The comments I’ve heard over many years of private practice have led me to believe that our immune system response is often very misunderstood. It seems to be a common belief that a strong immune system will prevent most forms of illness. And while it’s true that those with strong immune systems will fare better than those without, getting sick is a natural and important part of life.

All living entities fight for survival, and microbes are constantly changing to beat defenses in the world around them and ensure their survival. Your body’s first exposure to any microbe will prompt an immune response, and you are likely to have symptoms while your body figures out how to mount a proper defense to eliminate that microbe from your system. A deep immune response takes time, and you are likely to be symptomatic and uncomfortable while your body is figuring things out. Supporting your immune system response is wise and helpful, while suppressing your immune response actually weakens your long term immunity! Once your immune system mounts a proper defense, that microbe will now be more easily recognized the next time you are exposed to it and your body will kick into defeat mode much more quickly.

Managing your symptoms for comfort, but allowing time for proper immune response and recovery, is a wise course of action. In general, we live life in the fast lane these days, so slowing down and resting is a challenge. But the immune system response is energy intensive, so rest and relaxation go a long way to maximize your body’s ability to mount a proper immune response. For me, crawling into bed for as long as my body needs is sometimes the only thing I need to get through an immune challenge! I know it’s not always easy to find the time to take this approach, but there was a time in history when this course of action was much more acceptable and doable. We need to find our way back to these simple strategies.

Did you recognize the above information? It’s the same introduction from the last product highlight I sent you two weeks ago. Why I am repeating this information?? Repetition is an excellent tool for learning, and understanding your immune system and how to best support it is critical for daily and long term health! We all need to hear important things over and over again to adjust our thinking and embrace healthy changes.

My recent cold reminded me of how uncomfortable nasal congestion can be. Most people use decongestants for this discomfort. Your body makes mucous to trap microbes, so reducing or stopping the mucous production inhibits your immune response. I much prefer letting the mucous do its job and helping my body clear the congestion with a Neti pot, which is a sinus irrigation tool. Flooding the sinuses with water and saline cleanses them, flushes out the mucous and is soothing to irritated tissues.

I use it as often as needed when I’m in full blown cold mode as it helps me breathe through my nose and stay comfortable. It’s a godsend before bed to help me get a good night’s sleep and to start the day on a more positive note by clearing the congestion that has accumulated overnight. As my cold was winding down and I was feeling like myself again, I still had congestion deep in my sinuses that was just too thick and deep to bring up by nose blowing alone – Neti pot to the rescue!

While water alone can be enough when using the Neti pot, adding salt can really enhance the experience and benefits. I’ve tried sea salt and find that it burns, so that’s not a good option for me. But it might work for you, so I would definitely recommend trying that. I purchase Neti pot salts from Amazon, which work beautifully for me. I have a jar of the salt, which is convenient for home use, but would purchase the individual packets option if I was traveling by plane.

I’ve written about the Neti pot in a past post, and received some questions and comments about it. One person shared that they had read about someone who got some kind of microbe/infection from using a Neti pot. I can easily imagine how that could happen if you use contaminated, unclean or unsafe water in the Neti pot. Fortunately, that’s an unlikely scenario, but one you should be aware of. If there is any question about the safety of your water supply, most store bought bottled water is likely to be a decent alternative. If you have doubts about bottled water brands, use distilled bottled water (but don’t drink it – it’s devoid of minerals and will contribute to a mineral deficiency).

I highly recommend giving a Neti pot a try for sinus discomfort associated with colds and flus, seasonal allergies or if air conditioning bothers your sinuses the way it does mine. I feel it’s inexpensive and has been such a blessing for me. And while it can help with chronic sinus issues, I would also encourage you to dig deeper to find out how to address the root cause of anything chronic. I don’t feel the need to use my Neti pot daily, but can’t say enough good things about the relief it provides when I get congested!