My son has a long history of ear infections that will hopefully end soon after his upcoming tonsil and adenoid removal surgery. The main source of his ear infection is his constantly runny nose. We don’t quite know how it began. I have a theory: a connection between his first and only flu shot at 6-months old, but I cannot prove it. Once his nose starts to run, it ends up with an ear infection and does not go away until, at least, a round of antibiotics if not two.
The trigger is neither cold nor the flu. We have seen an allergy specialist; it’s not allergy either. For the last few years, this nightmare would start in the fall and end in spring. This year, it got even worse and it started in the middle of the summer. Right now, we are in the middle of a round of antibiotics. It is possible that it could be a bacterial or viral sinus issue but its diagnosis and treatment has been really difficult.
Despite the misery, one method we’ve tried in order to stop his nasal discharge getting into his middle the ear and turning into an infection is Neti Pot. My son really likes to use it. If you ask whether or not it worked, I’ll be honest and say, even though it helped clear his congestion and helped him sleep better at nights, it didn’t prevent the ear infection. That being said, his ear infection became so chronic that a special treatment by an osteopath, who was recommended by a friend who had a similar problem and found relief, didn’t work on him either. After 4-5 visits and still having an ear infection, he threw in the towel and told us he could not ask us to continue the treatment that obviously is not working.
For us, the main benefit was my son preferred Neti Pot over saline sprays. He found tilting his head backward to drop the solution very uncomfortable and hated when saline solutions went back down his throat. On the other hand, he didn’t mind irrigating his nasal passages with Neti Pot, a.k.a. “Aladdin’s lamp” twice a day, one in the morning, one before bedtime.
I had purchased this Neti Pot for my own sinus problem. Sinusitis is a genetic problem running in our family. The kind of sinus infection where, once it gets congested, the pain is so bad that you want to bang your head against the wall until the pressure is relieved. Every nasal drop I use makes me uncomfortable and, after a short feeling on decongestion, leads to even more severe inflammation. Neti Pot, on the other hand, came as a lifesaver and relieved symptoms of early sinusitis onset. I decided to try it with my son and, strangely enough, he really liked using it.
With Neti Pot, the saline solution (Himalayan salt dissolved in filtered water) moves only around the nasal passages on the front of the face. Nothing goes towards your throat or runs backwards – once you figure out properly using it. We tried ocean spray for children, regular OTC saline solution sprays. When saline solution goes back into the throat it becomes very irritating. With Neti Pot, because water swishes around the nasal and sinus cavities, instead of providing temporary decongestion, it actually cleans the nose and helps inflammation go down.
Three very important rules to keep in mind when using Neti Pot nasal irrigation are:
- Always use distilled (or previously boiled) water to irrigate your nasal passages
- Always use a proper Neti Pot Salt to make your salt solution and follow the measurement instructions on the package. Generally, mix ratio is 1 teaspoon salt to 16 o (~0.5 lt.) distilled water.
- Heat the water up to lukewarm temperature before using Neti Pot
My son is 5 years old. With a little help, he can use Neti Pot by himself. You can watch how Neti Pot is used in this video. Of course, not everyone’s kid is the same. I don’t know if there is any real scientific reason or explanation as to why he doesn’t like regular nasal drops or sprays but likes this, or if it’s just his own personal preference. At least, it has helped him sleep with a clear nose and throat at nights. It had relieved my sinusitis as well.
I recommend Neti Pot both to adults and children as an alternative nasal and sinus cleansing method to relieve congestion, sinusitis and allergy symptoms alike.