Love the show.
You guys seem awfully hard on the Neti Pot.....
It's not like it's 'Smoke & Incense & Chants' - there is a direct physical correlation involved, as in, a 'rinse'.
I thought it was unfair, Steve, how you phrased it's use as "pouring hot water into your nose" - which, as I'm sure you know,
is 'not' how the device is prescribed (i.e. use 'luke-warm' or 'room temp.' water).
There were some good points in the show about the potential for an infection however, so I may be hesitant to use tap water in the future.
The message I got from the Neti Pot news story was nothing at all to do with the safety of the Neti Pot per se
, and everything to do with contaminated tap water .. contaminated with amoebas in Louisiana, if I remember correctly. If a UK water company supplied water like that I'm pretty sure it would be prosecuted.
Is amoeba-contaminated water really safe to drink, as Steve said? I agree that any amoebas getting down into the stomach would be safely digested, but what about hiccuping or sneezing while drinking the water .. I'm sure we've all done that and got water blown up the back of our noses at some point. Normally nothing more than a temporary discomfort, but suppose there was a "brain-eating amoeba" (as the stories described it) in there?
I agree of course that any water should be boiled, covered and allowed to cool before being used for sinus rinsing or any other medical purpose. I'm not sure I would use distilled or de-ionised water (boiled or otherwise) as sold over here in car parts stores for topping up batteries, but I think boiled distilled water as supplied for laboratories or for drinking (yes, you can buy it, and I know of no cases of any harm caused) would be fine.
Back to the Neti Pot itself. It is the traditional Indian device for sinus irrigation, invented before the days of squeezable rubber bulbs or plastic syringes, but it's tricky to use because it relies on gravity. Any congestion can make it very difficult to get the water to flow .. and if your sinuses aren't congested, why are you rinsing them? You can buy salt water (normal or hypertonic 3x concentration) in an aerosol can, but it's a very expensive way to buy water.
It's easy to make a normal (0.9%) or hypertonic (2.7%) solution of rock salt in boiled water. Some formulas suggest adding 0.3% sodium bicarbonate to normalise the pH. Rock salt is suggested to avoid the additives like free running salts and iodide, but this is probably naturalistic fallacy bullshit. I don't advise non-saline water: in my case at least it results in an instant splitting headache. Normal saline is fine for routine rinsing, but I was prescribed hypertonic for chronic sinusitis.
Sinus rinsing certainly isn't woo. I've had it prescribed by two ENT specialists for chronic sinusitis. Most of the time I just spray a small amount from a refilled inhaler bottle, but for a serious rinse a 30ml plastic syringe (without the needle!) works well. I've found that using it every day even when there is no congestion is a bad idea .. imagine what washing your hands in sea water all the time would do to your skin: that's what the inside of my nose started to feel like!
In summary: sinus rinsing is not woo, it's a perfectly normal medical procedure for sinusitis etc. Neti Pots are OK, but are not the most efficient way to rinse. Always boil the water, whatever the source, particularly if you live in Louisiana. In fact, in Louisiana or anywhere else where water companies can get away with bugs in the water, boil your drinking water as well. Use saline not plain water if you don't want an instant headache. Don't overdo it or your sinuses will start to feel dry and raw.