A Downside to Neti Pots

November 11, 2009 | By | Comments (0)

Ever since Oprah's good pal Dr. Mehmet Oz introduced millions of viewers to the Neti pot, the little nasal irrigation system, people have been sloshing warm water through their nostrils more than ever. The goal is to clear out pollutants, ease sinus and allergy congestion, and soothe irritated nasal passages.

While I'll admit it sounds like torture to me — I personally HATE having anything in my nose, especially liquid! — devotees claim it feels great, and helps keep them free of sinus pain and pressure.

But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing: researchers presenting at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology report that overuse of Neti pots can actually contribute to sinus infections. Apparently using the pot a few times a week during a particularly stuffed-up time is okay, but doing the nasal wash every day can actually backfire by tweaking the "immunological biochemistry of the nose." People who stopped the daily washes had a 62 percent decrease in sinus infections.

The bottom line: use the Neti pot in moderation and with care.