The other day I posted about using a neti pot and the benefits I have gotten from that. There is an alternative which is similar, but a little easier to use called the NeilMed system. The concept is the same as the neti pot- it is a salt water rinse of the nose. It uses pressurized salt water instead of relying on gravity like the neti pot does.
I like the neti pot and ususally stick to using that system. I do like to occasionally use the NeilMed either for a change of pace, or when the pressurized flow is helpful, like when I am a little bit congested.
The other reason I use the NeilMed is for my children. For anyone younger or anyone who has struggled trying the neti pot this is a great alternative. I can help use the NeilMed squeeze bottle on them when it would be much harder to try to help get all the angles right and tip the pot just right.
NeilMed squeeze bottles are available at many drug stores. I have found them locally at WalGreens, CVS, and places like Target. They sell them in adult and pediatric sizes. When you initially purchase a bottle it usually comes with a supply of little packets of pre-measued salt to make a proper salt solution. There are different packets available for adult, adult extra-salty, and pediatric to match your needs and type of bottle. Once you have used up your supply of included salt packets they sell refil kits so you can just buy the salt without the bottle. I have found that the pediatric refills are harder to find and had to go to a specialty local pharmacy to find them.
Here again, it is much cheaper to buy salt in bulk and measure it out yourself. I do find that my kids don’t like the “sea” quality of the sea salt I buy, and the packets are very convenient for them, so I do buy the pediatric refills. The packets are premeasured and easy to use and the salt is a special blend and seems to be very mild.
The process is very similar to the neti pot. Start by running the hot water until it is warm, but not hot. You can either put the salt in first or water in first, but get them both into the bottle. Screw the cap on tight, put your finger over the hole and turn the bottle upside down to mix the salt, and then you are ready to go. Tilt your head slightly to the left and insert the bottle tip into the right nostril. Now squeeze firmly – I’ve found that slow and steady squeezing works the best. You can either use the entire bottle up and repeat for the other side, or switch sides when the bottle is about half full.
Be very careful of using too much squeeze pressure. You can easily force water out towards your ears – especially if you are a little congested – and this is very unpleasant.
NeilMed includes a nice detailed pamphlet along with their products. It is a good read to get more information on the benefits of salt water rinsing of the nose. Also of note is that they sell a pretty decent plastic net pot like the one pictured here which is a good way to try that route out.