For many people, changing seasons means battling a stuffy or runny nose, frequent congestion, headaches and facial pain. The fact is, dealing with seasonal allergies isn't fun. Fortunately, you don't have to suffer all season long. You can get relief by using a neti pot to do a saline rinse or a nasal spray. However, it's important to know the difference between the two before you start a treatment so that you can choose the option that is right for you.
A neti pot is a container, resembling a small teapot, that is used to irrigate your nasal cavity. To use your neti pot, you'll fill it with a saline rinse solution, tilt your head over the sink, and pour the solution from the pot into one of your nostrils. The solution, along with any irritants, allergens, and mucus clogging your nasal cavity, will flow out of your other nostril into the sink. This gives you instant relief from built-up pressure and congestion, as well as a stuffy, running, or itchy nose.
Neti pots are popular options for people who prefer home remedies because the saline solution needed to irrigate your nasal cavity can be made at home. This also makes it a good option for allergy sufferers who are looking for a cost-effective treatment option — after the initial neti pot purchase, you only have to pay for the ingredients to make the saline solution: baking soda, iodine-free salt, and distilled water.
Many people prefer nasal sprays over neti pots, because they are easy to use. You simply:
- Blow your nose to remove as much mucus as possible.
- Remove the cap from the bottle and follow the instructions to prepare the spray — you'll do this by either shaking the bottle, priming the pump, or a combination of the two.
- Press one finger against the side of your nose lightly to block one nostril.
- Hold the spray bottle so that your thumb is positioned at the bottom of the bottle and the tip of the bottle with the hole is directly under your open nostril.
- Squeeze the pump while breathing in through the open nostril.
- Repeat the process with the other nostril.
There are three common nasal spray options: decongestant nasal spray, salt-water solution, or steroid nasal spray. If you're experiencing the beginning stages of a cold or sinus infection, using a decongestant nasal spray is a good option, but it shouldn't be used for more than a couple of days.
If you're looking for long-term allergy relief, ask your primary care physician if a steroid nasal spray is a better choice for you. Many people begin using a steroid nasal spray at the beginning of pollen season to offset their symptoms throughout allergy season.
Saltwater solutions, also known as saline nasal sprays, are a good option for people who prefer natural treatments, but don't want to use a neti pot. Saline nasal sprays don't contain medication, so they can be used as often as needed.
Don't suffer your way through allergy season. Get some relief by using a neti pot or a nasal spray. If you're don't know whether using a neti pot or a nasal spray would benefit you more, discuss your treatment options with your primary care physician.