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People with sinus infections or allergies may benefit from using a neti pot, a device used to flush out the nasal passages with a saline solution. Using the pot, the solution is poured into one nostril and comes out the other; the saline flow flushes out mucus, allergens, and irritants. Side effects that have been reported with this device include nasal irritation and nosebleeds.
Neti pots are small pots shaped much like a teapot or an Aladdin's lamp. They are used to flush out the nasal passages. An important part of Ayurvedic medicine, neti pots have become quite popular in Western cultures as well. Although often used as part of daily hygiene (much like brushing the teeth), neti pots are frequently used to treat various nasal or sinus conditions, such as allergies, sinus infections, or the common cold.
(Click Neti Pot Benefits for more information about possible neti pot uses.)
A neti pot works by flushing out the nasal cavity with a saline solution (salt water). Using the pot, the solution is poured into one nostril and comes out the other. The saline flow flushes out mucus and allergens or irritants. It is also thought that the saline may also reduce swelling of the lining of the nasal and sinus cavities and may also improve the function of tiny, hair-like structures (called cilia) that line the nasal and sinus cavities, helping the cilia to more effectively remove bacteria, mucus, allergens, or irritants.
Although there is not much evidence that one form of nasal irrigation (such as using a neti pot) is more effective than other methods, nasal irrigation in general may possibly be effective for a number of conditions (see Do Neti Pots Work? for more information).