Neti pots have become popular for the treatment of sinus congestion, colds, allergies, and moistening nasal passages.
Neti pots have become popular for the treatment of sinus congestion, colds, allergies, and moistening nasal passages. These devices resemble teapots with long spouts that are used to rinse the nasal passages. Neti pots can be an effective nonmedication approach for clearing the sinuses; however, they must be used properly to prevent serious infections. Pharmacists can play an important role in educating neti pot users with these 3 counseling points:
Naegleria fowleri is a climate-sensitive amoeba that is frequently found in natural bodies of warm freshwater including lakes, ponds, rivers, and hot springs.1 Additionally, this amoeba can be found in tap water. It is safe to swallow these organisms; however, the amoeba can stay alive in the nasal passages. This can lead to the potentially deadly condition known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).2
Naegleria fowleri enters the nose and moves along the olfactory nerve and travels to the brain.3 Signs and symptoms of infection are similar to bacterial and viral meningitis, which include headache, fever, stiff neck, anorexia, vomiting, altered mental status, seizures, and coma. Onset of symptoms typically occurs 1-7 days after exposure.3 The first 2 reported cases of PAM resulting in deaths associated with sinus irrigation using contaminated tap water occurred in Louisiana in 2011.3 These cases demonstrate the need for education on the following appropriate types of water to use for nasal irrigation:
The neti pot device should be rinsed after each use with safe water, and the inside should be dried with a paper towel. It should be left to air dry between uses.