Dear Matthew Alice: Those funky nose clips all the athletes are wearing— wots the deal? Is there a proven medical benefit, or is this good old-fashioned American marketing (i.e., lies) at work? I’ve heard they help people with deviated septums breathe better, up to 30 percent better. What’s the contact point for the manufacturer? — “Natural Man,” from Ketchikan (AK)
The fussbudgets at the FDA gave the Breathe Right their big, wet smacking kiss of approval, and the inventor built a shrine to his deviated septum with one of the bags of cash he’s earned. The device was developed by an engineer who’s not a doctor and has never even wanted to play one on TV. The gadget is like a small bandage with a springy plastic spine in it. When you stick the bandage across your nose, just under the bridge, the flex in the plastic pulls open your nasal passages to increase the air flow. Breathe Right gets good reviews from doctors who specialize in otolaryng-something-or-other and naso-rhino-whatever, and even one guy who’s on some world-famous paranasal sinus committee. They say, for people who have simple breathing problems (including snoring) related to asthma, allergies, or a deviated septum, Breathe Right is a good alternative to nasal sprays and mechanical devices that are stuffed up your nose to force the passage open. I’d think anything would be a good alternative to that. Anyway, the big sales boost for Breathe Right Came when Jerry Rice wore one in the Super Bowl. Nobody’s studied how much faster it made Jerry run, but doctors speculate that athletes who wear mouth guards and must breathe through their noses could benefit. Just how much is still a question. So, Natch, take a deep breath and head down to your local drugaterium, where you’ll find a box of the gizmos on the shelf. No prescription needed. Each bandage has a nose-life of about 12 hours or 100 yards, whichever comes first.