Is It Okay to Use Tap Water for Neti Pot?

Neti Pot

Nasal irrigation is the method of rinsing water through the nasal passages to provide relief for colds, sinuses, and allergies. It has been practiced since ancient times as a part of traditional culture. Neti pot has been widely used for rinsing nasal passages because it is pragmatically convenient. A saline or saltwater solution is commonly used to loosen the mucous and moisten the nasal passages. In principle, nasal irrigation is safe if the cleaning device is clean and the water used comes from the treated source. However, tap water is not safe to use for nasal cleansing because it is not filtered, treated, and disinfected. You should not risk your health and it is very important to monitor it regularly through annual checkups. You can choose a variety of health screening packages that may help you to promptly take any action if you are susceptible to any health condition or disease.

Steps on how to use a neti pot

Neti pot is a device for nasal cleansing designed with long spouts with tiny openings that have become a necessity in many homes to remove clogged mucous, debris, allergen, ease breathing, and reduce the inflammation by cleansing your nasal passages. Here are the steps to use neti pot correctly:

  1. Lean over the sink and tilt your head slightly at 45 degrees.
  2. Insert the spout of the neti pot into the nostril. Keep the neti pot tipped while the solution runs through your nostril and drain the solution out of the nostril after you have cleansed it several times.
  3. You need to breathe through your mouth.
  4. Continue to pour the solution into your nostril until the neti pot is empty.
  5. Once all the solutions have been used, remove the neti pot from your nostril and bring your head up.
  6. Repeat the steps again using the solution to cleanse the other nostril.
  7. Pour the solution into your nostrils until the neti pot is empty.
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Why tap water is not safe?

Tap water that has passed the chlorination process is generally safe for domestic purposes such as drinking, food preparation, showering, washing, and home cleaning. However, it is not recommended to be used for nasal cleansing because tap water is contaminated with microorganisms such as bacteria, germs, protozoa, or amoeba unless it is boiled properly. Tap water may be safe if accidentally ingested because the presence of stomach acid helps to kill the pathogen. However, it is dangerous if it goes into the nasal passage because the microorganism may stay alive inside the favorable environment. They can multiply in numbers, and lead to serious infection and may cause death.

Infectious disease following the usage of tap water for nasal cleansing

There have been cases of amoebic meningitis disease reported involving contaminated water. Amoebic meningitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the brain lining when it is infected with free-living Naegleria fowleri amoeba which mainly lives in warm freshwaters such as lakes or rivers. The symptoms range from fever, nausea, vomiting, hallucination, headache, seizures, or hallucination and if not treated may be fatal.  Although the disease is rare, it is risky for people who deliberately use tap water for nasal cleansing.

Tips on how to use neti pot safely

  1. It is advisable to use saline water or distilled water which can be found in pharmacies. Distilled water has standardized pH which is safe for nasal cleansing.
  2. If you choose boiled water, make sure it is heated for 5 minutes to ensure the microorganism is dead, and then leave it cooled for a while until it is lukewarm. Use lukewarm water for nasal cleansing purposes.
  3. Always clean your neti pot. Wash the neti pot with hot water and antibacterial soap and make sure it is dry before use.
  4. You may need to regularly replace the neti pot like toothbrushes. After months, there is a high chance of bacteria build-up although you have cleaned it before.
  5. Neti pot is not suitable for children. Discuss with your doctor before you decide to use it for your child.
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References:

  1. www.healthline.com, How to Use a Neti Pot the Right Way

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-use-a-neti-pot

  • www.healthywa.wa.gov.au, Nasal irrigation – is it safe?

https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/N_R/Nasal-irrigation-is-it-safe

  • www.fda.gov, Is Rinsing Your Sinuses With Neti Pots Safe?

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/rinsing-your-sinuses-neti-pots-safe

  • www.cdc.gov, Amebic Meningitis

https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/amebic.html#:~:text=Primary%20amebic%20meningoencephalitis%20(PAM)%20is,be%20seen%20without%20a%20microscope.)

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