There's a few more other points about neti pots that I should mention:
1. Ann-Marie at The Succulent Wife reminded me that there are different types of nasal irrigation systems available now. She did a blog post about SinuSense, which sells a battery operated system that pumps water into the sinus cavity. I have several friends that prefer this style for their irrigation needs. I will say that I keep a neti pot in my shower when I'm sick so I can just integrate into my 'shower bidness' and I'm not sure you can do that with the battery-operated systems. (Does anyone know?) Something to keep in mind if you're shopping for neti pots. Also, I like to replace my neti pot every year, so I always buy the cheapest one out there (which is not the battery-operated kind).
2. A research study presented at a conference in 2009 showed that people who used a neti pot every day ended up with MORE colds than those that only used them occasionally. The Dr. Dorks hypothesize that daily nasal irrigation disrupts the normal mucus that accumulates in the sinuses which functions to keep bacteria and viruses out. That said, I have friends that use their neti pot daily and never get sick. Just something to keep in mind.
3. My kids all use a neti pot when they are sick (beginning at 8 years old). They don't find the practice at all disgusting (perhaps because the rest of their world is so disgusting to begin with). Like with adults, the trick is just making sure they are leaning way over the sink so the salt water doesn't go down their throat.
4. Some people like to double up on the salt packets when they are really congested. I think it's personal preference. I have used two packets occasionally and it burns....like if you stuck a Q-tip with wasabi mustard in your nose.
5. Not related to neti pots but related to colds...there was just a large review of the scientific evidence on zinc lozenges and colds. When taken with 24 hours of coming down with symptoms, zinc lozenges can reduce the severity and duration of a cold. Every little bit helps, right?