-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Neti pots and other
nasal-rinsing devices are generally safe and useful products, but
they must be used and cleaned properly to reduce the risk of
infection, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
These products are used to rinse the nasal passages with a
salt-based solution and are a popular treatment for congested
sinuses, colds and allergies, and for moistening nasal passages
exposed to dry indoor air.
The most important factor in the safe use of nasal-rinsing
devices is the water source. Tap water that is not filtered,
treated or processed in specific ways is unsafe because it may
contain bacteria or other organisms that can cause infections.
In 2011, two people in Louisiana died of a rare brain infection
that may have been caused by improper use of neti pots, the FDA
said in a consumer update reviewed by the agency last month.
Water that is safe to use in nasal-rinsing devices includes
distilled or sterile water, which can be bought in stores. Or you
can boil tap water for three to five minutes and then allow it to
cool until it is lukewarm. You can store previously boiled water in
a clean, closed container for use within 24 hours.
Another option is to pass water through a filter with an
absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller, which traps potentially
infectious organisms. You can buy these filters online or at
hardware stores. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention has information about choosing a filter.
Wash and dry your hands before using a nasal-rinsing device, and
check that it is clean and completely dry. Follow the
manufacturer's directions for use. When you're done, wash the
device with distilled, sterile or boiled and cooled tap water, and
then dry the inside with a paper towel or let it air dry, the FDA
If a doctor recommends it, nasal-rinsing devices can be used on
children as young as age 2, according to the agency. Very young
children, however, might not tolerate the procedure as well.
Before using a nasal-rinsing device, talk to your doctor to
determine if it will be safe and effective for your condition. If
your symptoms worsen or do not improve, go back to your doctor,
especially if you experience fever, nosebleed or headache while
using a nasal-rinsing device, the FDA advised.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck
Surgery has more about
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