Pollen and cat fur are not my friends, and when I become so stuffed up I can't smell a thing, I turn to my neti pot. It looks like a little teapot. You fill it with warm salt water, place the spout in one nostril and as the water passes through your nasal passages and comes out the other nostril; it helps get rid of irritants and mucus so you can breathe easier. I know it sounds medieval, but it really works whether I'm stuffed up from smelling flowers or if I have a cold. Last Spring I was happy to hear that science backed up the use of a neti pot to relieve congestion, but I've got some bad news for my fellow neti pot lovers. A new study shows that long-term use of the neti pot can actually cause sinus problems. The study followed 68 people who used their neti for a year, and then took a break for a year. The rate of sinusitis actually dropped by 62 percent in the year that the participants stopped using the neti pot.
Researchers believe that the mucus in your nasal passages acts as a defense against infection, and flushing it away disrupts your body's immune function. They recommend that neti pots be used every once in a while to relieve congestion, but should not be used daily for an extended period of time. If you have issues with constantly being stuffed up, see your doctor so they can help figure out the cause of your congestion and how to treat it.
If you've never heard of a neti pot and want to see how it's used, check out a how-to video when you read more.