You may simply have a case of sinusitis as opposed to a sinus infection. Sinusitis is sinus inflammation due to allergies, irritation, inflammation or other associated factors like nasal polyps. It can be caused by a bacterial infection but is uncommon if your symptoms are long lasting.
There are many symptoms of sinusitis, which include:
- Feeling of nasal obstruction
- Facial pain or pressure
- Nasal discharge
- Decreased sense of smell
The best way to determine whether or not you have a sinus infection is to see your doctor. If it is a sinus infection, it can easily be treated. Sinusitis can be more difficult to treat unfortunately and may involve the use of decongestants (e.g. Sudafed), antihistamines (e.g. Claritin), inhaled steroids (e.g. Flonase) or nasal irrigation.
Neti Pots For Sinusitis
Neti pots are commonly used devices for nasal irrigation and have been shown to improve symptoms by clearing mucus and irritants. Nasal irrigation from Neti pots are well tolerated but may cause minor side effects such as:
- Local irritation
Many of the side effects can be mitigated by adjusting the amount of salt used for irrigation.
How To Make A Neti Pot Irrigation Solution For Sinusitis
You can buy pre-mixed solutions or packets for mixing in water for irrigation. In addition, you can make your own irrigation solution if you wish. One common recipe is:
- One teaspoon of un-iodized salt
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- 2 to 3 cups (480 mL to 720 mL) lukewarm water (not hot).
It is extremely important to use only distilled, or boiled and cooled tap water to reduce the risk of infection. If using tap water, it should be boiled for 3 to 5 minutes to kill germs. Over time, and based on tolerability, you can increase the amount of salt in the mixture to reduce swelling even more. Conversely, if the solution stings when you use it, reduce the amount of salt used.
How Do You Use A Neti Pot?
- Lean directly over a sink, tub or water basin.
- Rotate your head so that one ear is facing the sink and one ear is facing toward the ceiling.
- Insert the spout tip of the Neti pot into the top of one nostril, forming a seal.
- Tip the neti pot up so that the salt water enters your nostril. Be sure to breath through your mouth.
- Over time, the irrigation solution will begin to drain out of your other nostril.
- Continue until the pot is empty, stand up and blow your nose into a tissue.
- Refill the pot and repeat these steps for the other nostril.
- Clean the neti pot after each use.