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Usually, when you think of irrigation, you think of plants being watered. In most cases, irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants as needed and at various intervals. But there’s a new type of irrigation in town and that is nasal irrigation.

What Exactly IS Nasal Irrigation?

So just what is nasal irrigation? Nasal irrigation is the process of pouring a typically warm, saltwater solution into your nostril in order to cleanse your nasal membrane. As the water flows through your nostrils, it will wash out excess mucus and allergens that have been trapped within your mucus membranes.

A popular tool for doing nasal irrigation is a “neti pot”. You can purchase a Neti pot at many drug stores or even online through Amazon. At these stores, many Neti pots are prepackages and sold with “Neti pot” solutions that you are able to easily mix with water.

Neti pot solution ingredients typically include sodium chloride & sodium bicarbonate mixture (pH balanced, natural ingredients, isotonic, preservative free & iodine free). These are essentially fancy words for what is commonly referred to as baking soda and salt. You might want to consider making a neti pot solution at home rather than paying for a prepackaged solution. Although it’s very important that you keep things bacteria-free and sanitary. Failure to do so may result in a horrible outcome.

Why it Could Help

It makes sense to keep your nose clean. Web MD noted that “Irrigation can benefit people who have sinus problems, nasal allergies, colds, and even flu symptoms.”

If the source of your allergies are pollutants and the various allergens that we are breathing in, it makes sense that removing them could improve allergy symptoms.

What Could Go Wrong?

Warning: This is a bit graphic and disturbing.

A Neti pot sounds like a good potential solution to curb allergy symptoms right? Well, consider the following. If the wrong bacteria or fungus hits your mucus membranes, you could end up in very bad shape. In fact, a woman ended up with a rare brain-eating amoeba which is thought to have potentially originated from a Neti pot.

“She had not been boiling water, using sterile water or using sterile saline. She had been using water that had been put through a filter and maybe it had been sitting there and somehow the amoeba from somewhere else got in there. So that’s what we suspect is the source of the infection,” Cobbs said. “This is so rare there have only been like 200 cases ever.”

Charles Cobbs, a neurosurgeon at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle
squirrel nose
Keep your nose clean. No really.

Is Nasal Irrigation for me?

It could be. For allergy sufferers, nasal irrigation or using a neti pot is likely worth trying to see if you can alleviate your symptoms. Be sure to use caution, keep things sanitary, and keep your nose clean.