Dec 16, 2011 - 10:25 pm
I just saw the report about the folks dying from amoeba infections from their Neti pots (misreported in places as a "bacterial" infection). Since so many H&NC folks use them, I thought I'd summarize the safety precautions:
Use distilled or boiled water - I'd recommend buying the large jugs of steam-distilled water that have the little taps on them; these are most likely to stay sterile after you open them. Even if you don't fear amoeba from your tap water, distilled is a good idea, as you avoid putting chlorine up your nose (not to mention the mold that always seems to grow at the end of the tap).
Rinse the Neti pot well with hot water after use and air dry (in a sunny spot, if possible). If you live in a humid location and the pot doesn't dry completely between uses, I'd suggest you microwave it a minute or two after rinsing (assuming the pot is microwave-safe).
If you don't use the entire potful, empty it and wash the pot - don't leave it around to use the rest of the solution later. You don't want the bacteria from your nose to have a chance to breed and get stronger. . . (salt water does not kill bacteria - it can slow their growth, but that's not enough to count on.
I hope folks don't get hysterical - Neti pots are wonderful and lots of folks get relief from them.