Sinus Health: Risks and Benefits of Neti Pot Usage

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Nasal irrigation devices, including neti pots, have gained popularity as a home remedy for treating congested sinuses, colds, and allergies. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions against improper usage, as it can lead to infections.

Proper Usage

  • Use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water.
  • Tilt your head sideways over a sink and insert the spout into your upper nostril.
  • Breathe through your mouth while the saline solution drains from your lower nostril.
  • Follow the device’s manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Benefits of Neti Pot Use

  • Removal of dust, pollen, and other debris from nasal passages.
  • Relief of nasal symptoms from sinus infections, allergies, colds, and flu.
  • Moisturizing of nasal passages dried out by indoor air.

Risks of Neti Pot Use

  • Infection due to the presence of organisms in tap water.
  • Fatal infections, such as Naegleria fowleri, in rare cases.
  • Complications for individuals with weakened immune systems.


  • Consult your healthcare provider before using nasal irrigation systems if your immune system is compromised.
  • Follow the FDA’s guidelines for proper use and care of your device.
  • Discuss nasal rinses with your pediatrician if your child has been diagnosed with nasal allergies.
  • Seek medical attention promptly if you experience any adverse reactions to using a neti pot.


When used and cleaned properly, nasal irrigation devices can provide effective relief for nasal congestion. However, improper usage can lead to serious infections. By following the FDA’s guidelines and consulting with your healthcare provider, you can use neti pots safely and effectively.

Author Bio

Dr. Emily Carter is a board-certified otolaryngologist and author. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and completed her residency at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Dr. Carter is an expert in the medical and surgical treatment of ear, nose, and throat disorders.


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