Sinuses – How can I safely clean out my sinuses?

NetipotLynn asked, “Doctor Buckmaster, I heard that two people in Louisiana died from ‘brain-eating amoebae’ after irrigating their nasal passages with neti pots.  Do we have those bacteria over here in Alabama around Foley, Gulf Shores, and Orange Beach?  Is there a safe, doctor-approved way to clean out my sinuses?”  Lynn

Yes Lynn, medical experts have determined the safest way to irrigate nasal passages – even in Lower Alabama’s Baldwin County – starts with pure water and salt.

The Brain-Eating Amoeba made headlines in many places.  Here’s how the Huffington Post ran that story.  ‘Brain-Eating Amoeba’ Deaths May Be Linked To Tap Water Use In Neti Pots, Louisiana Officials Warn

“At least two people are dead in Louisiana after officials believe ‘brain-eating amoebas’ entered the victims’ sinuses through tap water used to fill neti pots.”

Naegleria Fowleri Amoebae:  We have the same deadly amoebae here in the beautiful freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds of South Baldwin County, Alabama.  Amoebae do not normally survive the treatment process our tap water has to go through.  Nevertheless, technicians have sometimes found e-coli and the amoebae Naegleria fowleri even in tap water from our modern treatment plants.

These amoebae destroy brain tissue.  Naegleria fowleri in water used to irrigate sinuses can kill in 1-12 days after nasal ingestion.  When these killers are at work, their symptoms include fever, nausea, confusion, or loss of balance.

Safe Nasal Irrigation Starts with Pure Water:  The prime factor in safely irrigating your sinuses with a neti pot is to use pure water.  Is bottled water pure enough?  We have to admit that recent tests call into question the purity of bottled water (  So you may prefer to use distilled water.  The really good news is that you can purify ordinary tap water by boiling and letting it cool.

Saline Solution at Home:  You can also mix your own saline solution.

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) of boiled tap water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized table salt
  • a pinch of baking soda

Storage: Store the saline solution you made in a bottle or glass, but keep it fresh.  That means, after 24 hours throw it out, wash the storage bottle or glass, and make a new batch.

Commercial Saline Solution:  Our pharmacies in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Foley, Daphne, Elberta, Fairhope, or Spanish Fort carry saline solutions packaged by NeilMed, Ocean, and Equate.

Remember, the safest way to avoid ingesting brain-eating amoebae into your nasal passages is to use a saline solution that starts with pure water.


Disease title:  Amoebic Meningoencephalitis

Spelling and Pronunciation:  One amoeba (uh-mee-buh), two amoebae (uh-mee-bay) or amoebas (uh-mee-buhs)

News of Brain-Eating Ameoba:

·       Vitals – Neti pots linked to braineating amoeba death
·       Naegleria fowleri – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
·       Deaths from braineating amoeba linked to sinus remedy for colds
·       BrainEating Amoeba Cases Puzzle and Worry Scientists
·       Second Neti-Pot Death From Amoeba Prompts Tap-Water Warning
·       BrainEating Amoeba Fatalities Linked to Neti Pots | Fox News
·       Two deaths from braineating amoeba linked to sinus remedy
·       Neti pot danger? Two die from amoeba infection – Los Angeles Times
·       BrainEating Ameba Kills Two People After Using Neti Pots

Questions? Come in, call or ask Doctor Buckmaster Here.

Disclaimer – This column is for information and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for seeing a medical provider for healthcare attention. This web site does not diagnose or treat any medical disease, disorder, ailment, etc., or otherwise practice medicine. Always consult your healthcare provider prior to embarking on or making any changes in any medical or psychiatric problems. Dr. Buckmaster does not receive funding from any pharmaceutical company, but is a self-reliant, independent, solo-practicing physician.
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