Neti pot users asking questions after Seattle death

Woman used plain tap water to clean her sinuses

Steve Simpson
December 07, 2018 - 10:16 am

ID 57197676 © Ann Moore |


A strange and scary story from Seattle has neti pot users asking some questions.

Doctors believe a 69-year old woman who died back in February from rare brain-eating amoebas used regular tap water to rinse her sinuses. 

"This is extremely rare that this would happen, but I guess it's something to think about," said Dr. David Hilden on the WCCO Morning News with Dave Lee Friday.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, doctors believe the woman likely became infected when she used filtered tap water in the teapot-like vessel. 

"You should do what we've been suggesting and use sterile water," Hilden said. 

Distilled, sterile or previously boiled water are all recommended.

"The best way to do that is just to buy a jug of it in the store, or you can boil it yourself" and keep it handy, Hilden said.

There have only been three similar recorded U.S. cases between 2008 to 2017.

Hilden says he's recommended the neti pot for years to his patients, and will continue to do so as long as they use it as directed.

"It's a really good way to clean out the pollen and dust and dirt and all the things that are irritating your nose and sinuses."

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