Its stuffy nose season, and you may be in the habit of using a neti pot to clean your sinuses. However, we want you to be safe.
Recent news has reported two people in Louisiana who died after using a neti pot with amoeba-inhabited water.
Like Louisiana’s health authorities, Des Moines Water Works recommends neti pot users boil (then cool!) water before using it to irrigate your sinuses.
Naegleria is an amoeba that lives in natural water throughout the world. The Louisiana warning notes that Naegleria fowleri infections are very rare. In the 10 years from 2001 to 2010, 32 infections were reported in the U.S. However, people can contract it in Iowa as well as in other states. Tap water varies in its purity from one water utility to another. Finished drinking water provided by DMWW is nearly sterile, but there exists a miniscule chance that a Naegleria cyst could be present in some of the water. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you always bring water to a rolling boil and cool prior to using in your neti pot.
It is important to note that water for drinking or bathing presents no danger from Naegleria.