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Don't Use Tap Water in Neti Pots–It Could Kill You

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If you use a Neti Pot for cleaning out your sinuses, you might want to read the latest news from health regulators in Louisiana. Although some people swear by the neti pot, if not used correctly, it can be especially dangerous. In fact, several people have died as a result of using tap water in their neti pots, rather than using boiled or distilled water.

A 51-year-old woman in Louisiana died of a rare, but deadly brain-eating amoeba called Naegleria fowleri which was in the tap water that she used in her neti pot. The amoeba apparently entered her body through her nose. Additionally, a 20-year-old man also died from the same amoeba present in the tap water he used in his neti pot.

Epidemologists warn neti pot users to only use sterilized water to irrigate their sinuses and to also rinse out and leave the neti pot open to dry after use to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria. Naegleria fowleri is commonly acquired when individuals swim in warm bodies of water like lakes or rivers and infects very few people. The amoeba cause a brain disease called primary amebic meningoencephalitis, which literally eats the brain tissue. In the early stages, symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and stiff neck. More advanced symptoms of the disease include confusion, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations and ultimately death occurs within 1-12 days.