Death by Neti Pot. Amoebas on the loose.

Via Roger Wolsey
on Dec 16, 2011
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Two deaths from brain-eating amoeba linked to sinus remedy for colds.

U.S state issues health warning after neti pot is linked to two deaths

Last updated at 2:28 PM on 16th December 2011

A sinus-flushing device used to relieve colds and allergies has been linked to a deadly brain-eating amoeba.
Louisiana’s state health department issued a warning about neti pots – which look like mini watering cans, that are used by pouring salty water through one nostril.

It follows two recent deaths – a 51-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man from the ‘brain-eating amoeba’ Naegleria fowleri. It is thought the amoeba entered their brains when they used the devices.

Both victims are thought to have used tap water, instead of distilled or sterilised water as recommended by the manufacturers.
Dr Raoult Ratard, Louisiana State Epidemiologist, said: ‘If you are irrigating, flushing, or rinsing your sinuses, for example, by using a neti pot, use distilled, sterile or previously boiled water to make up the irrigation solution.

‘Tap water is safe for drinking, but not for irrigating your nose.’

He added that it is important to rinse the irrigation device after each use and leave open to air dry.

Half of all orange juice served in cafes…

According to The Department of Health and Hospitals in Louisiana, the amoeba causes the disease primary amebic meningoencephalitis, a brain infection that leads to the destruction of brain tissue.
In its early stages, symptoms may be similar to symptoms of bacterial meningitis and can include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and stiff neck. Later symptoms include confusion, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations.
After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within one to 12 days…

Read more.

On a related note, daily use of neti pots can be risky too.


Bottom Line: Use only distilled or boiled water and non-iodized salt with your neti pot!  It might also be best to use neti pots only while you are actually sick, or feel that you’re about to become ill, and not use it on a daily basis.

I use a neti pot, but rarely…it’s as close to being water-boarded as I ever want to come.

~ Roger

Wolsey is the author of Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity


About Roger Wolsey

Roger Wolsey is a free-spirited GenX-er who thinks and feels a lot about God and Jesus. He’s a progressive Christian who identifies with people who consider themselves as being “spiritual but not religious.” He came of age during the “Minneapolis sound” era and enjoyed seeing The Replacements, The Jayhawks, Husker Du, The Wallets, Trip Shakespeare, Prince, and Soul Asylum in concert—leading to strong musical influences to his theology. He earned his Masters of Divinity degree at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Roger is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and he currently serves as the director of the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at C.U. in Boulder, CO. He was married for ten years, divorced in 2005 and now co-parents a delightful 10-year old son. Roger loves live music, hosting house concerts, rock-climbing, yoga, centering prayer, trail-running with his dog Kingdom, dancing, camping, riding his motorcycle, blogging, and playing his trumpet in ska bands and music projects. He's recently written a book Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity


23 Responses to “Death by Neti Pot. Amoebas on the loose.”

  1. Marie says:

    I have been using neti daily for a very long time and find it to help my meditations, balance my mind, and improve not only my nasal functioning but eye health too.

    Its a sacred ancient practice that can potentially change peoples lives when done over time for the best by opening some of the most important nadi's in the body that are located in the nasal area.

    Yes, using safe water is a concern and the right salt but doing it daily is an amazing yogic practice of great value and is good for health and safe.

  2. Yikes! Well, one more thing to add to the germaphobe files! I don't use a neti pot that often, but this definitely gives me pause to make sure it is super clean!

  3. Roger Wolsey says:

    Marie, just know that there are certain risks with using one on a daily basis.

  4. anon says:

    I was told to use the neti pot when i am actually healthy, not when i just get sick, but i did question this. thanks for the post.

  5. LizzyLou says:

    I used to use a neti pot but never really got into the habit. I do think it helps maintain healthy sinuses as well as provide relief when they’re stuffed up. I’ve been using a new electric neti pot called Navage that makes the process much cleaner and easier — which means I actually use it every morning! I’m convinced it keeps me healthier; it definitely helps my breathe better.

  6. STEVE says:


  7. nope says:

    it's just the FDA trying to scare people, drug companies don't make $ off of netti pots!

  8. shellydicks says:

    I'm pretty sure that if you are using the correct ratio of salt in your water it would kill any bacteria or amoebic life in the water. I'm no cell biologist, though. Does that sound right to anyone else?

  9. Jessica says:

    Courtesy of the Ayurvedic Institute in Abq, NM:
    Read about Nasya, the time honored tradition of applying medicines through the nasal passages. Not a good idea to use a microwave when thinking about wellness and holistic health. Not sure about the logic there. If you want to sterilize something, than apply or immerse in boiling water. Please contact an Ayurvedic professional/Ayurvedic MD, or the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque for accurate information regarding Neti Pot usage.

  10. Roger Wolsey says:

    Jessica, I have written about the die off among the bees and the problems with GMOs on Elephant. Look 'em up! : )
    Sadly, those posts only had 2-400 visits whereas this one has had over 5,000. Agreed. It's peculiar where people place their priorities and concerns.

  11. Jessica says:

    Roger, I see you have many articles, but not able to find a bee article in particular (no big deal). My concern is that as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, an article like this brings ignorant folks to the concept that Neti Pot must be the cause, when I find the science questionable to begin with regarding the focus on this issue being Neti. The bottom line is, our water supply, not neti pot.The scientist in question is stating it's okay to swallow these amoeba, but not get them up our nose. How about a shower or swimming where water tends to go up the nose? I could care less about the flash headline response readership and more about the quality of message we are perpetuating. is this really about Neti Pot or about the contaminated water supply??

  12. Jessica says:

    And, if we need a testament about the ignorance in the world, I'm sure the Bible can provide us with many proverbs on the subject.

  13. Roger Wolsey says:

    Jessica, here's the one re: bees,….
    If my blog about neti pots gets people thinking and talking about the water supply, I am pleased and consider this a success. Thank you for having made those connections and furthering the conversation.

  14. […] month, we reported that Tap Water in Neti Pots had Killed Two People. Two Louisiana residents have died after being infected with the so-called […]

  15. Stef says:

    Uh, why is the FDA not concerned about someone consuming this infectious water? The netti pot isn't the problem, it's the water.

  16. Stef says:

    Oh, and a side note : people don't like Christianity because all people are sinful and enemies of God, by nature ( just as He tells us in His Word). Sure there are legalist, but one shouldn't base Jesus off how another acts ect, people are sinful and have faults (all people) you can observe anyone to find that out real quick. It takes the Holy Spirit to love God. Not some guy to come along and change what Christianity is. Jesus was crucified because people didn't like him.

  17. […] moment I get up, I hop to the bathroom for my neti pot, sea salt, warm water and my fresh nose is ready to inhale with delight the delicate fragrances […]

  18. Ailene Sundeen says:

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  20. tutu dress says:

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  21. Javi says:

    I have been using neti pot for longer than two months every single day. At the beginning I was using special salt from a river in Australia and filtered water heated in the microwave (thing that did not convince me much.
    Then I have been researching about urine-therapy and you can actually download the book THE GOLDEN FOUNTAIN and there says that you can actually use the middle morning urine for your neti pot. Since a month I have been doing it and it feels even better than water and salt, also based on the fact that urine is sterilized (and warm too!) by our own body.

  22. I really love it but it has to be done with purified water, I purified everything with boiling water.

    Regards! Hasta la vista!