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After recent deaths, some question if neti pots are safe to use

It is believed that two recent deaths have been caused by using a popular medical device that helps to clear out one's sinus cavities. Although the deaths are rare, consumers in North Carolina and throughout the entire U.S. are being warned to make sure that they are using their neti pots correctly in order to prevent other deaths from occurring after using the nasal-irrigation devices.

Neti pot users are instructed by manufacturers to use distilled or sterilized water when clearing out their sinuses with the device, but it is believed that the two individuals killed earlier this year used treated tap water instead and became infected with a "brain-eating amoeba."

Although treated tap water and distilled water is supposed to kill the majority of dangerous parasites, bacteria, viruses and amoebas that could be living in water, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that there is no guarantee that 100 percent of the organisms in water can be killed. With this in mind, some are concerned that neti pot users could be at risk of becoming infected with dangerous organisms even if they use distilled and sterilized water as manufacturers of the devices suggest.

The recent deaths believed to be caused after using neti pots with tap water both occurred in Louisiana. When using a neti pot, water is forced up one's nose to clear sinus cavities. But when the two individuals allegedly used tap water when clearing out their sinuses, a dangerous amoeba was able to makes it way to the users' brains.

Once the amoebas reached the individuals' brains through the sinus cavities, the organisms destroyed the victims' neural tissue, causing the individuals to die from a disease called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAME).

The CDC is investigating the incidents in order to learn more about the cause of both deaths and the brain-eating amoebas. Consumers who use the devices are being warned to follow instructions provided by manufacturers of neti pots and other similar devices.

Source: msnbc, "Neti pots linked to brain-eating amoeba deaths," Natalie Wolchover, Dec. 16, 2011

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