When my son was young, he was very sick, not only because of his congenital heart disease, allergies, and kidney disorder, but with near-constant, chronic, bacterial infections. A bacterial infection is nothing to mess around with, but when you have a heart condition, you need to be extra careful. We faced what seemed like a never-ending battle against these bugs in order to keep his ticker, well, ticking.

He had strep many times. One case was so severe, and antibiotic resistant, that it nearly killed him. Have you ever heard of a mastoid infection? I hadn’t, until my son got one. It’s a bacterial infection in the bone behind the ear, which is not to be confused with adenitis, which made him look like he had swallowed a golf ball. Oh, and there was that UTI that he got before he was even one week old.

More than anything, though, my boy suffered from sinus infections. From October to May, his little head was crammed with crud and mucus so thick that he could barely breathe. We filled prescription after prescription of antibiotics to keep the bacteria from traveling to his heart. He spent, roughly, two out of his first nine years on Penicillin.

During this same time, when we were pumping him full of medicine, we tried natural remedies too. We even had the air quality tested in our house to see if there was mold hiding somewhere. I knew that all of the antibiotics were keeping him alive, but I also knew that they were killing the good bacteria right along with the bad, and I worried that someday they simply wouldn’t work anymore.

Then, on television one day I saw someone talking about neti pots. Something told me that this was what would help him. I had a talk with his pediatrician and she thought it was worth a try, though she suggested a sinus flush instead of a neti pot, something that would force the water up instead of just letting gravity have its way with his nasal passage.

I bought purified water and a sinus rinse kit, positioned my kid over the kitchen sink, and promptly made him vomit. We tried again the next day, and the next, and the day after that, until my son became a nasal irrigation pro! Now he can even tell me which side needs to “go first” in order to clear his sinuses quicker.

I would love to say that he hasn’t had to take any antibiotics since we started this all-natural solution, but I can say that he’s gone from needing medication about three months out of the year, to about two weeks. He rarely has sinus infections anymore, when he used to live with them perpetually.

He’s had three sets of tubes to help with ear infections, he had his tonsils removed to cut down on strep, and I’m happy to say that sinus infections are, mostly, a thing of the past. I’m glad I made him stick with it and keep trying. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what we parents are supposed to do.

This post is part of BlogHer’s My ‘I’m a Mom’ Moment editorial series, made possible by Seventh Generation.


  • tara

    Netti pots are totally a mom moment! My mom discovered it when I was about 13 or 14, and I remember hating it at first too, but it definitely worked!

    That sucks your son had to deal with so much crap before he was 2! No wonder he’s such a firecracker! 🙂

  • Liz

    I don’t know why we’ve been resisting the neti pot and, thanks to this post, we’re going to have to revisit the possibility of giving this natural another shot…and by we I totally mean me…migraines triggered by sinus headaches sufferers UNITE!!!

  • AlisonH

    Ocean is the name of the little bottle I remember from when my kids were little: squirt its salt water up their nostrils to dehydrate the little germies to death.

    Come to think of it, given my current cold, I should try that.

    Glad what you do works!

  • meleah rebeccah

    Oh yes. Netti pots work miracles! I’m so happy they help your son so much too!

  • Ang

    I found as an adult that the neti pot or a saline rinse (works like a neti pot) does help if I do it early enough. Even being upside down over the tub (I’m not coordinated enough to hit the sink bowl), I still get the sensation that I’m drowning. I do have Mammoth Cave sized sinus cavities though. Also found allergy meds ward off my sinus infections if I remember to take them early enough as well.
    Glad to hear your boy is doing better with these! Heart breaking to watch your little ones suffer.

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