Harvard Men's Health Watch

Sinus-flushing product linked to a dangerous infection

Cold and allergy sufferers beware: the neti pot you are using to flush your stuffed-up sinuses could cause a serious infection, the FDA has warned.

A neti pot is a teapot-like device used to pour warm salty water into one nostril, allowing it to rinse the nasal cavities. Neti pots and other nasal rinsing products provide relief for a stuffed nose or allergy symptoms.

But using untreated tap water for nasal flushing carries a risk because it can contain a small amount of potentially infectious organisms. Louisiana state health officials linked two deaths in 2011 from a rare brain infection to improper use of neti pots.

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