You’re going to need to know about the brain-eating amoebas

When you move to Austin, right after everybody tells you how much cooler Austin was X years ago, everybody tells you that if you don’t have allergies now, you’ll get them in X years.

Here is what you do about that. It is kinda gross, but you’ll live.

When you get desperate enough, and you’ve taken all the allergy meds you legally can, and a medieval blacksmith is still refereeing a step show in your skull, get a neti pot/plastic bottle and some saline mix. Lots of these are for sale out there, and lots of instructions too, so I’ll just give some advice my friends and family have confessed to, after we all confessed to doing this.

  • The saline packets are cheap at pharmacies, but you can mix your own (see below).
  • Don’t save time by using cold water. And really, go slow, and pour like they say to do. Squirting a bottle of cold salt up your snoot is unpleasant enough to deter you from trying this a second time. Don’t get deterred.
  • You can expect a small amount of relief right away. If your head clogs up again later, head back to the sink and repeat. And repeat.
  • You’re going to need to know about the brain-eating amoebas. My friend Mary Ann wrote ’em up a while back. Bottom line: Use distilled water. (See below for one way to warm up the water.)

Saline mix

One part baking soda, one part kosher salt. For example, a cup of soda plus a cup of salt. Stir them up good, and Mom says maybe even whirl them in the blender real quick, which makes them more powdery and quick-dissolving. Mom history factoid: Kosher salt doesn’t have anti-caking ingredients, which apparently were the big advantage of Morton’s Salt back when they started using the slogan “When it rains, it pours.” Which is why the girl on the label is carrying an umbrella while salt rains down on her, which never made any sense at all to me till Mom said that just now.

Mom’s neat trick for warming the water

Since you are not using warm tap water because of the amoebas, and since you are probably not doing this in the kitchen because your family would disown you, here is one way to warm the water in the bathroom. If you are using a plastic bottle for your neti pot, that is.

  • Get one of your big plastic cups from the football concession stand. Or as I call it, the Aggie wedding registry.
  • While you’re in the shower, catch some hot water in the football cup.
  • Float your neti bottle (filled with water/saline) in the warm cup of tap water.
  • Test the saline solution’s temperature (on your wrist, baby-bottle-fashion) because it warms up pretty fast, and it can warm up too much.
  • When roommates ask what the eff you are doing, tell ’em it’s a backwoods bain-marie.

Why do we have sinuses anyway? Is it a mammal thing? I never see deer with headaches.

Anyway, I hope this helps a few folks — please leave more tips or nice notes to my Mom in the comments if you want! 🙂

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