If you already have a neti pot and know how great it is, well, consider this a reminder and skip this post! However, if you don't even know what a neti pot is, read on!
This is a neti pot. It looks a little bit like Aladdin's magical lamp, doesn't it? You fill it with warm, salted water and pour it through your nostrils, as in, IN one nostril and OUT the other one. I know it sounds creepy but trust me, it is fantastic!
Neti pots have been used for thousands of years in India. I first learned about them 10 years ago in my yoga teacher training, while learning about various cleansing techniques. It is great if you live in a dry climate or if your house gets dry due to central heating or air conditioning. It restores moisture to your mucous membranes. It's also great for getting rid of excess mucous in your sinuses. It helps to wash out pollens and pollutants and even germs that could cause colds or flus.
I used to have dry, cracked nostrils in the winter time, which would bleed and scab and really hurt! I don't have that problem any more. Also, any time I feel a cold coming on, or even if I just think I've been exposed to a lot of germs, I use my neti pot every few hours for a day or two and it seems to do the trick. I'm not saying you'll never get sick; I'm just saying that it may help ward off sickness, or perhaps shorten the duration.
I confess that I some times put my neti pot away and, well... out of sight, out of mind! If I leave it on the counter where I can see it, I use it every day.
Some more specific directions: Prepare your saline solution by adding salt to warm water, using about 1/4 tsp salt if it is very fine, or up to 1/2 tsp salt if it is coarse, to 8 oz of warm water. You don't have to buy any special salt, but don't use iodized salt. I try to use a natural sea salt. You can also buy "special" solutions for your neti pot, ranging from a simple saline solution to those that contain herbal blends. I've never tried any of them, but I can assure that a simple homemade solution works just fine. Make sure your water is a comfortable temperature, not too cold and not too hot.
Okay, so pour the warm salt water into your neti pot. Lean your head over the sink sideways, with one nostril up and one down:-) Place the spout right into your nostril and start pouring. You will experience about 1 second of very slight discomfort as your nostril fills up and then it should start flowing out the other side. You can breathe comfortably through your mouth. If the salt water is dripping down your throat, you need to lower your forehead. If it doesn't flow out the other nostril, just adjust your head slightly, tipping backward or forward. When you are done, remove the neti pot and then blow vigorously out your nose. Repeat on the other side.
There is a You Tube video showing how to use the neti pot. You can buy one for about $10-$12 at health food stores and at lots of places online.
Just consider this a public service announcement. I am not a doctor, and I don't play one on tv!