Brain eating amoeba linked to improper use of sinus rinse

It's that time of the year when the "bug" seems to be going around.

People resort to all sorts of remedies.

Over the counter cold medicine, Vitamin C tablets, even intrusive nasal rinses.

Like the Neti Pot.

"They sound gross," Amy Rushing said.

On top of sounding gross, it can put your health at risk if used improperly.

The FDA says it's rare but brain eating amoeba found in some tap water can travel through the device into your nose.

The FDA recommends using sterile, filtered or boiled water and they say to do that for three to five minutes just to be safe. The reason why you can drink tap water but not put it up your nose, the FDA says once those organisms come into contact with stomach acid, they're killed immediately.

Amy Rushing hasn't tried it, and after learning of the problems that can come with improperly using it, never will.

"I was right, it's gross after all," Rushing said.

Jordan Lowell used a nasal rinse after nose surgery.

"It got everything cleared up, but it was still an uncomfortable experience, my mom swears by it though and she uses it anytime she is sick," Lowell said.

She says that might be changing after learning about the warning.

"That's pretty terrifying," Lowell said.

And the FDA isn't just warning about tap water.

A dirty device can also cause major health problems to users.

"We'd rinse it out, but we didn't really wash it every time," Lowell said.

It's important to clean it after every use, to keep the device clear of potential bacterial growth.

Here is how the FDA says to do it:

•Wash and dry your hands.

•Check that the device is clean and completely dry.

•Prepare the saline rinse, either with the prepared mixture supplied with the device, or one you make yourself.

•Follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.

•Wash the device, and dry the inside with a paper towel or let it air dry between uses.

"If you do it the right way, after a few days it usually makes you feel a lot better," Lowell said.

ABC 33/40 asked "Now looking back, knowing this information, would you use it again?"

"Probably not, even if I used it properly, it probably would have scared me, so I wouldn't have done it," Lowell said.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off