Nasal irrigation, also called nasal lavage, involves flushing out the nasal passages with a warm saline solution to remove mucus and debris, and to help relieve symptoms of hay fever, colds and sinus problems. In Ayurveda, this method is known as jala neti, and the individual administers the saline solution with a neti pot. Neti pots can be made of ceramic, metal or plastic, and they have a long narrow spout. After filling the pot, the person inserts the tip of the spout into one nostril, positioning the head to allow the water to flow through the other nostril. Side effects are uncommon.
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Nasal Side Effects
Itchiness, sneezing, nasal irritation or nasal discomfort can be side effects of using a neti pot, according to InteliHealth. Burning sensations can occur if the saline solution is too hot, and adding too little or too much salt to the warm water also is more likely to cause irritation, according to eMedTV.
Some individuals experience nosebleeds as a side effect after using a neti pot, according to eMedTV. People who already get nosebleeds may find the problem worsening after using a neti pot, particularly if they apply the wrong concentration of saline solution or use the pot incorrectly.
Adding other substances to the neti pot can cause side effects. Using neti pots containing saline with 1 percent ephedrine, for instance, has led to brief episodes of heart palpitations and lightheadedness, according to InteliHealth, although this is uncommon. Adding aromatic salt rather than plain salt also may cause nasal discomfort.
Side Effects with Health Conditions
People with certain health conditions may experience side effects after using a neti pot. Cystic fibrosis patients in one study noted by InteliHealth experienced throat irritation, chest tightness and increased coughing, including coughing up blood. Individuals with an impaired gag reflex may be at risk of having fluid enter the lungs.
Ear and Eye Side Effects
If the saline solution reaches farther than the nasal passages, unpleasant side effects may result. It may lead to earache, dizziness and draining of the solution from the eyes, according to eMedTV.
People must clean the neti pot regularly to prevent bacterial infection from using the item. Additionally, the saline solution should be kept away from possible contaminants and made fresh each time, as recommended by eMedTV.