until the saline solution has fully left the nasal passage and any blowing of the nose should be done gently. Blowing of the nose too can cause the watered down mucus fluid to enter the ear cavity and cause ear infections that can be very painful indeed.

Another quite obvious neti pot danger is damage to the nasal membrane caused by the spout itself. Be careful when using the pot and especially when it first enters your nostril. Be sure to insert the spout gently and under no circumstances force it into your nostril as this can have serious consequences. Also if you discover any sharp edges on the spout, just throw it away and buy another one; it simply isn’t worth the risk.


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