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mucus & allergen reduction --nasal irrigation, gargline, steam inhaler

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I've tried several methods of reducing mucus and here are my results:

Nasal irrigation using saline and bicarbonate solution, using plastic bottle nasal irrigators purchased at drugstores-- this is very efficient. Fast once a method is developed.

Nasal irrigation using pulsating Waterpik irrigator--this is slightly better than plastic bottle irrigators, but slightly more difficult to use.

Vick's steam inhaler--this is more penetrating than nasal irrigation. Time consuming.

Gargling--less effective than any of the above.

Recommended method--

Use the plastic bottle nasal irrigation first. Then, steam inhale. Nasal irrigation removes most of the mucus, and then steam removes more.

Timing on the use of these is very important. The nostrils have 2 to 3 hrs open and close cycles; so depending on which nostril has more mucus, try to perform these when that nostril is more open. Use a nasal strip with these to increase the opening size.

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hey i made a mistake out of desperation and used an otc nasal spray that was given to me by a well meaning relative last week, (and i didnt read the label, use only twice in 24 hours). turns out it was Afrin by "another name". Ended up totally blocked up, bloody nose etc. Miserable. I broke my own rule, NEVER USE OTC pharmatecuticals unless you are familiar with them an KNOW what the side effects, active ingredients are. I use organic homeopathic meds ONLY, except for this time, and im paying dearly for it. However, even with blockage so intense i couldnt eat easily, used a saliene rinse, mucinex (OTC i trust) and eucyptalus essential oils in a vaporizer, and the combo EVENTUALLY opend me back up. geesh.

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Don't use the Waterpik if your sinuses are so full that they are stopped up. If you do, make sure it is on a low pressure. You CAN cause water to go behind your eardrum as the whole area of sinuses and ears are very close together. I have done this before; I could feel the water squirt in behind my ear and then I ended up with lots of dizziness and about 8 hours of serious headache.

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Now, a week later....

Additionally, use a nasal strip with the irrigation and steamer--this gets rid of more. Tightly close the lips while using the steamer to prevent steam burns.

While I'm bored to death using the steamer, turned on the CDs--I guess it's my required time to learn how to listen as well.

One comment-- all the above, except gargling, work better than just using a neti pot.

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steam inhalation: if you're close enough to feel burned (breathing through mouth) I'd just back away a little from the steam source. Being able to breathe through mouth as well as nose brings in more total flow, gives larynx more moisture, though I realize that the need here is more in nasal area. Eucalyptus can help nose/sinuses a lot but it is a little irritating to larynx. Experienced people like readers here can be strategic on which is greater problem that day.

Yes pressure from waterpik type devices can get into eustachian tubes (passages between back of nose/upper throat and the middle ear). Using very pure (distilled) water would decrease risk of infection in case some does get in.

OTC products I recommend include simple saline spray (Ocean is one common brand, plenty of others), and for that (unfortunate) super-dry cracked bloody-nose side effect (some folks get this just from dry winter air), there are some moisturizing spray gels that I've found helpful & otherwise harmless.

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Joanna,

I use the Ocean brand saline sprays as well, except for the aerosol style. That particular one feels like spraying lighter fluid up your nose and lighting it with a match ! Perhaps it's just my experience....

However, you peaked my interest with the spray "GEL", and am wondering if you can post any particular brand name(s). I would appreciate your recommendation. It sounds like it would be more effective, and last longer.

As I live in a rural area, I haven't noticed such a product, and as such, there's a very limited inventory of products.

Thank you...

Adolph

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ew, Joanna, you made a very important point on the distilled water, I was told NEVER to use tap water for neti pot or other forms of sinus irrigation, or for that matter for steam inhalation. Puts all those wonderful chemicals the government provides to us right in the most sensitive part of our vocal mechanism.....but also, there are camps that differ on whether distilled water or bottled water (filtered by Reverse osmosis and distillation) is better :) I think either one of those would be better than the tap water....Chen, being that you are in houston, DONT use the tap water. The flouride and etc. concentrations in the water near the gulf coast are higher than in the north....

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I've tried to solve the water issue for a long time--it's always a trade-off of time.

Plastic jug water-- this even smells of petrochemicals. Expensive

Glass water bottle-- I have several of these and fill these at reverse osmosis stations-- heavy to carry.

Boil water--takes time.

Distilled water-- tastes strange and comes in plastic bottles.

Ocean saline solutions and Walgreens compatible-- I believe these are inadequate for the following reasons:

1. Saline spray comfort the mucus, but my belief is that it provides inadequate quantities to flush out in-nose allergies, and rid mucus. A medical specialist would know better.

2. A bottle of saline spray costs usually over $2-- one would have to spend over $2 just to get enough liquid to accomplish the flushing purpose.

Neti pot--doesn't provide pressure to help flush out allergens and mucus. Squeeze bottle nasal irrigators are better.

Carbon filters-- Pur, Dupont, others-- I use pitchers, but believe a home-installed system works probably best.

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I think the saline gel I've used is brand name "Ayr" or "Ayrs".

And I'd agree that using saline spray (from little spray bottle) has a different purpose than irrigation. The spray just moistens inside of the nose, the inch or 2 behind nostrils (AKA "anterior nares" in anatomy books). In dry weather -- including winter -- this is the area that gets most dried out & uncomfortable. Irrigation (neti or deeper spray/syringe) is for cleansing the area behind nose (precise jargon would be from "posterior nares" into "naso-pharynx"), mainly so that the passages from sinuses can easily drain their normal gunk. I'm not sure if high pressure cleansing gets more stuff out or irritates the tissues...Bodies ARE naturally moist and messy, and sometimes over-cleansing just triggers MORE lubricating gunk. But each of us has different instrument and different tolerance.

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