Time to Break Out Your Neti Pot! December 01 2014

It’s mid-November, which means we’re well into flu season (the CDC considers October through April to be the most common period to catch the flu each year, with January and February being peak times of flu). There are many possible reasons for this nationwide trend in weakened immunity and increased susceptibility to infection. These include lower levels of vitamin D due to lack of sunlight, more time spent indoors in recycled air, greater intake of sugar and junk food during the holidays, and increased stress due to the holidays and end-of-year financial strain.

Regardless of the reason for flu susceptibility, one of the most important things you can do on a regular basis to prevent the flu is use your neti pot! Here are a few things you should know:

  • A neti pot is a round pot (usually ceramic) with a spout that is used to irrigate the sinuses.
  • Neti pots are especially helpful for people with allergies, sinus issues, and frequent travelers, but can be used by everyone during flu season.
  • Nasal irrigation with a neti pot helps to moisten nasal tissues (dry, cracked nasal tissue makes you more susceptible to flu) while flushing out dirt, bacteria, and viruses that may be trapped in nasal hair or mucus.
  • To use the neti pot, simply follow the instructions in the booklet that came with your neti pot or on the company’s website. All neti pots are similar, so if you aren’t sure just look up “neti pot” on YouTube to find instructional videos.
  • Use a salt-based solution in your neti pot—never use straight water or it will really sting! The solution I like best is to put a rounded half teaspoon of coarse Celtic salt (or one-fourth teaspoon of fine table salt if that’s what you have on hand) along with a generous pinch of xylitol (this is optional but adds to the bacteria-fighting power of the rinse) into my neti pot. Then I fill it with warm tap water and rinse—I usually do this while I’m in the shower anyway for convenience. If your tap water is questionable, simply heat filtered water to body temperature on the stove.
  • I usually suggest that people do this once or twice weekly during flu season; three or four times weekly if the flu is making its way through their school, work place, or circle of friends; and five to seven times weekly if someone in their household is sick.

Conveniently, Marilyn Farms has neti pots available for purchase in white and blue. They make a great holiday gift, although you may want to stick to giving neti pots to your close friends or family members who will understand why you’re giving a gift that involves running water up their nose!

Jessica Stamm
Jessica is a scientist at heart, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Hood College. Desiring a career in health and wellness, she graduated with a Master’s in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport with subsequent board certification as a CCN. She works with nutritional clients nationwide, teaches corporate wellness programs, and produces educational materials for several nutrition and food-related companies.