Nostrils and liquids generally don’t mix. Add a kid to the equation and you’re messing with a volatile cocktail. Somewhere early on in the evolutionary process, we lost our gills and developed a very effective and lifesaving drowning reflex. It’s an innate reaction akin to sneezing and coughing. It is something even newborn humans posses. Which makes Neti Pots (products designed to flush the nasal passage with saline solution) all the more curious.
Science gave us Phenylephrine, one of the scary sounding active ingredients used in the majority of today’s over the counter nasal decongestants geared toward children. Nature, on the other hand, gave us the nasal cavity (above), which allows liquids to flow, like magic, into one nostril and out the other (any excess liquid caught in the back of the throat can be spit out). Neti Pots use the presence of the latter to allow pharma-weary consumers to avoid the former. Call it cleansing, irrigating or “douching”, as Oprah did, Neti use – formally Jala Neti – is a practice that takes a bit of getting used to.
And Neti Pots aren’t just for adults. Though my son won’t let me get within ten feet of his person holding a Neti, there are various web accounts (such as here, here, and here) that trumpet the benefits of using a Neti Pot with kids. And though it may look scary, professionals and mom experts agree that using the Neti Pot with your child is a safe, natural way to, “flush out excess mucus and debris while moistening the mucus membranes of the nose and sinuses.” One mom, interviewed for a Times review of the products, even found a way to make using it fun for her toddler.
“Last year when he had a sinus infection, instead of putting him on antibiotics as the doctor recommended, I had him try the neti pot,” she said in the interview. “He was 3. I told him, ‘Hold your breath, just like in swimming lessons,’ and he tried it and it worked. He felt so much better, and his infection went away quickly on its own.” If this mom’s ‘swimming lesson’ doesn’t sit well with you, watch this YouTube demonstration.
Neti Pots retail for $5.00 to $19.00. And the new Eco Neti Pot™ (above), “made from petroleum-free, nontoxic, natural bioplastic,” is a great choice for kids. It costs $13.95 and is available at the Himalayan Institute.
*lead photo from alwayscandian’s flickr