"Brain-eating" amoebas kill woman who used filtered tap water in neti pot


In NY, where our water has a pretty heavy dose of minerals, distilled water is a shortcut around the irritation and burning that can come with mineral-y water. That and use non-iodized salt. Neti-pot game changers for my tender mucus membranes.


I’m impressed that the brain-eating amoebae can survive any minutes of boiling. (Apparently Naegleria Fowleri likes hot water.)

Also, on reading, I see that one minute is enough at sea-level-boiling temperatures, also that antibodies for N. Fowleri are pretty widespread (indicating that many of us have had infections).


I thought the brain-eating amoeba was a warm water thing mainly showing up in hot places like Florida and Texas. But Seattle?


I can’t even imagine flushing my sinus cavities with water in the first place. At least the Neti Pot looks somewhat innocuous. As opposed to this nightmare-inducing contraption I keep seeing commercials for.

Home waterboarding kits.


When in doubt, use powdered water.


Good designers don’t blame the user. Boiling and waiting is hard when you’re ill and feel crappy. And most people don’t know that bacteria that can’t get past the gut shoudn’t go into the nose.

Between this issue and sheer laziness not wanting to wait for boiled water to cool so I buy those nasal saline sprays:

CVS et al tend to have an instore brand cheaper than that listing, but maybe it’s something BB can do one of theire Amazon plugs for.

I had issues with doctors handing out antibiotics like candy and then lucked into one who was willing to suggest alternatives - using these things really helps clear out viral infections. Just wipe the tip down with rubbing alcohol between uses!


Having had water up my nose repeatedly as a kid swimming, roger that! Since I learned to swim in a freshwater lake, maybe I’m lucky I never encountered said amoebas.


Yup. Any flip turn can become a swimmers neti pot.


So when someone takes a medication that says “do not operate a vehicle while taking this medication” it means the meds were designed badly.

When the silica gel packet or tide pods say “do not eat” and someone eats it anyway it’s bad design.

I could keep going with this but I hope the point is clear. Someone not following instructions or sticking to the intended use of a product does not said product is bad. But YMMV I guess.



Just in time for lunch.


This, exactly. I’d never even heard of neti pots before binge watching 6 Feet Under; after that, they seemed to be everywhere… and people kept recommending them to me, because I have regular sinus problems.

The thing is, I’m not big on anything except oxygen going up my nose, ever.

So this story is yet one more reason to just avoid the damn things, all together.


It’s not pleasant for sure. But one problem is doctors are hesitant to suggest the treatment (which actually can shorten viral sinus infections) and instead give out useless antibiotics that just give you diarrhea and contribute to antibiotic resistance.

The saline sprays I mentioned in another post are much easier to deal with IMHO - and that’s coming from someone with a lot of sensory issues :slight_smile:




Guilty as charged!


I wonder why this is not a problem when you shower. It would seem to me that is would be difficult not to get some tap water in your nose cavity.


Do you shower standing on your head? Splashes of water at the base of the nose aren’t an issue, it’s the delicate membranes up in the sinus cavities.

Also, these infections are extremely rare. As scary as they sound there’s basically no chance of you getting it unless you pick up a daily habit of snorting swamp water.


But like swimming, if you breathe properly you don’t get a ton of water up there.

As some here know, I’ve had a long drawn-out saga with nasal polyps, and have had 3 surgeries, requiring me to lavage my sinuses regularly. Neti-pots always kind of freaked me out. I much prefer the NeilMed squeeze bottles, which allow one to control how much water and how fast it enters the sinus cavities.
I found that if I suspended the water for a few minutes right to the “spill line” from one side to the other, much of the hard crusty stuff softens enough to get rid of it with a gentle snort.


Never used tap water. Just don’t.


I was skeptical at first, but I developed heavy post-nasal drip in my 40s and sometimes sinus irrigation is the only way I can go to sleep at night. It is not so bad a process, I would say better than water up the nose from swimming, and the intensity of the relief afterwards hooked me on it immediately. (I use the same bottle @knoxblox uses. Well, the same brand of bottle, not his actual bottle.)

Where I learned to swim I was too busy dodging the dead alewives to worry about microorganisms.

Only around 7% of N. Fowleri infection cases are from nasal irrigation.

Oh, and in looking up these amoebas this happened:



At the risk of being accused of pedantry, the deal here relates to a structure called the cribriform plate, which is pretty far back in the nasal structure and all the way at the top. This is where the olfactory receptors are located, and is essentially a projection of brain tissue into the nose. The amoebae can get into the tissues there and are into the brain at that point. Then they begin to chow down. If you are getting water all the way back there in the shower, you are doing it wrong!