Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Neti Stomp!

These allergies have been plaguing me for weeks but officially pushed me over the edge yesterday.  They are always bad in the spring and fall but this year has been terrible.  I've limited myself to 5 sentences of whining because nobody wants to read that, but I've hardly slept.  My daily walk has been stopped.  I can barely breathe when I walk outside (it feels like a cat has taken up residence on my face).  My eyes itch like crazy and the pressure on my head/sinuses is borderline explosion.  I've been nearly immobilized and forced to lay in bed in a near comatose state until 1:20pm reading a book (okay, so maybe that part wasn't so bad).  Then the allergies went ahead and hit way below the belt... they made my morning coffee taste funky.  

I've tried everything short of trapping myself in a air-purified giant hamster ball and rolling around life.  I've taken every herbal and medical means possible to get keep these awful things at bay.  I've been barely warding off a sinus infection / ear infection by faithfully (overdosing) on Claritin every morning and Benadryl (generic from Costco, of course) at night or when it gets too bad during the day. I can't use anything with a -D because of my high blood pressure.  I've suffered through nasal sprays.  I've eaten spoonfuls of local raw honey to help build my immunities to local pollen.  I've kept the house closed up with the air on.  I've cleaned every air filter and fan.  I shower all the pollen off.  Nothing is working but this current desperation brought me to a new level...

I dusted off the ceramic Neti Pot that I bought a couple of years back.  Let me start by saying that I've long suspected the Neti Pot to be akin to the Yeti, in that all sorts of seemingly mostly-sane people make claims but I'm yet to see it work myself.  My yoga guru, my husband, and my parents all love their Neti Pot.  Whenever allergies are bad, they pull it out and feel much better.  I on the other hand, have tried it many times.  Basically, if you are not familiar with Neti Pots, they are this little ceramic (or plastic) gravy boat that is specifically designed to pour salt water in one nostril, clean out nasal passages, and stream out the opposite nostril.  The goal is to pour 4oz of saltwater through each nostril but for me, the salt water bypasses the nostril, goes into my sinus cavity and then down my throat making life worse than I when started.  But this time, I was desperate.  A brain eating amoeba actually seemed like it might be an upgrade from what I was feeling (no disrespect intended to the 2 people who died of brain eating amoeba's last year).

As expected, I pulled up a couple of blogs and u-tube tutorials and got ready to try again.  The only new thing discovered is that you must mouth breathe.  One can neither hold one's breath nor breathe out through one's nose.  It also helps to relax all facial muscles (which I had not done; I tensed up like I was about to jump off the high dive).  Armed with that, I took another shower to loosen everything up (and the shower is the only place I can get relief).  I filled my Neti Pot with the appropriate amount of sea-salt and (distilled) warm water, and gave it another try.  

Not sure how to say this with out eliciting immediate screams of "OMG!!!  TMI!!!!" but all of a sudden, the saltwater came out the other nostril!  It was kind of a mess and I'm glad no one was there as witness*; it was slow at first but it didn't burn or hurt, just a little bit of pressure, but honestly, NOTHING compared with the sinus pressure I was already experiencing from the allergies (and better than the nasal sprays).  I switched sides and the other side did much better.  I went back to the first side and it had cleared itself out.

I was shocked when I was already done with the 8 oz of water, and best of all, I felt better!  For two hours I had ZERO sinus pressure.  I felt like a whole new woman.  Now my allergies are awful so the pressure came back; I did it again before bed and was able to sleep somewhat soundly (still with benadryl) but no longer did my head need to be propped up.  

In conclusion, I am a very happy camper right now.  I might just spend the day with my Neti Pot, holding hands and walking through the prarie.  Okay, maybe not that good.  I walked my DD to school this morning and wanted to scratch my eyes out by the time I got back to the house, but it is still a start!  and maybe next time if I start earlier in the season it will do even more good.

Just looking at this picture makes my ears itch

*like when someone makes my sister laugh too hard and she spews orange drink out her nose; this was witnessed with such regularity that a rule was actually instituted when we were kids that whomever made her laugh while she was drinking and hence occasioned milk, tang, or any other liquid to come out her nose was the one responsible for cleaning it up.  Ah the good old days.
And as a side note, if I've been super rude when I've run into you, I'm REALLY sorry.  It is probably nothing personal.  I am not myself at all.  I keep taking benadryl during the day to survive and I barely remember my own name.  These seasonal allergies are my curse, especially since I love the spring and fall and the outdoors so much.  I'm hoping my Neti Pot is finally the answer!

Obviously I'm neither a doctor nor do I play one on TV.  I don't know the long term health risks associated with using this particular alternative allergy relief.  It has been used for centuries by yogis with very few problems.  I've not tried it with my dear son who suffers from allergies.

Okay, and the title of this blog is the curse of children's programing.  My DD loved the Backyardigans as a little kid (I don't even know if it is still on TV).  There was this episode, that I didn't even particularly love, but they sang this song called the "Yeti Stomp".  Whenever I mention my Neti Pot, I can't help but change the lyrics...


  1. You have almost persuaded me to find one of these little pots! My allergies have been THROUGH the roof this year -- I too am ramped up on Claritin, Vitamin B and sometimes kids liquid allergy meds all at the same time -- this from a person who last took oral pills when I had to take prenatal vitamins! :)

    1. I hate pills too! The Neti Pot is a really strange feeling. My DH figured it out his first time (but his nose is not the made of the same delicate constitution as mine). It took me quite a few times but in the end, very worth it. I am not in misery! I bought mine at a health food store ($20?) but I think it was more expensive than the one on amazon. I recommend ceramic. The plastic ones felt really cheap. Good Luck!

    2. On Sunday, both Alec and I stated we felt as though our throats were closing in; by Monday neither of us could breath. Alec had the worst nose bleed on Monday night, so we broke down and started taking pills (generic from Costco, of course) I'm feeling a little better today but I'm in air-conditioning. According to Ragweed is the culprit now. Friday's forecast level is an 11.5 (out of 12)! Maybe I should give the Neti Pot a try!

    3. Highly recommend! Seriously better.

  2. I use the Nasal Rinse which is akin to your netti pot(not the simple sprays)and it has been miraculous for me! I needed a bit more "umph" than just the gravity of the netti pot. ;) I can no longer take antibiotics when I get a sinus the key is not to get one! However, I wanted to toss out a bit of info. I have been seeing several articles online about how important it is to use boiled water & not just tap water warmed up to reduce the risk of bacterial infections in the brain (the instructions do tell you this - but I'll admit I used to cheat). And to answer your does help to start earlier in the year. At the first sign of congestion, I'm all over it! It does take a bit to get used to having water float around in your sinuses for a few minutes, and learning to relax, etc., but it's amazing how something so simple can make you feel soooo much better. Glad you found it!

    1. Thanks Beck! Nice to have someone who has actually used it for awhile chime in! And yes, it says to boil the water first... and I've been cheating. I will try to be more diligent hence-forth! Happy Fall Hiking to you/us!

    2. Oh and Beck, antibiotics create havoc on my system! I will try almost anything (including pumping water up my nose) to avoid them at this point.