With winter weather settling in, many are reaching for a neti pot to relieve sinus problems. But a scare with the device in Seattle, Washington is leaving many wondering if they should give it up.
The FDA and doctors both confirm neti pots have many benefits, especially for those with nasal allergies, if they are used properly.
A 69-year-old woman in Seattle contracted a brain-eating amoeba from her neti pot and died. The amoeba entered through her nasal cavity, went into her bloodstream and eventually to her brain. She was using tap water in the device.
“It is a rare case, so I don’t want people to get alarmed by it. Never use tap water. Use distilled water. Boil your water and have it come back to room temperature,” said Dr. Mike Sevilla, a family practitioner with Family Practice Center of Salem.
Sevilla offered other tips on how to make sure you are properly using and cleaning your neti pot:
- Use distilled, sterile or boiled tap water (let the water cool before using)
- Clean the neti pot according to manufacturer’s instructions
- Make sure the neti pot is completely dry before using following the cleaning
- Change your neti pot every few months
If you are unsure of how to use a neti pot, talk to your doctor beforehand to make sure you have the right instructions.