The Miserable Side of Life
We all have it. That thing that drives you around the bend and makes your life miserable. For myself, it's my sinuses that make my life miserable and a living hell in the winter. No doubt there are those who have never experienced a sinus infection or have had one that was bothersome for a few days and cleared up on its own. For many, this is the case, but for others, the symptoms can be much worse and make your life nothing short of miserable. Often, a sinus infection will clear up on its own with little intervention, but then there are those that require specific treatment which may include nasal steroids or antibiotics. There are also the alternate methods which involve flushing the sinuses out with a salt-water solution with a device like a Neti-Pot or the Neti-Rinse, which utilizes a squeeze bottle to force the fluid into the sinus cavity to better remove the gunk that is causing the discomfort and infection.
My Personal Hell
I started having issues about 15 years ago and it has only gotten worse year after year. Winter is the worst as it usually means back to back sinus infections for me. I have on occasion had no choice but to get antibiotics from my doctor, but I have been trying to avoid that route as much as possible since some day I may need antibiotics for something more serious and they won't work due to overuse from sinus infections. Besides the congestion that is both irritating and enough to cause you to lose sleep, there is the associated pain that comes with the infections. The worst being the crown roots of the upper teeth, which for myself, feels very similar to an abscessed tooth, but affects all the upper teeth on the right side of my jaw. The pain is often excruciating, and I must use a Neti-Rinse along with the nasal steroids to help ease the pain. Often, flushing out the mucous helps relieve the pressure and the sinus sprays help reduce the inflammation. Unfortunately, it can take a couple of days before these methods start to work and if you don't keep them up, the pain returns in a day and you must start all over again.
Devices and More Devices
I had heard of a new device on the market last summer and was thinking of
ordering one, but the price at the time as well over $200 and there was no guarantee it would work. There were also not many reviews on the product, so I wasn't about to make an investment of a few hundred dollars on a device that may not be any better than the Neti-Rinse I was already using. The Neti-Rinse is a device that does have its benefits, but it's also extremely messy to use and because of that mess, I tend to not use it as I should. You also must ensure you are using clean water and you must measure out the packets of solution to ensure the mixture is not too strong where it will burn your sinuses, or too weak where it will not be effective in cleaning your sinuses properly and helping clear up the infection.
Last week I saw a commercial on television showing the new device was now available at several retailers. When I first investigated this new device last summer, you had to order it from the manufacturer or Amazon. When I looked on the manufacturer website, I also found that the price had dropped considerably as well. Now I could go to my local Loblaws and pick one up for $80, or order one on Amazon and have it delivered to my door. There were also numerous reviews online regarding the Navage machine for sinuses. The benefit of the Navage, is that it is a self-contained unit that utilizes both pressurizations to push the solution through the sinus cavity as well as suction to pull the solution back out. The gunk from your sinus cavity goes into the bottom chamber which you can remove after use and clean in your sink. Getting rid of the mess, would make this a solution that I would use more often and one which I could probably benefit from.
I started reading some of the reviews online regarding the Navage, and it seemed to be something worth trying. This last sinus infection has been ongoing since before Christmas this past December and I have reached the point of desperation and willing to try just about anything to get rid of it. I had also been considering succumbing to another round of antibiotics knowing that the last time I was prescribed a course of 3 weeks. Despite being on antibiotics for that length of time, the sinus infection was back a couple months later.
I went and picked up the Navage this past Wednesday and decided to give it a try when I brought it home. The only downside I could see before trying it, was that you must buy their salt pods as the machine will not work without them. So, you have no choice but to buy the salt pods if you want to continue using the Navage, and they sell here in Ottawa at the cost of $13 for 20 pods, or again you could go on Amazon and get 180 of them for $79.99, a great deal. If you use the machine twice a day as they recommend, you are looking at about $40 a month. If you buy them in bulk from Amazon, this cost goes down to about $30 per month. This is about the same cost as most steroid nasal sprays, but the salt pods are probably safer and as I have had little success lately with the sprays, there probably is not much use in continuing to purchase those. I did give the Navage a try and it did clear my sinuses after a single use and my sinuses stayed clear for a few hours. The solution mixture they use didn't seem to be quite as strong as the Neti-Rinse product, so there was less burning of the sinuses. I did have to add additional water when mixing the Neti-Rinse solution to weaken it from their recommended mixture.
Would I Recommend
I have been using the Navage for a few weeks now and it does seem to do as the manufacturers claim. When you are very congested however, it does take the Navage a few minutes to complete its cycle. It is considerably cleaner than other products I have tried, and the suction makes the cleaning of your sinus cavity much more efficient. It's too early to make any type of consensus on whether this is worth buying and if I will see any long-term benefits from the Navage. I will continue to use the Navage for the next couple of months and come back with a full review of the product. I have even tried using Hydrogen Peroxide to clear the infection; one of the possible cures I found online for treating these things. As a side note, the Hydrogen Peroxide helps, but ensure you follow the amounts to use precisely as it burns like hell if the solution is too strong. Also, ensure you only use the Hydrogen Peroxide mixture of 3% or you will burn your sinuses and may need to get other medical attention in the emergency department.
I was prescribed antibiotics last month which I took for 10 days. My sinus infection was so bad that no amount of flushing was going to clear it up. However, with the antibiotics and the Navage, the infection did clear up rather quickly. I am now using the Navage daily in an effort to keep the sinus infection from coming back. If you do decide to go with the Navage or the Neti-Rinse, I would advise that you ensure you are using distilled or otherwise treated water. The sinus cavity can be sensitive to bacteria or other items that may cause you to become even sicker. I personally boil the water I am going to use a minimum of three times and then place it into a clean container. I typically treat enough water to last at least a week.
What Works for You?
If you happen to know of a solution to resolve sinus infections that doesn't involve antibiotics, I would like to hear about it. I'm at the point now that I'm getting desperate for some relief and be able to sleep a full night without having to get up to go flush my sinuses. As always, if you have any suggestions for topics to discuss or would like more information on, please post them in the comments section below.