Using a neti pot is a simple, natural way to combat allergies and nasal congestion, but sometimes you need a little extra power in your nasal irrigation. I just tried two sinus rinse products, which can easily be found in a drugstore. Afrin Pure Sea ($12) and NeilMed Sinus Rinse ($11.50).
The Afrin saline solution is made from purified sea water, from St. Malo Bay off the coast of northern France. The water is isotonically treated, making the concentration of salt similar to that of your body; it is also preservative free. The four-ounce bottle comes with a detachable applicator to be cleaned between uses. To use, press down on the applicator once the tip is positioned inside your nostril, while leaning over a sink or in the shower. I tried the medium stream, but it is available in gentle stream as well.
To learn about the NeilMed product and to see how the two compare,
The NeilMed is a little more do it yourself. You mix salt packets, 50 come with the nasal irrigator, which holds eight ounces of water. The salt packets are considered isotonic and are preservative free. You fill the irrigator with warm distilled water, mix in the salt, and then squeeze the bottle placed against a nostril, over a sink, to rinse your nasal passages.
I feel both these products work, but the NeilMed worked a bit better. Since you exert pressure on the bottle, you have more control over the force. The NeilMed is also more economical, because I believe you will get more applications per package. I found the press-with-cap of the Afrin a little awkward when using my left hand for my left nostril. On the plus side for the Afrin, you don't have to heat or distill your own water, which can be a pain. I used tap water with the NeilMed — who keeps distilled water on hand? While waiting for the water to heat up, I wasted a lot of water and live in a drought zone. The Afrin would also work well if you're traveling and are unsure of the availability or water quality in your destination.
The NeilMed is ultimately more eco friendly as well. You can buy extra packets of salt without purchasing another irrigating bottle. Plus, the water comes from your home or nearby instead of being shipped from France.
Have you tried either of the products? If so, share what you thoughts in the comments section below.