by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

There are not many natural ways to treat or prevent nasal allergies effectively, but using a neti pot for nasal irrigation is one of them. And it’s safe.

Okay, sure … a brain-eating amoeba has killed a few unfortunate people after they used contaminated tap water.

And, yes, some who use the neti pot actually have more sinus infections.

But … you can prevent both of those problems with two simple steps.

How to Use a Neti Pot Safely

Allergies Vs. Brain-Eating Amoebas: How to Use a Neti Pot Safely | The Survival DoctorStep #1. Clean the pot thoroughly before each use. You’ll need a tube brush or something similar to make sure you clean inside that thin spout.

Step #2. For irrigation, use distilled water, or boil your tap water for about a minute (and give it time to cool off) to kill any of those amoebas. Sure, it’s so easy to use water straight from the tap, and those brain-eating amoebas are really rare. But if you were to get the infection, you’d die. There isn’t a cure. Why take a chance?

How to Use a Neti Pot Effectively
  • Add around ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to every cup or so of water. You don’t have to use either, but the salt may clean better, and the baking soda is a buffer to limit any irritating stinging.
  • If you’d rather, use your favorite commercial, premixed solution instead.
  • Irrigate each nostril daily if you’re having allergy symptoms or every other day if you’re using it for prevention. A great time to do it is during your shower.
Why a Neti Pot?

It’s so simple to use. That’s all. Next week, I’ll teach you an advanced nasal irrigation technique that cleans out your sinuses even more thoroughly. For that, you only need a cup—no neti pot. But it takes more practice.

How Nasal Irrigation Works

Again, simple. It washes away the pollens. It’s also good for sinus infections and colds.

What Else Can You Do for Allergies?

There are plenty of over-the-counter antihistamines that work well. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may be the strongest, but it tends to cause drowsiness. Sometimes it’s just a trial and error thing until you find the one that works best for you.

Since antihistamines may take a few days to work their best, start them early on. If you want details, check this article out.

And then there are prescription nasal sprays, steroid tablets and shots, and allergy testing and shots.

But one simple measure that can help quite a bit is to close your windows in your bedroom. Of course for some of you, that’ll make it too hot. But if you can, test it out for a few nights. It could make a considerable difference.

One other thing you might consider is the herb butterbur.

What has helped you? Have you tried the neti pot? Did it help?

(Subscribe to updates below.)