At MD 2.0, we provide patients with superior primary care. We want to be the first to know about any health concerns that may arise. Primary care is performed and managed by your personal physician, Dr. Poncy or Dr. Lubarsky who are available to you 24/7.
Drs. Lubarsky and Poncy believe in more than just treating you when you are sick. Our preventative medicine doctors want to ensure you are healthy year round by promoting a healthy lifestyle, yearly executive level physical exams, and helping to prevent disease.
At MD 2.0, our concierge physician practice focuses on providing high quality care and individualized attention to each patient. Our model allows us to spend more time with each patient, allowing us to work closely with you on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and complex illnesses.
Board Certified Internist in Jupiter, FLDr. Amir Lubarsky's love of medicine allows him to listen compassionately and intently to his patients in order to provide the best outcomes.
Board Certified Internal Medicine Doctor in Jupiter, FLDr. Morgan Poncy is a board certified internist who was raised in the Jupiter area.
Because our concierge primary care doctors in Jupiter have been receiving more questions about the effectiveness of Neti pots for various sinus conditions, we thought we’d take some time to explore their usefulness—and to reiterate a special warning about their use.
What is a neti pot?
Neti pots are one type of nasal irrigation device that use a saline or saltwater solution to treat congested sinuses, colds, allergies, and congestion from flu and COVID-19.
These devices include the teapot-looking container that originated with Ayurvedic medicine in India, along with bulb syringes, squeeze bottles, and more expensive motorized pulsed water devices.
In general, these devices all introduce salt water (saline) into the nostrils to flush out mucus, allergens, and bacteria. The saline helps thin the mucus, making it easier to expel.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that such saline rinsing “can remove dust, pollen, and other debris, as well as help to loosen thick mucus. It can also help relieve nasal symptoms of sinus infections, allergies, colds, and flu.
“Plain water can irritate your nose,” the agency says. “The saline allows the water to pass through delicate nasal membranes with little or no burning or irritation.”
How do they work?
“There are various ways to deliver saline to the nose,” says Eric A. Mann, M.D., and Ph.D., a doctor at the FDA.
“Nasal spray bottles deliver a fine mist and might be useful for moisturizing dry nasal passages. But irrigation devices are better at flushing the nose and clearing out mucus, allergens, and bacteria,” he says.
Information that comes with each device can give more specific instructions, but in general, the FDA says they all work basically the same way:
- Leaning over a sink, tilt your head sideways with your forehead and chin roughly level to avoid liquid flowing into your mouth.
- Breathing through your open mouth, insert the spout of the saline-filled container into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril.
- Clear your nostrils. Then repeat the procedure, tilting your head sideways to the other side.
While some people experience immediate relief from their symptoms, for others it may take a few days to begin breathing more freely.
And experts caution that—like oral decongestants—nasal irrigation devices are simply a treatment for a symptom, not a cure for the underlying cause.
Although the FDA says that neti pots and other similar nasal irrigation devices are generally safe, they may not be right for everyone. If your immune system isn’t working properly, the agency advises checking with your healthcare provider before using any nasal irrigation system.
A few users report ear discomfort, nasal irritation, a burning or stinging sensation, and even nosebleeds. But in general, the FDA considers them safe to use, even for children aged two and up.
The most significant warning, however, concerns the type of water used in them.
“Tap water isn’t safe for use as a nasal rinse because it’s not adequately filtered or treated,” the FDA cautions.
“Some tap water contains low levels of organisms—such as bacteria and protozoa, including amoebas—that may be safe to swallow because stomach acid kills them. But in your nose, these organisms can stay alive in nasal passages and cause potentially serious infections.”
They can even be deadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. Since 1993, there have been at least 70 cases of “brain-eating” amoeba infections in the U.S., which are “almost uniformly fatal,” the agency reports.
The safety of neti pots and other such nasal irrigation devices—including the motorized versions—depends on the type of water used and how meticulously the containers are cleaned after each use.
The FDA lists the following types of water as safe to use for neti pots and similar devices:
- Distilled or sterile water, which you can buy in stores. The label will state “distilled” or “sterile.”
- Boiled and cooled tap water—boiled for three to five minutes, then cooled until it is lukewarm. Previously boiled water can be stored in a clean, closed container for use within 24 hours.
- Water passes through a filter designed to trap potentially infectious organisms. The CDC has information on these filters here.
To safely use and care for your device:
- Wash and dry your hands.
- Check that the device is clean and completely dry.
- Prepare the saline rinse, either with the prepared mixture supplied with the device, or one you make yourself.
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
- Wash the device, and dry the inside with a paper towel or let it air dry between uses.
Does it Work?
Most people who use neti pots to relieve nasal congestion and allergies swear by them, especially if they want to avoid using over-the-counter decongestants.
“Just about any condition that causes irritants and mucus to build up inside the nose will benefit from saltwater rinsing with a net pot or similar device,” Richard Orlandi, a nasal and sinus specialist and professor of surgery at the University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City, told Consumer Reports (CR).
“These include allergies, nonallergic nose irritation, colds, and sinus inflammation and infections,” he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that rinsing your nose with saline does not prevent COVID-19, by the way.
If saline rinsing doesn’t relieve your symptoms, or if you have a fever, nosebleeds, or headaches while using the devices, let us know.
Humans evolved in the natural world. We may have retreated to caves or huts to protect ourselves from the elements, but we spent much of our time outdoors, hunting, gathering, cooking, telling stories, and so on. Our lives these days, though, are largely spent cut off from nature.
This way of life has sparked a wealth of studies showing that our loss of contact with nature—dubbed “nature deficit disorder”—has a real impact on our physical and mental health.
