Don't Panic Over Neti Pot Deaths, It's Not That Bad

neti pot

In today's edition of "Never Would Have Predicted This in a Million Years," neti pots are killing people. And this news couldn't come at a worse time -- right in the middle of cold and flu season! People swear by their neti pots. The are one of the most popular methods of naturally treating and preventing a cold going, and many folks use them religiously. So the news that two people in Louisiana died this year from neti pots is probably terribly upsetting to them, and have them wondering if they should just toss the little teapot in the trash or just give it to their toddler to play genie. But as with any major health scare knee-jerk, that is exactly what you should not do. There's a lot more to this story than just a very alarming headline.

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Irrigating your sinuses is still a very good idea because it helps to flush mucous and harmful bacteria and germs from your nose and you should not stop doing it. Plus it's a lot cheaper than prescription nasal steroids. The two people who died -- a 20-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman -- used regular tap water in their neti pots, and this water just so happened to contain an evil amoeba that grabbed onto their nasal passages and climbed up to their brains. The amoeba is usually not a problem if you drink it in tap water, only when it manages to get up into your nostrils, as is what also happened to several people who died this summer after swimming in lakes.

This is where they went wrong -- they used unsterilized tap water in their pots. This is a very rare thing. Two people in the whole state of Louisiana. Very sad and worth letting others know about because it kills about 95 percent of the people it infects. But at the same time, it's not worth inducing a nationwide neti pot prohibition.

Here's how you should use your neti pot safely, according to Louisiana State Epidemiologist, Dr. Raoult Ratard:

-- Use distilled or sterile  to make up the irrigation solution

-- Use tap water that has been previously boiled.

-- Rinse the irrigation device after each use and leave open to air dry

And that's it. Follow these simple steps and you'll be safe from your neti pot.

Have you been following these safety precautions when using your neti pot?

 

Image via dennis/Flickr

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