How to hack looming sinus problems through nasal irrigation

Here's a term you've likely never heard before: "Sinus hack."

We don't need to tell you that this time of year can wreak havoc on your family. Even if you're lucky enough to avoid the flu, something as minor as the common cold can lead to a mounting onslaught of congestion, headaches, and even sinus infections.

Life hacks are designed to make everyday things easier, right? Well, this "sinus hack" allows you to breathe freely, without a litany of medications. And it requires nothing more than a small plastic jug, some warm water, and a tiny amount of patience.

Let's see how simple it can be to cleanse your sinuses and enjoy a sniffle-free winter, through the simple process of nasal irrigation.

How does nasal irrigation work?

According to the Mayo Clinic, nasal irrigation has been proven as an effective method to treat congestion arising from colds and flu viruses, as well as treating the symptoms of seasonal allergies. It can be performed with a number of cold and allergy products eligible for purchase with FSA dollars, but one of the most effective is the humble, but powerful Neti pot.

Sounds ancient and mystical, no? Well, it's not QUITE that exciting, but the results certainly can be. You see, a Neti pot is a device that resembles a small tea pot, but is intended to be placed over the user's nostril.

By tilting one's head to the side and allowing the warm saline solution to enter your nostril, the flow can help to flush nasal passages of mucous, allergens and environmental irritants. It might be a little difficult at first, but before long, you'll have it down.

Of course, be sure to rinse your Neti pot (or other nasal irrigation device) thoroughly after each use to eliminate any lingering solution particles. But other than basic washing and drying, nasal irrigation is a proven, cost-effective response to the Fall and Winter cold season blues.

Bonus Hack: Make your own saline solution

Most commercial Neti pots come with pre-made solution samples that are designed for ease of use. And, of course, you can always buy more Neti pot solution packets when you run out, but where's the adventure in that? Instead, you can make your own saline solution, right out of common pantry items.

Our friends at WebMD have a recipe that we find to be highly effective:

Add 1 cup (240 mL) distilled water to a clean container. If you use tap water, boil it first to sterilize it, and then let it cool until it is lukewarm.

Add 0.5 tsp (2.5 g) salt to the water.

Add 0.5 tsp (2.5 g) baking soda.

So, as you prep your home and get ready for flu season, consider a life hack for your annual routine of cold meds and misery – give nasal irrigation a chance to let you breathe freely, throughout the cold weather seasons.

And, for everything else you need to keep your family healthy year-round, rely on! We have more than 4,000 FSA-eligible items to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits.


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