Science

Nasal Irrigation Pots Increase Risk For Brain-Eating Amoebas

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 16, 2017 06:14 AM EST
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Due to the record-breaking flu infections recorded this winter season, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues a health warning about the improper use of nasal irrigation pots which can increase the risk of brain-eating amoeba infection. After appearing on the Oprah show, Neti pots have been popularly used to relieve symptoms of flu such as nasal congestion. However, the type of water used can cause serious health issue.

The FDA says using tap water isn’t safe to use for a nasal rinse since a number of microbes might be present in it. People need to use filtered or treated water to prevent getting infections. Also ideal for use is previously boiled water.

For those who are new to the idea of using nasal irrigation pots and nasal flushing, the concept is pretty simple. The spout of the pot is placed in one nostril while tilting the head at about a 45 degree angle off of vertical, so the other nostril is lower. The pot is held high to allow salty water to flow in one nostril and out of the other, flushing debris out with it, the Today reports.

This helps flush out clogged nasal passages and help people breathe easier, making it popular this flu season. They are typically used to treat congested sinuses, colds, and allergies, and moisten nasal passages to relieve the pain caused by dry indoor air. For the most part, according to the FDA, neti pots are safe as long as people are careful to clean them regularly, and use the right source of water in the saline solution, the WFMY News2 reports.

In the past years, a few deaths in the US have been linked to neti pot use. Health authorities were able to trace the water the victims used and found it had been contaminated with an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri, also known as the “brain-eating amoeba.” The FDA is concerned similar incidents may occur due to the recent rise of nasal irrigation pot use.

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