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There is a story that had been trending on the news sites a few years ago that tells the story of a woman in Louisiana that died after contracting naegleria fowleri, an infection caused by a deadly amoeba that attacks the brain. She was infected by using tap water in the neti pot that she used for nasal irrigation.
As a result there was talk all over the internet about how it is dangerous to use a neti pot. But millions of sinus and allergy sufferers use neti pots daily without harm.
In order to use a neti pot safely there are a few things that you can do:
1. Always use distilled water or water that has been previously boiled.
2. Only use your neti pot for nasal irrigation. Do not use it for any other purpose.
3. Clean your neti pot after each use and allow it to fully air dry before storing (this prevents mold, mildew and bacteria from growing)
4. Do not share your neti pot with others.
Luckily, the instance of the naegleria fowleri infection is incredibly rare.
The very rare infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater lakes and rivers. In very rare instances, health experts said such infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources, such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated tap water less than 116.6 degrees, enters the nose when people submerge their heads or when people irrigate their sinuses with devices such as a neti pot.
DHH said the amoeba causes the disease primary amebic meningoencephalitis, a brain infection that leads to the destruction of brain tissue. In its early stages, symptoms may be similar to symptoms of bacterial meningitis and can include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and stiff neck. Later symptoms include confusion, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations.
For more on the story, please visit Nola.com.