Neti Pot dangers? Only if you use tap water

December 20, 2011

For those with sinus problems, the Neti Pot offers some relief. It’s a nasal irrigation system that uses what looks like a small ceramic teapot to flush the sinuses.

However, news has broken nationally of two deaths in Louisiana tied to the Neti Pot. Instead of using distilled or boiled water, two people were found to have used tap water — which is safe for drinking — that led to a deadly “brain eating” infection.

People read such headlines and can be scared, so I spoke with our Nick Debnath, MD, Washington University otolaryngologist at Barnes-Jewish. He says there is scientific data that prove the Neti Pot is great for allergies and nasal hygiene and they’re very safe as long as you use distilled water.

There’s the rub. The directions say not to use tap water, but in the hustle and bustle of life, many may try to shortcut by using tap water. Unfortunately, tap water can contain amoebas that may be harmless to drink, but may be something far more dangerous when run directly up one’s nostril.

For more, watch this interview with our Mark Levine, MD, with KSDK’s Kay Quinn:

-Jason Merrill

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