Having been pregnant and nursed three babies within 5 years, I have become quite familiar with alternatives to decongestant medications while suffering through sinus congestion or colds. A few months ago, I signed up for a free Neil-Med NasoFlo neti pot on Facebook and used it during my next cold. I was sold! It’s a little weird, pouring saline through your nasal cavities, one nostril and out the other, but it really works. It rinses out the congestion, and offers relief that saline spray just cannot. However, it cannot be used if one of your nostrils or your ears are blocked with congestion 😦
Read the directions throughly, although it is very easy to use. I heat 8oz of distilled water in a Pyrex cup (I always keep a gallon on hand for my steam mop, as the hard water around here would gunk it up in one use) for about 25 seconds in the microwave, just till it is warm. Then I pour one packet of the neti pot powder in the pot. The powder is pharmaceutical grade sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride, basically pure baking soda and salt. However, the directions strongly advise you not to try to replicate the mixture with items from your pantry. I have not researched whether you can or not, but I just take their word for it. I did purchase a different brand of refills, and they seem to work the same, although theirs recommends mixing one packet with 4oz of water, so I used 2 packets for 8oz of water and it stung (like pool water) ! Anyway, I add the 8oz of warm distilled water to the packet, give it a little shake/swirl, and head to the sink. Insert the spout of the neti pot into one nostril opening, tilt your head forward and to the side and let gravity do the rest. The water flows from the pot, through your nose, out the other side, carrying with it the congestion. Pour about half of the solution, then stop, blow your nose, and do the other side. Relief, ahhhhh.
Additional information for the particular neti pot in the pictuer above, the one I have been using, can be found on the NeilMed website here.