So our primary care concierge doctors in Jupiter weren’t too surprised to learn of a new study published this month in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, which found that enjoying nature up to four times a week reduced the odds of needing mental health medications by 33 percent.
It also reduced the odds of using blood pressure pills by 36 percent and asthma medications by 26 percent.
Researchers interviewed about 6,000 people who live in large cities in Finland, asking about their access to and use of green and blue spaces, including parks, zoos, rivers, lakes, or the sea.
They also asked subjects whether they could see views of nature from their homes, how often they spent time outdoors as well as how much they exercised while outdoors.
The study also accounted for other possible factors such as traffic-related outdoor air pollution and noise, which have been proven to have an adverse effect on health.
Respondents were then asked about their use of medications for depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, asthma, or insomnia, and correlated these with time spent in nature.
As noted above, the results were markedly better for those who were regularly exposed to green or blue spaces. Notably, those who lived in areas with a lot of green spaces or who simply looked at nature from their windows showed no improvement in any of these categories.
“Frequent green space visits, but not the amounts of residential green or blue spaces, or green and blue views from home, were associated with less frequent use of psychotropic, antihypertensive, and asthma medication in urban environments,” the study authors wrote.
Confirming Prior Research
Numerous earlier studies have found significant benefits from spending time in nature.
One meta-review of 143 other studies published in the journal Environmental Research, for example, found that people with access to green space generally had a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and fewer blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Researchers also found significantly fewer cases of diabetes and lower rates of mortality from heart disease in the group regularly exposed to nature.
An American Institutes for Research (AIR) study in 2005 found that sixth-grade students who attended three outdoor education programs showed marked improvement in conflict resolution skills.
Another study in China in 2013 involved 60,000 children between the ages of two and 17. It showed that regular exposure to nature, or “greenness” around their schools, reduced the incidence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A more recent study at the University of Illinois produced similar results.
And a 2016 study of nearly 100,000 women conducted over eight years found that having access to the greenest space not only improved the subjects’ mental health but also reduced their death rate by 12 percent.
Nature Deprivation Hurts
Author Richard Louv coined the phrase Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) in his 2005 book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder.” In it, he argued that elements of our urbanized lifestyle, including few natural spaces, a car-focused culture, more screen time, changes in the perception of risk (e.g., fear of “stranger danger”), less leisure time, and increased time pressure from work or school, combine to decrease or even eliminate contact with nature for both adults and children, according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH).
“The average young American now spends practically every minute—except for the time in school—using a smartphone, computer, television, or electronic device,” Tamar Lewin reported in a Kaiser Family Foundation study on the subject.
According to the Children and Nature Network (C-NN), which was co-founded by Louv, an expanding body of scientific evidence suggests that nature-deficit disorder contributes to:
- diminished use of the senses
- attention difficulties
- conditions of obesity, and
- higher rates of emotional and physical illnesses
Make the Connection
Unfortunately, to get back to nature, you may need to make a specific effort, because in our harried lives trapped indoors, focused on our screens, we have very little time for real relaxation.
Therefore, it’s often necessary to add nature breaks to our schedules the same way we schedule everything else.
One way is to undertake the Japanese practice known as “forest bathing,” or shinrin-yoku. As Kaiser Permanente’s’ online Thrive explains, “Heading out to a heavily wooded area isn’t required. You could take a trip to a nearby park, your favorite local trail, the beach, or any natural setting. Just be sure to turn off or silence your phone or other devices.”
Psychology Today explains, “Forest bathing is an antidote to pinging distractions, impending deadlines, and never-ending obligations . . . . The idea is to immerse yourself in a natural environment and soak up the many health benefits of being in the green woods.”
However, you manage it, for the sake of your overall health we recommend you take the time to reconnect with the natural world as often as possible.
My husband and I have been patients of Dr. Poncy for over ten years and have been extremely pleased and happy for him. He is not only a brilliant internist, but also a wonderful person. Now that he and his partner, Dr. Lubarsky, have opened the concierge practice it is better than ever. The nursing staff is superlative as is the front office staff. The office is very well appointed and comfortable. We feel very fortunate to have such a competent and caring physician.
About 11 years ago, I first met with Dr. Poncy. I came away from my appointment with him confident he understood my problem and contributed some thoughtful suggestions. Over the years, he has never changed. The outstanding staff Dr. Poncy has put together, along with his partner, Dr. Lubarsky, are the best! I honestly feel, when I have an appointment, it is like visiting "family".
I recommend Dr Lubarsky emphatically. He is a true professional: thorough, compassionate and an excellent diagnostician!
We have been concierge members for only 6 months but so far we have been very pleased. The office atmosphere is very relaxed and the doctor is able to give us the time we need. Time in the waiting room is minimal and we have been able to obtain spur of the moment appointments with no difficulty. We are happy that we joined
The new practice has a very warm, friendly, feeling to it. We don't have long waiting times. Everyone is very prompt.
I have been a patient for over 30 years. I actually look forwarded to a visit. Pleasant, professional in every way, I consider myself very lucky.
A great Dr. & great staff, minimum wait time. Spends as much time with you as you need. Same day appointments.
Dr. Poncy has been my primary care doctor for over 8 years. I've known Dr. Poncy for over 8 years. My neighbor recommended him for my diabetes and heart problem. The staff at Dr. Poncy's office is always very pleasant and Dr. Poncy is very patient to my concerns.
I have been a patient of Dr. Lubarsky since 2004. He has been such a great physician to me and my wife for several years. Recently, I was hospitalized at Jupiter Medical Center. My wife contacted him and he immediately responded and came to the hospital. Without Dr. Lubarsky's support, I don't think I would be at the health level I am at today.
I'm a big fan of Dr. Lubarsky! After moving from New York, I researched area Internist throughout Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens. Dr. Lubarsky was a home run!