A Seattle woman died of an infection after using her neti pot

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According to a report published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, doctors conducted a CT scan on the woman and noticed a legion in her brain. Although the risk of infection to the brain is extremely low, people who use neti pots or other nasal-irrigation devices can almost eliminate it by following directions printed on the devices, including using only saline or sterilized water, Maree said.

"For all intents and purposes, it looked like a tumor", said senior case report author Dr. Charles Cobbs, a neurosurgeon at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. She'd experienced a seizure that weakened her left arm.

But the sore didn't go away even after treatment and multiple visits to the dermatologist. A specimen was sent to Johns Hopkins University for analysis.

It is thought the amoebas are primarily soil-based, but the "exact environmental niche is really unknown", Cope said in an email. "I was pretty much shocked because I'd never seen that before", Cobbs told KIRO-TV. But the woman's condition was deteriorating. About two weeks later, Cobbs performed another surgery and removed a mass the size of a baseball. There were three similar US cases from 2008 to 2017.

Tissue taken from the woman's brain during the procedure would later confirm the presence of the amoeba, specifically Balamuthia mandrillaris - which cause a rare but potentially deadly brain-eating infection known as granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE), according to the publication. However, very rarely, there have been deaths associated with an amoeba in tap or faucet water going up the nose. Infection can only occur when infected water goes up the nose.

"However, unfortunately it is possible for these organisms to get into tap water as well at times, and that's why I do always counsel my patients to use distilled water when rinsing".

They started treating the infection, to no avail.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the devices are safe, but recommends people use only boiled water or saline.

"It's not something to be scared about because it's extraordinarily rare, but still there's a lot to learn", Cobbs said.

If you're using a neti pot to pour water through your nasal passages and clean out your sinus cavities, you should only use sterile or saline water, doctors have warned after a Seattle woman died from a brain infection.

Wash and dry your hands.

Follow the manufacturer's directions for use.

Talk with your health care provider or pharmacist if the instructions do not clearly state how to use it or if you have any questions.

Finally, some children diagnosed with nasal allergies as early as the age of 2 may benefit from nasal rinses.

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