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What Are the Different Neti Pot Dangers?

Irritation may be caused using either too much or too little salt when using a neti pot.
Using salt fortified with iodine in a neti pot can cause irritation.
Some common side effects of using a neti pot can include a runny nose, sneezing and nasal irritation.
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  • Written By: Robyn Clark
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 August 2014
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Neti pots are an alternative therapy that involves irrigating the nasal passages with a warm saline solution in order to thin mucus and flush out irritants and allergens. There are very few serious neti pot dangers if the device is used as directed. Research on neti pots has found them to be both safe and effective in reducing the symptoms of nasal conditions like sinusitis and allergies. Consumers should read all manufacturer instructions and warnings before using a neti pot, as there is the potential for more serious neti pot dangers if the device is used improperly.

The most commonly reported side effects are mild and include stinging and burning sensations, watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and slight irritation. Beginners are more likely to have difficulty using the device, and are therefore more likely to experience side effects. Some new users report general discomfort, with the sensation of water flushing through the nasal passages. Most users become more comfortable with using a neti pot with experience. It can also be helpful to search for and watch online video tutorials on using a neti pot before trying it for the first time.

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The correct posture for using a neti pot is to lean forward in a comfortable position with the head tilted slightly to one side. Leaning too far forward while using a neti pot can cause the solution to enter the frontal sinus cavity and cause a temporary sinus headache. It is also possible for the saline solution to run down the back of the throat, and to cause minor throat irritation. Keeping the mouth open, and breathing through the mouth while using a neti pot, will help prevent the solution from going down the throat.

One of the more common neti pot dangers involves using the incorrect solution for rinsing. Neti pot manufactures typically recommend buying a mixing solution rather than making one at home, as it can be difficult to get the right concentration of salt and to keep the solution sterile. There are recipes available for mixing a solution, and it is important to follow the directions carefully and to use sterile water and non-iodized salt. Using plain water without salt will cause an immediate and severe burning sensation. Irritation can also be caused by using too much salt, too little salt, salt with iodine, and sea salts or other salts that might have impurities.

The ideal temperature for the rinsing solution is lukewarm. A rinsing solution that is too cold or too warm can be uncomfortable to use and cause irritation. Tap water can be boiled to use in making a rinse, but the water must be allowed to cool before use to prevent burns.

The pouring spout of a neti pot can irritate the nostrils if it is too big; pots are available with different spout sizes. Minor skin irritation around the nostril areas can result with repeated use. In rare cases, individuals can be allergic to the material the neti pot is made from, and should discontinue use of that device. Care should also be exercised when inserting the pouring spout, to avoid jabbing the inside of the nose.

Serious neti pot dangers can be a result of improper usage or using the device if it is contraindicated by other conditions. Neti pots can harbor bacteria and other infection-causing agents, and they must be thoroughly cleaned before each use and properly dried before storage. Allergens or contaminants in the rinsing solution also have the potential to cause an infection. Nasal irrigation therapy is contraindicated if the nasal passage is completely blocked or if the individual has had recent nosebleeds or nasal bleeding. Individuals who have an ear infection, blocked ear tubes, or who have had ear surgery should not use a neti pot, as the irrigation process can increase the pressure in the ear.

Neti pots are not recommended for use in children under the age of five. Parents or guardians should supervise and assist older children when using a neti pot to ensure the proper technique is used. Patients should consult a physician or other licensed health care professional if they are concerned about neti pot dangers, or if there are any questions about the condition being treated or the use of nasal irrigation therapy. A physician should also be consulted if the condition doesn’t respond to treatment or gets worse.

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Discuss this Article

Pippinwhite
Post 1

I've always been a little leery of the neti pot, even though I have friends who swear by it.

I don't even use nasal spray, simply because the thought of the solution draining down into the back of my throat makes me nauseated. So the idea of a neti pot is not a really pleasant one, to start with.

I’m also afraid of infection in case some of the liquid got trapped in a bad place and I couldn’t get rid of it. Bad thought.

If I were sufficiently congested and had someone who could show me how to use the pot safely, I might consider it.

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