Neti pots are a great way to clear our sinuses when cold and allergy seasons hit. It may take some time to get used to it but they are a gentle way to get rid of congestion when used correctly.
Most of us buy over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays to get relief but we are aware of its brutal side effect.
If you simply want to deal with your congestion at home you also have many evidence-backed options. It is important to follow the instructions carefully, and one woman’s mistake is a cautionary tale for all of us.
A 69-year-old woman passed away from using a neti pot to clear up her sinus infection.
Her doctor instructed her to rinse her nasal passages two times daily with a neti pot. But like many people, she didn’t know that the CDC recommends that neti pot users should use sterile, distilled or cooled down boiled water.
She used tap water and even though her Brita purifier filtered it, it wasn’t enough.
After one month, the woman developed a rash on the right side of her nose. Her doctors initially told her it was only rosacea at first but when the ointment they prescribed did not work, she went to a dermatologist.
But even after a biopsy, there was still no definitive diagnosis. That is because the problem was something her doctors hadn’t found before.
Her doctors discovered the cause of the rash a year later but by then it was already too late. The woman had a seizure and her CT scan revealed a lesion on her brain.
During the surgery, her doctors realized they were removing dead brain tissue.
“A section of her brain about the size of a golf ball was bloody mush. There were these amoeba all over the place just eating brain cells,” a surgeon told the Seattle Times.
A few days after the surgery, her leg and arm became numb. Physicians called in a neuropathologist to explain, who suggested the woman had acquired an amoebic infection.
The woman fell into a coma and her family decided to turn her life support off.
Her autopsy then revealed the truth. The woman passed away after becoming infected by an amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris, which live in soil and water.
When the amoeba travels to the brain, it can cause a life-threatening infection. She contracted the infection while irrigating her sinuses.
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