We are now only 2 weeks away from Christmas and if you did not yet have a cold you will certainly have one soon.
I had my last serious cold very long ago. I don’t even remember that I had one. And if I had a cold, it was gone after a few days.
This is what helps me: nose washes.
I learned how to wash my nose during my time in the German army from 1984 to 1986. And I am using nose washes since then.
Watch this commercial video in order to find out how it works
If nose washes help me to prevent colds, they may also work for you.
And no, you don’t need to buy a commercial nose shower in order to do that. Read into the following article and I will share my 35 years of nose wash experience with you.
The Theory Behind Nose Washes
Most colds are produced by bacterias. Viruses generate influenzas, which then come with bacterial infections because the immune system is busy with fighting the more serious viruses.
In order to understand how nose washes help to prevent colds, some understanding of infections and of human anatomy is required.
There is a connection between the left nasal cavity and the right nasal cavity, through the frontal sinus. This is where bacterias like to settle down. It is warm and humid, but not too warm. This place is located here:
This is where my own colds start every time. I know that because when I have a cold, this passage is blocked. And when I clear this passage my cold goes away.
Once there has built up a sufficient amount of bacterias at this place, the body cells and the bacterias produce a yellowish or greenish slime. You will soon find that out that color yourself.
The Pathway From the Nose to the Mouth
This is how that yellowish or greenish slime with the bacterias gets into your lungs: there is a connection tube between the nose and the mouth, as demonstrated in the following video
If there is an excess of slime in your nose it flows through that tube into the rear part of your mouth and from there the bacterias that are in that slime drop into your lungs.
The lungs provide ideal living conditions for bacterias: warm but not too warm, humid, and plenty of body surface to nurture on.
Inner Ear Infections
In a sideline only, there is a second way for the yellowish or greenish slime with the bacterias. If you sleep and the head is in a bad position, it can flow through the Eustachian tube which is explained here
If the yellowish or greenish slime makes its way to the inner ear it can cause even more damage, called “inner ear infection”.
One thing is clear. It does not help much to treat these infections if you don´t treat the source, namely the built up yellowish or greenish slime in your frontal sinus.
Scientific Literature that Supports Nose Washes
There is a meta article in the German language about nose washes (if you can’t read German then use Google Translate as described here)
T Hildenbrand, R Weber, C Heubach, “Nasenspülungen bei akuter Rhinosinusitis”, Laryngorhinootologie 2011; 90(06): 346-351
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1275317, (click here)
The author has done her homework. She is citing more than 40 other articles. Good stuff!
How to Do Nose Washes in Practise
Science teaches that the best results are obtained when warm water is used, with a specific amount of salt added. Scientists say that best is sea salt or salt from iodized sources such as the Bad Pyrmont salt https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Pyrmont
From a former German military engineer’s point of view with a 30+ years of experience with nose washes I can tell you that what science says is nonsense.
What works best for me is the following: I remove the showerhead of my shower tube, I turn on the cold water and flush my nose with a low-pressure stream of water, through both nostrils, alternately. While doing so, I generate under-pressure in my mouth, thereby sucking the cold water from my nose into my mouth – just as the blonde girl above. That cleans the entire way of the bacterias from the source to the mouth.
The colder the water the merrier. The cold water detumesces my nasal mucosa such that my paranasal sinuses open and get flushed, too. In simple words: the pressure and pain in my cheekbones also go away.
Best for me is if I do this procedure in a small and warm bathroom while I am sitting in a bathtub with very hot water. A very nice add-on is to have a warm whiskey or rum after each application, maybe with hot lemon water aside, made from fresh lemons.
I do nose washes whenever I feel sick or a cold coming up. I do not think that it is necessary to do nose washes on a daily basis.
Why the German Military is Important for Nose Washes
At the time when I was in the German army, there was an army doctor who looked into the matter of colds. His name was Dr. Thomas Schmidt, and he passed away in 2008.
Dr. Schmidt was a famous actor at the age of eleven. He was the main actor in a well-known German movie “The little Mook” that has been exported to 60 countries.
Dr. Schmidt conducted a nose wash experiment in my own division – the 8th Mountaineer Division – which was a continuation of a famous WW2 Wehrmacht Divison that fought in France and Italy. One part of our people promised to do a daily nose wash, and the other part promised to do no nose wash at all. They were the control. That also separated the real men from the boys because a nose wash is not a picnic, at least during the first week or so, until you get accustomed to the pain that it causes.
The result was overwhelming. The real men practically had no colds. At all.
I was so lucky to be in the right part of our division. From that time onwards I had no more colds.
Dr. Schmidt published an article about his findings (Schmidt, T., Plümer, H., Robra, B.P. and Schwartz, F.W., 1996, October. Wirksamkeit der Nasenspülung zur Vorbeugung von Erkältungskrankheiten. In Public Health Forum, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 15-15. De Gruyter), but the link is dead:
Call to Action
Here is what you can do.
Tonight or tomorrow morning, when you take a shower or bath, remove the showerhead of your shower tube, turn on the water and flush your nose with a very low-pressure stream of water, through both nostrils.
Once that is comfortable for you, lower the water temperature.
Then increase the water pressure.
Martin “nose free” Schweiger