All of the sudden, I was getting headaches every day. The kind of headache that’s always there, just bad enough that without taking a OTC pain reliever you’re totally miserable. I remember sitting in the doctors office crying because I was so exhausted from always having a headache. I just wanted them to STOP.
There was no obvious reason for my headaches and I didn’t have any other symptoms. But we ran lots of tests anyway just to make sure. I was shocked when my doctor handed me a prescription for an allergy medication and although I wasn’t as educated or as health conscious as a I now – the idea of taking a prescription drug for allergies didn’t sound right, since there was no other conversation regarding allergies.
Of course I refused.. but my doctor explained that she agreed with me that no I shouldn’t take a drug without reason, however she thought that MAYBE it would help, maybe I had allergies that were causing my headache, after all I was taking OTC pain relievers anyway. So I figured what the heck – it’s short term and MAYBE it will help…. OMG. Seriously, my headache went away and never came back. It was life altering. After 2 weeks of blissful relief I went back to the Dr for my follow up, I was so excited to tell her that my headaches were GONE. But here’s where it gets even more frustrating than the original headaches… I asked “Now What and WHY??” she said keep taking the allergy meds – as she started writing me out another prescription… She explained that your headache is caused by allergies, the meds make it better .. Of course it just didn’t sit well. No. I stopped her.
At that point it just didn’t make sense – just take the drug? But huh?? What am I allergic to? She said she didn’t know BUT the allergy meds work so.. well keep taking them…. After several minutes of inquiring questions and flat out refusal to just take the drugs, she agreed to refer me to an Ear/Nose/Throat/Allergy doctor… but did caution me that allergy testing wasn’t fun. The ENT Dr was as confused as my primary Dr… Huh?? Just take the meds he said… No – I insisted on the full allergy testing to find out WHAT I am allergic to.
I was stuck with needles all over both upper arms, yes it hurt. He came back with a long list of allergy offenders – mold, dirt, dust, and PETS. Yep. Lots of dog & cat allergies. (and at the time we had 1 XL dog, 4 cats and a ferret – No Bueno.) Getting rid of the pets wasn’t an option, nor was living in a bubble. So, the following week I started going for allergy shots every week. (all the while no allergy meds and getting grumpier from my daily headaches)
Ok. I’m not very good at dr apts and scheduling. And I had to miss work for 2 hours every week for these darn shots. It got really old really fast. Especially knowing it could take years for them to fully work. I learned about rinsing your sinuses to help with allergy symptoms on the internet and picked up THIS Saline Sinus Rinse KIT at the local drug store. Yes, I thought I was going to drown, it didn’t seem possible to put water up my nose and survive.. for petesake I can’t even swim underwater without holding my nose!! But alas – I survived and am here to talk about it today!
Nasal irrigation or nasal lavage or nasal douche is the personal hygiene practice in which the nasal cavity is washed to flush out excess mucus and debris from the nose and sinuses. The practice is generally well-tolerated and reported to be beneficial with only minor side effects. Nasal irrigation in a wider sense can also refer to the use of saline nasal spray or nebulizers to moisten the mucous membranes. According to its advocates, nasal irrigation promotes good sinus and nasal health. Patients with chronic sinusitis including symptoms of facial pain, headache, halitosis, cough, anterior rhinorrhea (watery discharge) and nasal congestion are reported often to find nasal irrigation to provide relief. In published studies, “daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation improves sinus-related quality of life, decreases symptoms, and decreases medication use in patients with frequent sinusitis”, and irrigation is recommended as an adjunctive treatment for chronic sinonasal symptoms.
So I started rinsing my sinuses 2x a day… Nothing. On day 3 after my morning sinus rinse, I was outside and I bent over to pick up something from the garden… and all this gunk came running out of my nose! Slimy-gross-snoty stuff. (TMI, I’m sorry) As the gunk came out I also felt the pain & pressure leaving my face!!! With no more headaches, I quit those stupid allergy shots. The first year or so I rinsed my sinuses twice a day.
Then for several years I rinsed our my sinuses as a part of my morning routine. Today, I still rinse my sinuses a couple times a week, more often if I feel any pressure building up or start to feel a little under the weather. Since 2005 I’ve tried many different sinus rinses and methods.. The NetiPot – is my least favorite method – there’s just not enough cleansing since there is no pressure other than gravity flowing water through your nose).
I used THIS Saline Sinus Rinse KIT for several years and have been totally satisfied, recommending it to many of my friends. I’ve recently upgraded to what I call the Sinus Power Washer – it’s a battery operated, cordless pulsating nasal irrigator — it’s so awesome!!! Since I used THIS Saline Sinus Rinse KIT for years and it came with packets of USP Grade (99.9% Pure) Sodium Chloride & Sodium Bicarbonate Mixture (pH balanced, natural ingredients, isotonic, preservative free & iodine free) – that’s just what I always used.
Then one day when I was reading the ingredients I realized this is just Salt & Baking Soda! DUH! I researched the hows & whys of saline sinus rinses .. the (sea) salt is what does the work of cleansing junk out of your sinuses, the baking soda is what makes sure it doesn’t burn (we all know salt water up the nose burns like the dickens!) Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezie.
Cheap & effective, my 2 favorite things! Many people talk about adding in other things to a saline sinus rinse but in all of my years of use I never needed anything more! Just one last thing.. There’s lots of stories on the web about the dangers of using tap water for sinus rinses.. I did use tap water for several years and an amoeba didn’t eat my brain – however I now only use filtered water. I heat some water up in my electric tea kettle and dilute it with room temp water right from the filter until it’s the perfect temp.
Homemade Sinus Rinse
- Mix sea salt & baking soda together and store in a jar.
- Use 1/2 a teaspoon per sinus rinse.