2 Netipot Deaths – FDA Issues New Guidelines

A neti pot is a vessel that resembles a teapot is used to flush the nasal passage.  Many netipot users find temporary relief from allergies, congestion and colds by proper use of the netipot.

Last month, FDA reported two more incidents in Louisiana in which patients contracted infections after using netipots filled with tap water contaminated with an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri , commonly found in lakes, rivers and springs.

Although this kind of infection is rare, it primarily occurs when people swim or dive in lakes or rivers.  The naegleria fowleri travels through the nasal passages into the brain, where it causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. This disease attacks brain tissue and is almost always fatal. According to the CDC, of the 123 known cases occurring in the US from 1962 to 2011, only one person has survived.

Why doesn’t drinking Naegleria fowleri harm you? Stomach acid kills the amoeba, drinking contaminated water does not lead to infection.

If you are a regular reader of this blog – you know that last year Louisiana reported 2 more deaths from using infected by tap water in netipots.  Both of these people had also used water contaminated with Naegleria fowleri.

The FDA has announced new warnings and suggestions for the use of netipots – use bottled water or water that has been boiled and cooled prior to use.

Statistics from the CDC help to keep  the risk of Naegleria fowleri contamination in perspective. Millions of people swim and dive in lakes and rivers each year, yet from 2002 to 2011 there were only 32 reported Naegleria fowleri infections far less than the 36,000 drowning deaths.

And while these most recent cases of amoebic infection may be terrifying, the public should not be alarmed or fearful about freshwater swimming or neti pot use according to Dr. Philip T. Hagen, vice chairman of the Mayo Clinic’s division of preventive medicine.

“If you talk about the general population, there are more common things to be aware of and worry about than a scary amoebic infection,” said Dr. Hagen, who is also the editor of “The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies.” “It’s an opportunity to remind people to be cautious and use good cleaning approaches and maintenance of their neti pot.”

If you are suffering from chronic sinus conditions, the proper  use of a netipot may provide temporary relief. An allergist can help you identify the triggers and devise a plan that can lead to permanent  sinus and/or allergy relief.  Feel free to contact my office for a consultation 866-632-5537 – 5 convenient Manhattan locations.

Dr Lubitz discusses netipots

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