Since I was a kid, my nose and sinuses have given me problems. At the age of 5 or 6, I was diagnosed with allergies to house dust, certain molds and pollens, which lead to a whole series of twice-weekly allergy shots, which, as far as I can tell, made no difference whatsoever. I still get bouts of hay fever, especially after working in dusty environments like the garage or basement. My sinuses seem to be stuffy and inflamed a lot more often than seems to be the norm for others. And when I was a teenager, I seemed to get "strep throat" about as often as most people got colds. Luckily, it always seemed to be a fairly minor case, and for me it was not much more serious than a normal sore throat. But I had them at least twice a year, plus a slew of other colds and junk.

Some of the problem may be structural. My nasal passages have never really been able to keep up with the needs of my 6'5" frame. Even light exercise has always turned me into a mouth breather, because my nasal passages just can't keep up with the airflow needed by my lungs. I have always had a slightly nasal voice (at least it sounds that way to me), which I attribute mostly to small, perpetually stuffy, often inflamed nasal passages and sinuses. This is weird, because my nose is actually pretty big. You'd think, from the look of it, that it would get good airflow. My daughter had surgery to open up her nasal passages, and perhaps I should have done the same, but I never have. I'm not a big fan of surgery.

The good news is that I never get sinus headaches like my wife Carol often does. She sometimes feels intense pressure in her sinus cavities, and will press on her face with her fingers to try and relieve it (which doesn't seem to help much). My nasal passages and sinuses just always seemed stuffy and infection-prone, without being particularly painful.

SinusClear-60-Bottle-120302When I came to work at RidgeCrest years ago, of course I tried SinusClear. But we had recently (like ten years ago now) changed from an ephedra formula to one that was ephedra-free. And while the ephedra-free formula worked for me, it was really only effective at 3-4 times the recommended dose. Plus it was expensive to start with, so at 3-4 times the dose, I felt bad for anyone who wasn't getting it at cost, as I was. (Our new formula, out this last year, is much better on both cost and effectiveness at the recommended dose.) But we're always looking for multiple options to solve a problem, aren't we?

Over the years, I have tried nasal irrigation with a neti pot as well (as seen on "Oprah" and "Dr. Oz"). A neti pot runs a salt solution in one nostril, up through the nasal passages, and out the other nostril, carrying excess mucus and irritants out with it, and hopefully soothing inflamed nasal tissues in the process. You can do it with ordinary table or sea salt and warm tap water, but the salt solution needs to be mixed right. Not enough salt, and it can be really painful, like pool water all the way up your nose. Too much salt can also hurt, as anyone who has swum in the Great Salt Lake can attest. You want to stir the solution up good, so the salt fully and evenly dissolves, which isn't always easy in a neti pot. Also, the solution needs to be close to body temperature, made with warm water, just before you use it. Lots of companies sell neti pots, and little prepackaged salt packets to go with them. Some of them have xylitol in them, which is a natural disinfectant that tastes sweet in the back of your throat.

I first tried nasal irrigation over the sink, but what a mess! And your nose continues to drain for quite some time, so you better have a lot of Kleenex handy! Then I tried it in the shower, and that was better, but it still took a lot of time, and was awkward to mix, and awkward to use. The lid would fall off the neti pot, if it had one, and some pots are made of ceramic, which you don't really want in the shower. So, a neti pot was a help, but more trouble than it was worth for regular use. I'd usually only resort to that if I actually had a cold.

Last year while visiting an industry trade show, I ran across the Nasopure nasal wash bottle. What a cool idea-- a specially-designed angled plastic bottle, with a tip similar to a sports-style water bottle, so you can mix the solution easily in the bottle, and completely control the speed and pressure of the irrigation solution!

naspoure

It's very easy to use, even (maybe especially) in the shower. I usually open the salt packet and pour it into the bottle before I get in the shower. I then wash my hair first so the steam from the shower can start to penetrate and clear my nose a bit. When I'm ready, I run a little shower water into the bottle (which takes about 5 seconds to fill), put the cap on, hold my finger over the tip, and shake hard to mix the solution. I run half the solution in one nostril, half in the other, rinse out the bottle with a little more shower water, and I'm done! My nose continues to drain while I wash the rest of my body, and by the time I'm out, I don't usually even need a Kleenex. No mess, no fuss. Brilliant!

I have been using the Nasopure bottle this way about every 2-3 days this last winter, and I have avoided several colds that were being passed around the family, even ones I thought I was in the very early stages of catching. Colds just haven't developed like I was afraid they would. And I breathe easier and more clearly all day long. So I love this little plastic bottle! I don't know the people who make it, and they're not paying me a thing (they don't even know I'm writing this). I just want to share something that has worked well for me, and say thanks! I can't wait to try it with a xylitol packet.