A neti pot is designed to flush out your sinuses. Some find it uncomfortable or weird, but many people swear by its effectiveness.
Whether you use it occasionally or regularly, please be sure you use it safely.
One Seattle woman used a neti pot but made a small mistake that resulted in her death.
The 69-year-old woman came down with a rare infection because of how she used her neti pot, and suffered for nearly a year before doctors diagnosed what was wrong with her: amoeba from the water had invaded her body.
It was too late for her by the time she sought help, and she died.
It was all because of the type of water she used.
Last year, the International Journal of Infectious Diseases published the woman’s unusual case. She was not identified by name.
After months of suffering, the woman experienced a seizure, and went to the emergency room.
Physicians at the Swedish Medical Center looked at her scans and saw what seemed like a tumor.
However, after they opened her up, they realized what was really in her nasal cavity.
“When I operated on this lady, a section of her brain about the size of a golf ball was bloody mush,” one of the surgeons said. “There were these amoeba all over the place just eating brain cells. We didn’t have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue we could see it was the amoeba.”
Unfortunately, roughly one month after the surgery, the patient passed away.
After doing some digging, they found that there have been 109 cases of this particular amoebic infection in the U.S. since 1974. Most of them have resulted in fatality.
The good news is that the amoeba cannot survive in city-treated water. However, certain freshwater sources (including wells) are used all over the states, including in Washington state, where this woman resided.
The woman in this story used filtered water, but that isn’t the same thing as being sanitized or sterilized.
There have been documented cases in the U.S. of other ameoba infections as well, not just the one that caused this patient to die.
The infection the woman contracted presents with common symptoms at first — this means it can be easily missed. According to her medical records, the first symptom she noticed after using the neti pot was a sore on her nose.
Doctors thought it was rosacea. Now they know that it may have been the very first sign that she had an infection.
The FDA has said that the devices may be safe, but have warned that they need to be used according to directions.
The good news for people reading this story is that the amoeba that she contracted is very rare. However, it is deadly. So doctors are advising anyone who uses a neti pot to be aware of the potential problem and follow the directions properly.
People use neti pots as needed when they have a cold or sinus infection. Some people use them regularly, especially if they have allergies or chronic sinus problems.
No matter how often you use one, it’s imperative that you use sanitized water or pre-sterilized saline solution. Regular tapwater or well water could be dangerous — even if it’s filtered.
Share this article with anyone you know who uses a neti pot.
This story originally appeared at Goodfullness.
Goodfullness started to fill the void that traditional media publications leave, particularly on the fast-growing social Web. With stories helping you lead an informed, healthy, and inspired life, Goodfullness fills society's need for for a positive, interesting spin on the world around us with creative story-telling.