My most recent amazing opportunity has been the discovery of Saline Nasal Irrigation (SNI), or simply 'nasal baths'.
According to Wikipedia, SNI has become widely accepted as a home remedy to relieve conditions such as allergies (such as hay fever), colds and mild sinus infections. Preliminary research indicates that SNI could also be an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis and chronic sinusitis.
So far so good. As a chronic allergy sufferer (hay fever, dust mites, mold spores, children) I seem to constantly be sneezing and blowing my nose. Inevitably, all the gunk gets tired of simply clogging up my sinuses and decides to invade my lungs as well, so I end up with a nasty cough that lasts for weeks.
A friend of mine suggested I try a nasal bath to help with the allergies.
"A what?" I asked.
"A nasal bath," she repeated. "It's all the rage. Oprah Winfrey even had it demonstrated live on her show."
Well that sold me on it! With Oprah's stamp of approval, it surely must be a good thing.
So I Googled 'nasal bath' and sure enough, there it was. A popular home remedy for allergies and chronic sinusitis.
Great! So how do I get started?
Apparently a nasal bath requires the use of a neti pot which is a miniature teapot-looking thing. You mix up a saline solution, put it into the neti pot and then pour it through the nasal passages.
How do you do that, I wondered. Turns out you stick the spout of the neti pot into a nostril, turn your head to the side and let the water sluice it's way through the sinuses and come out the other nostril!
Gross!!! Are you serious?
Oh yes, they were very serious, and there are lots of videos available to see for yourself, if you don't believe me.
Now, I understand that this whole neti pot thing is probably very old news to most of you. But you have to remember I live in the middle of Africa, and news gets here very slowly...even with internet access.
So this information was front-page headlines for me. And I knew I had to try it.
But I had no neti pot. And the nearest Bed, Bath and Beyond is several thousand miles away. But improvisation is the key to survival out here, and sure enough, after digging around in my kids' bedroom for a while, I found what I was looking for....
...the doll house teapot. YES!!!
Thank you, Keziah!
Unfortunately, the doll house teapot is round and chunky and not at all slim and pointy like the real neti pot. And yes...you do have to get that spout right up there in the nostril for it to work.
So after a bit of tugging and shoving, I managed to get it up there...started pouring, and like magic that saline solution started dribbling out the other side! How cool is that!
You do have to remember to breathe out of your mouth, though, or you end up coughing and choking on salt water....not that I had that problem, I'm sure.
So for any of you allergy sufferers, or just plain neat freaks who like everything as immaculate as possible, give the neti pot nasal bath a try! You won't be disappointed.