Smoke Gets In Your Nose

by | Aug 29, 2013 | Health and Well Being

I woke up this morning with another headache. And the fear that the house was on fire. Out of bed and on the way to inspect the property without being properly dressed, I finally realized that the smoke from the Rim Fire had returned. Back inside I went to my medicine cabinet and pulled out a plastic bottle that has been doing emergency stand-in duty for the Nitti Pot, the little ceramic teapot thingy bob that my holistic doctor had advised me to use to ward off my chronic sinus problems. And, thus, another offering for the Enterprise was born.

Frustrated with the antibiotic cycle of ten days on pills and cortisone sprays, a week of relief, and then another sinus attack, some lasting six weeks, I finally went to a surgeon. After looking at my chart/history he said that my doctor had “done everything he could” with my sinuses. So, we scheduled surgery and he poked four holes in my upper gums and ripped out my sinus lining. After a day in the hospital I was home and already feeling better. Unfortunately the results were temporary. When I went in for my first quarterly checkup, and four long needles full of something up into my sinus cavities by way of the same invaded gums, the surgeon admitted that the procedure didn’t take care of all sinus problems for everyone. He was right and within a year I was back on the old drug cycle.

Eventually, both of us frustrated by my weeks of being sick and wanting to do nothing but nod off on the couch, my wife and I visited yet another doctor. He diagnosed me with chronic dehydration, for starters. Seems my drinking a lot of coffee and beer weren’t exactly the kind of fluids that my body wanted. Well, actually I wanted them but my body wanted water. A soccer player and referee himself, the doctor advised me to drink a lot of water. No news there but I guess I needed to have a professional tell me that. Back in my early football, pre-broken knee, days they wouldn’t let us drink water at all. Take a sip, spit it out, ALL of it. He also recommended that I cut back on the booze, take a handful of vitamin supplements, and to use a niti pot for relief. I did and it worked.

Basically the pot is a little teacup that you fill with warm water. With sea salt dissolved in the water, you tilt your head and force the water in one nostril and out the other. It feels like when you get water in your nose while swimming; not pleasant but not painful either. Enterprising souls have taken the guesswork out of the measuring of salt by packaging it in single doses. You can buy them at the drug store. I’ve read some unfavorable online articles about this procedure and most warn about using tap water for the rinse. Bacteria can wreak havoc on the body, they say. I would suggest you do a bit of research before you jump into a niti pot and, as always, it is not a panacea for all suffering noses.

Of course, being who I am, after getting all this advice I asked the doctor why I hadn’t heard about this home remedy. He smiled and said that the Chinese had been doing it for two thousand years. I asked the next obvious question; why haven’t I heard about it from the press or the men diagnosing it. Sorry lady doctors but it was guys that ushered me through everything right up to the anesthesia. His smile this time took on a hint of sarcasm as he held up his right hand and rubbed his thumb and middle finger together in the universal sign for wampum. As I said in my prescription drug op editorial, it is not in the drug cabal’s best interest to have people using this technique and avoiding high-priced drugs.

This is not meant to be a putdown of the medical profession. It just occurred to me as I reached for my Excedrin Migraine pills this morning. I realize there are pros and cons and that I am not trained to hand out medical advice. Let’s say it is just one person’s experience and leave it at that, with the caveat that if a niti pot helps just one other suffer then my work here is done. One of the nice things about living in this area is the natural beauty. One of the saddest aspects are these fires, even though a healthy forest needs them from time to time. Until this morning I’d never really consider that the smoke and how it can affect human. I was mostly busy worrying about the poor wildlife.

Jerry Tuck is a retired San Andreas resident and an indie author. Contact him at or use the Contact Form.

Jerry Tuck

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