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Methods for Addressing Sore Throat, Dry Nasal Passage, Sinuses, and Eyes

Discussion in 'Health, Safety and Vaping' started by CAAB, Nov 18, 2019.

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  1. CAAB

    CAAB Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 9, 2019
    New York
    I’d like to share some strategies to minimize sore throat, dry nasal passages, sinuses, and eyes for vapers. These techniques have worked well for me, especially during cold, dry winters. Please keep in mind this is not medical advice, and if you are having recurring issues or trouble breathing, you really need to see a doctor.

    Vaping Related Techniques

    There are a few vaping-specific things I have found that can help reduce irritation from vaping.

    1. Reduce or eliminate nicotine: I have found nicotine a significant irritant. I tried increasing my nicotine level with the theory that I would need fewer hits to get the desired nicotine. But it ended up working out better to have a lower level of nicotine and taking more hits.
    2. Switch to nicotine salts: In case you are not familiar with nicotine salts, it’s not actually like table salt or anything, it’s just the addition of benzoic acid to reduce the pH of nicotine, resulting in a smoother hit
    3. Reduce wattage: The higher the wattage, the hotter the vape, which tends to irritate the respiratory tract more.
    4. Reduce propylene glycol and alcohol content: Most e-liquids have a ratio of propylene glycol (PG) to vegetable glycerine (VG). PG tends to be more of an irritant, so a lower ratio may be warranted. If you have a PG sensitivity, you may need to eliminate it entirely. Also, be mindful of alcohol in e-liquids, it may be used as a flavor carrier. Alcohol is also a potential irritant.
    5. Use fewer flavors, switch up flavors: In general, the more flavors in an e-liquid, the greater the irritation. Best to stick with fewer flavors and only purchase from vendors that publish ingredients and third party lab tests that verify the absence of dangerous compounds like diacetyl.
    6. Avoid direct to lung hits: I am more of a mouth to lung vaper, except I never really inhale. This takes the lungs out of the equation for the most part. You can still get your nicotine from your mouth.
    7. Vape less frequently: self explanatory.
    8. Vape outside or in a well ventilated room: If you’re a fog machine and you are in an enclosed room, you’re basically displacing all the fresh air, so you’re constantly breathing an increasingly concentrated vape.
    9. If still experiencing discomfort, try different coils/wicks: some people have an allergy to certain metals, or even cotton. By trying different wick materials and coil metals, you may eliminate them as a possible irritant.

    Staying Hydrated

    It goes without saying, you need to drink plenty of water throughout the day. More so than a non-vaper. It’s addressing respiratory dryness systemically.

    Nasal Spray - Techniques

    For dry sinuses or nasal passages, I’ve tried various nasal spray products, but I like Xlear the most. It’s more than just simple saline solution, it has xylitol in it, which helps moisturize nasal passages. In addition, it has grapefruit seed extract for antimicrobial properties, to ward off infections. Although there is some controversy on grapefruit seed extract, which is beyond the scope of this post.

    It can be difficult to source Xlear locally. I looked online at various drug stores in my area and found a place that had it in stock. If I could afford to wait, I would have bought it on Amazon. Cheaper that way.

    I get the nasal spray, although they have a wider range of products. I recommend buying a bottle to see if it helps. Sometimes It can get worse before it gets better. I was very stuffed up, so it was unpleasant when I started clearing my sinuses out. Give it a good week, unless you are really having problems.

    Another important note, there is a technique to using nasal spray. If you do it wrong, it can hurt and cause bloody snot over time. Don’t point the nozzle towards the center of your nose. There is a tendency to do this if you use your left hand to spray your left nostril, for example. Instead use your left hand to spray your right nostril, and point the nozzle AWAY from the center of your nose. In other words, for the right nostril, point the nozzle towards the right. This will avoid some tender areas towards the center of your nasal passage.

    Neti Pot

    I’ve found that nasal sprays can get pretty expensive. If you invest in a neti pot, you can irrigate your nasal passages and sinus a lot better and for less money. If you are not familar with a neti pot, it looks kind of like a teapot, but you put the spigot in your nostril! It sounds strange and feels very strange at first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to and can feel pleasant actually.

    One quick note, I believe there is such a thing as overdoing it though. Doing it more than once a day I feel starts to upset the balance in your nasal passages and sinuses. I only do it once every other day.

    Here is a recipe for your own neti pot solution:

    -1C Distilled Water (not tap, boiled tap, or filtered tap. Distilled is the safest)
    -1/4 tsp non-iodized table salt
    -1/2 tsp xylitol
    -4 drops grapefruit seed extract (optional)

    Make sure your neti pot is thoroughly cleaned before each use. You don’t want to rocket germs into your sinuses.

    Steam Bowl

    Really a hot shower will serve a similar purpose, but I do find a steam bowl to be particularly relieving. It’s very simple. You boil a pot of water, you carefully pour it in a bowl on a table, then put your head over the bowl and breath the steam. A towel over your head helps trap and concentrate the steam.

    A few drops of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil in the water really help open things up.

    A couple of important things to note. First, you want to make sure your table is stable and that your bowl is not cracked. The last thing you want is spilling boiling hot water all over yourself or others. Also, when you first pour the boiling water in the bowl, you want to keep your face well above the bowl and move in slowly. It’s not difficult to burn your face or your respiratory tract if you stick your face right up to the water if it’s too hot.

    Once it is a good temperature, you can start to take deep breaths. This helps clear the lungs I find.

    Another important note is that this is not a good remedy for kids, in case you think to use this for your child if they have a cold or something. Kids and a bowl of boiling hot water don’t mix well.

    Eye Drops

    Eyes are easily irritated by e-cigarette vapor. While you can help by blowing clouds away from your eyes, you can also help with lubricating eye drops. I find the best lubricating eye drops are preservative free, single use vials. I’ve had success with the ones that have carboxymethylcellulose sodium. You can pick up a generic brand at the big box stores typically.

    Humidifier/Air Purifier

    If it’s the middle of a cold, dry winter and you have the humidity way down in your house, well you already have a source of respiratory irritation. Try sleeping with a humidifier in your room. There are ultrasonic models that make a cool vapor; much safer if you have children in the house.

    Just keep an eye on your humidity level. Too much humidity will promote mold growth. Especially on windows in cold weather.

    An air purifier is another great appliance to have in your bedroom to minimize irritants while you sleep. This includes dust/dander, mold spores, and other floating junk.

    Get Outdoors

    I think good physical exertion away from air pollution is a good way to get blood flowing, clear your respiratory tract and also get a reading on your health. If you stick to a similar routine, you can get a sense of whether or not you are having a difficult time, if you’re running out of breath more, or perhaps if you are improving overall. I always time how long it takes me to complete my particular stroll in the woods.

    Hope this info helps.
  2. r77r7r

    r77r7r ECF Guru ECF Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Along with some of the things you mentioned, I'm just starting to take Claritin. Most days year long I'm always blowing my nose and in the winter now have to follow with saline. I want to try to stop losing all that moisture that I blow out. We'll see. I'll be trying that xlear soon also. Tx for the tips.
  3. CAAB

    CAAB Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 9, 2019
    New York
    I was prescribed Claritin a while back but it gave me migraines and made me vomit, just my luck.

    In my case, a lot of my mucus problems were related to dairy. Had to totally cut it out. I still have to blow my nose every morning and throughout the day. Next step is to see a specialist I think to see if it's something in the air or in my diet, or just something structural like a deviated septum.

    Did you ever find out what causes your nasal issues? Is it vaping related, or other things?
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