The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concerns about the risk of infection linked to the improper use of neti pots and other nasal rinsing devices.
The agency is informing consumers, manufacturers, and health care professionals about safe practices for using all nasal rinsing devices, which include bulb syringes, squeeze bottles, and battery-operated pulsed water devices.
In addition to proper use and cleaning, most important is the water source with these devices, according to the FDA. Some tap water contains low levels of organisms, such as bacteria and protozoa, including amoebas that can stay alive in nasal passages and cause potentially serious infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Improper use of neti pots may have caused two deaths in 2011 in Louisiana from a rare brain infection linked to tap water contaminated with an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri.
The FDA also found that some manufacturers’ instructions provide misleading information. For example, some manufacturers have recommended using plain tap water in their devices. Others warn against using it in printed directions, but show its use in pictures or videos.