Travelers With Sinus Issues Beware: Brain-Eating Amoeba Death Linked to Neti Pot
If you’ve ever traveled for an extended period of time, especially by air, you’ve probably suffered from the occasional bout of dry sinuses or worse, a sinus infection. One of the more popular and inexpensive solutions to combat the effects of a dry and stuffy nose is a neti pot. Neti pots flush out mucus and blockage to alleviate the symptoms of a stuffy nose or dry sinuses. Many users swear by them, especially on the road. However, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a new warning for neti pot users concerning a potentially fatal misuse of the product.
A 69-year old woman from Seattle who used a neti pot to battle chronic sinus infections is confirmed to have died as a result of a powerful brain-eating amoeba she contracted from tap water that made its way through her nasal passages and to her brain. Doctors believe that the untreated tap water contained balamuthia mandrillaris, an amoeba that often leads to the fatal brain infection.
The woman first reported symptoms when she visited a doctor with a raised red bump on the bridge of her nose. The infection progressed rapidly. According to reports via CNN, the woman reported that the left side of her body began to shake and she experienced a seizure. The woman was officially diagnosed with the brain-eating amoeba at the nonprofit Swedish Clinic, where she had been receiving treatment. An anti-amoeba drug was sent to her but it was too late. She slipped into a coma and later died.
While the neti pot can be a great way to stay healthy on the road, the CDC has issued the following guidelines to ensure that you don’t contract an infection or worse while using the product:
- Use distilled or sterile water. If using tap or filtered water, boil for several minutes and let cool until lukewarm.
- Tilt your head sideways over the sink and place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril.
- Breathing through your open mouth, gently pour the saltwater solution into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Rinse the irrigation device after each use with similarly distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered water and leave open to air-dry.
Brita filters and similar products are not sufficient in removing water impurities. We highly recommend visiting a pharmacy or grocery store when on the road to purchase sterilized water. And never use the water in an aircraft lavatory — even if it is boiled.
The neti pot can be a fantastic travel tool. However, like any over-the-counter medical product, it can be detrimental to one’s health if used incorrectly.
This post has been updated with the name of the clinic where the woman was treated.
Featured image via Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees