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Neti Pot, Sinus Rinses
Health Risks & Warnings

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Are Neti Pots & Sinus Rinses Safe?

Neti pots are readily available at most high end department stores. They are used to rinse or cleanse the nasal passages of the body after being filled with a saline solution.

The salt-based solution is used as a treatment for congested sinuses, for treating seasonal allergies and colds. It is also used to moisten the nasal passageways which are constantly exposed to varying indoor temperatures, particularly during the cold months of the year when heat sources tend to dry out the nose.

Rinsing the sinus can also assist in removing dust, pollen, dirt, and mucus, thus providing relief from the symptoms associated with allergies, colds and the flu.

Salt is a natural healer. I remember many a time when visiting the Gulf Coast in Texas how wading in the salt waters served to heal any insect bites on the bottoms of the legs.

But what about rinsing the nasal passageways with a salt-based solution? Is this safe?

Risks, Side Effects & Symptoms Associated With Neti Pot Use & Sinus Rinses

If you experience any of the following symptoms after using a Neti Pot or a Sinus Rinse you should meet with your doctor to discuss. You may be having a reaction to the rinse, to the method or you may have a medical condition which requires treatment so that it does not worsen.

- Headache.
- Bleeding from the nose.
- Fever - from mild to severe.
- Dizziness, disturbance in balance.
- Nausea.
- Infection. If tap water is used, the negative effect can be life-threatening. More on this below.

Neti pots and sinus rinses are generally safe - but only when used properly. In addition, the Neti Pot - or bulb, syringe, squeeze bottle or battery-operated pulsating device used must be properly cleaned and maintained in order to remain safe for use.

How Are Neti Pots Used?

1. The individual generally leans over a sink, tilts their head sideways leaving the forehead and chin level. This will assist in preventing the liquid used in the pot from going into the mouth during the process.

2. The individual should breathe through the mouth during the procedure. Initially, the spout of the filled Neti Pot is placed into the upper nostril. This will allow the liquid to drain through the lower nostril.

3. After cleansing one nostril, the nose should be cleared before treating the other side.

Naegleria Fowleri Amoeba

Use of tap water rather than distilled or purified water in the Neti Pot poses risk for a rare brain infection from an amoeba known as Naegleria Fowleri.

In addition, tap water poses other health risks as it commonly contain low levels of organisms, including bacteria, amoebas and protozoa.

Generally, when consumed via the mouth the acid of the stomach kills these harmful organisms - but when the water is being injected into the nasal cavities, it poses potentially serious risks, including infection and death.

Safe Sinus Rinses

1. Distilled and sterile water.
2. Tap water which is boiled for about five minutes and cooled before use.
3. Specialized filters which remove infectious organisms from water.

How to Care for Your Neti Pot or Sinus Rinse Device

1. Wash your hands before using your device. The device should be completely dry before using.
2. Use only sterilized solutions - not tap water and follow the manufacturer's instructions for use.
3. The device used should be washed with sterile water and dried with a clean paper towel - or it can be allowed to air dry between usages.

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