Improper Usage of Neti Pots And Brain-Eating Amoeba Tied Up To Two Person’s Death

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Neti pots have been used as a method for sinus irrigation, in order to relieve allergy and sinus problems. Although it can be well-tolerated, its improper usage can have some dangerous and fatal effects, according to the warning made by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital after the death of the second individual due to brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri. After irrigating her sinuses with a Neti pot filled with tap water, a DeSoto Parish female 51 years of age died, due to infection of the amoeba. It was also noted that a 20-year old man from St. Bernard Parish died last June because of the same reason.

The nose is the portal of entry of the amoeba Naegleria fowleri, and then, it leads to infection. On the other hand, the Neti Pot is a genie-lamp look-a-like, used in nasal sinus irrigation. Dr. Raoult Richard, a Louisiana State Epidemiologist, elaborated “If you are irrigating, flushing, or rinsing your sinuses, for example, by using a neti pot, use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water to make up the irrigation solution… Tap water is safe for drinking, but not for irrigating your nose.” He further said that neti pot needs to be rinsed carefully and left open to dry, after every use.

When swimming in rivers and freshwater lakes, infection by this amoeba can happen. Infrequently but possible, people can acquire infection through the following instances: (a) swimming in inadequately treated swimming pools; (b) submerging the head into contaminated tap water; and (c) sinus irrigation with infected, not boiled tap water. Moreover, the amoeba needs to enter through the nose to produce infection; drinking the water may have no effect.

Infection caused by Naegleria fowleri may result to PAM amoebic meningoencephalities. This is an infection where brain tissue dies. At first, PAM signs and symptoms are very alike with the manifestations of bacterial meningitis. From day one to seven after the man has been infected, PAM symptoms (fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck and headache) may be evident. Also, cognitive manifestations like confusion, loss of balance, seizures, hallucinations and unawareness of the surroundings may be suffered by PAM patients. Eventually, death may occur in most of these patients.

Naegleria fowleri is dubbed as the brain-eating amoeba, existing in three forms which include cyst, trophoozoite (ameboid) and flagellate. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded that there were 32 Naegleria fowleri infections from 2001 to 2010 in the United States. It was found that 30 of them were infected after having contact with recreational water, and the other two acquired the infection from a geothermal drinking water supply. These cases only caution us to be extra careful, especially in using neti pots and in exposing ourselves to possibly contaminated water, for our own sake.




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