Following Neti Pot Directions and Allergies

Sometimes I feel like I don’t need to follow the instructions when using things. I know, I know…..but reading them takes forever!

Neti Pots are an exception.

Benefits for allergies

Neti pots come in different shapes and sizes and are used to rinse out the sinuses.

Have you ever used a Neti pot? It’s REALLY fun….it’s like jumping into a swimming pool - without plugging your nose. And then your nose runs, and runs, and runs. I feel like a toddler with a snotty nose.

Asthma Doc always told me that using a Neti pot is just as effective as using an antibiotic for sinus infections. My whole family has allergies and having year-round allergies can lead to sinus infections for us. Asthma Doc taught us to use a Neti pot if our allergies are really bad, if we have a lot of drainage,  or feel like a sinus infection might be starting.

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Only use distilled water

But he told us to make sure we are ONLY USING DISTILLED water in the Neti Pot.  Why?

Well, think about it – the sinuses are connected to the brain. Do you want to put water that isn’t 100% sterile into your nose? And have that water go up into your brain?

Some people may not have distilled water on hand and may think “Meh – I’ll just use tap water. What could go wrong?”

Well…’s VERY, very rare – but people have died after using tap water instead of distilled water in a Neti Pot. There is nothing wrong with using a Neti Pot, but you have to follow the directions and use sterile water!

Tap water may seem clean, and cities can filter out many impurities but can’t make the water sterile. In rare cases, there can be a parasite in the water that can cause a brain infection. Crazy, right?

I’m a Public Health nerd and love to listen to medical podcasts. There is one called “Monsters Inside Us.” The episodes talk about all sorts of really random (and rare) things that can happen to the human body. Weird infections, parasites, inhaling objects, swallowing objects, and all of the havoc that can cause on a body.

One of the stories was about a child who was swimming in a lake and became sick. What his family didn’t realize was that the child had water go up his nose, and that water had a parasite called Naegleria fowleri (1) Sadly, the parasite then made its way to his brain and the child died. It was a heartbreaking episode to listen to.

The parasite is known as the “brain-eating amoeba” because if the water goes up your nose, it can travel to your brain and – well, do what the name says. Damage the brain.

Right after I listened to that podcast, there was a story on the news about someone who died of brain-eating amoeba from “possibly” using contaminated tap water to rinse his sinuses. (2)


Follow careful instructions to help allergies

Am I going to keep using my Neti pot? Yes. Am I going to follow the instructions? Also yes!

I made sure I read the directions and had a new bottle of distilled water. I washed my hands before using it, then cleaned out my Neti pot with hot sudsy water.

If you didn’t read the instructions on your Neti Pot – go back and read them!  Talk to your doctor about any other precautions you need to take.

It’s safe to use as directed.

1.       Centers for Disease Control, Naegleria Fowleri Accessed April 24, 2023

2.       NPR, A man dies of a brain-eating amoeba, possibly from rinsing his sinuses with tap water. Accessed April 24, 2023

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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