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9) Sinus Problems?

Apart from the odd heavy head cold I never suffered too much from sinus problems until I moved to Florida.  The humidity, pollen, fungi and molds were too much for me and I developed sinus problems and infections.  Fellow sufferers will know how debilitating it can be.  The ever-present headaches.  The persistent post nasal drip akin to constantly swallowing a piece of string.   The constant feeling of stuffiness in one's head.   I tried all the usual remedies from folk remedies to doctor prescribed medicaments.  Nothing worked permanently. 


I had lived and worked in India and knew of the salt water nasal irrigation practice using a "Netti pot" followed by many people in that country.  However, I was never able to acquire one in the US.  Then along came personal computers followed by the Internet.  One day when researching sinusitis I came upon the Grossan Nasal Pulsatile Irrigator.  Basically it is a powered Netti pot.  Dr. Murray Grossan has taken a dental WaterPik and designed a nozzle for it that one can hold against one’s nostril.  Dr. Grossan is no snake oil selling quack - he is a medical doctor, is otolaryngology board certified and his product is FDA registered. 


If you have serious sinus problems you will know how difficult they are to treat.  Germs and viruses thrive in warm, dark and moist places such as the sinus cavities.  Apparently sinus infections are also hard to cure systemically because bones have a poor blood supply.  The irrigator works by suctioning and flushing out the mucous in the sinus cavities in which the germs live and multiply.  There is a link (click the picture of the Grossan Pulsatile Irrigator below) which will take you to a vendor of the Grossan Irrigator.  You will also see that this vendor, as indeed do all the others, sells a saline solution for use with the irrigator.  However, I and everyone else I have introduced to the irrigator, use ordinary common table salt – the kind you buy in a canister at the super market.  In the unlikely event you are allergic to the additives in table salt, you can use kosher or sea salt instead.   However, as well as being very much more expensive, kosher and sea salt take much longer to dissolve.  Also, when I first got the irrigator I used to boil fresh water in a kettle, but now I (and all the other irrigator users I know) just use luke warm water straight from the faucet.


This is how I use it.   I fill the container (a pint) with luke-warm tap water and dissolve half a teaspoonful of ordinary table salt into it.  When it has dissolved I blow my nose, put my head over the hand basin and pump it up one nostril and it drains from the other.  When I’ve used half the solution I switch off the machine, close the nostril I was pumping the solution through with my finger and “snort” any remaining solution from the other nostril.  Then I switch the machine back on and repeat the process with the other nostril.  When I, (and some others I’ve introduced to the Grossan Irrigator) first began using the irrigator, because my nose was blocked, I couldn’t get the solution up one nostril and down the other so I would put it to my nostril and then when it had filled, take it away.  The suction of the solution falling out would draw some mucous out with it.  After a few days my nostrils were clear enough to get the solution flowing up one nostril and out the other.   It all sounds rather gross, as indeed many of our bodily functions are, but if you want to relieve and maybe cure your sinus problems you must put aside any feelings of indelicacy and persevere.  When first doing nasal irrigation most people tend to gag a bit but one soon gets accustomed to it and it becomes quite easy within a matter of days.  Other than looking forward to it, after a week or so, it will become second nature.


I think it works by the venturi principle.   High school physics 101.  This is the principle where a gas or liquid flowing past an orifice induces a suction effect at the orifice.   I believe that as the solution journeys past the sinus opening it sucks out the mucous.   When sinus sufferers first use it they will be truly astonished by the amount of mucous that comes out.  One man I know who had suffered with sinus problems for many year (now cured) said that when he started nasal irrigation the mucous coming from his nose looked like bunches of small green grapes (I told you it sounds gross). 


I have also found this device to be very helpful in alleviating and lessening the duration the common cold.  When I got my first irrigator (I wore the first one out but it lasted about seven years or so) I would use it twice a day, on rising and retiring.  It took me about six or seven weeks to get relief but most people seem to get a significant improvement within two to three weeks.   Maybe it depends upon how long one has had the affliction?  I’d had my sinus problems for many years.   Now my sinusitis is cured I only use it as needed – basically once daily two or three times a week.  More frequently though if I feel I may be getting a cold or during allergy seasons.


This device really has improved my quality of life dramatically and the lives of ALL the other sinus sufferers I know who have used this product.  If you suffer from sinus or allergy problems then I hope it will help you too. 

Next page: Head colds.

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