Help! I Used a Neti Pot With Tap Water!
By Stephen Chandler, MD | 21 February 2022 |
Sometimes, we move on autopilot first thing in the morning or after a long day. While we might usually take time to get distilled water or boil the sinus rinse water before use, there might just be a day where we forget and use regular old tap water.
We’ve all heard the news about how using sinus rinse with tap water is not recommended, but why? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tap water isn’t safe for use as a nasal rinse because it’s not adequately filtered or treated. Some tap water contains low levels of organisms — such as bacteria and protozoa, including amoebas — that may be safe to swallow because stomach acid kills them. But in your nose, these organisms can stay alive in nasal passages and cause potentially serious infections. They can even be fatal in some rare cases.
If you inadvertently used a sinus rinse with tap water, don’t panic. It’s important to be aware of worsening congestion, sinus drainage or headache and report this to your physician as soon as possible.
Can I Still Use Tap Water?
Yes. Although not ideal, if you take proper precautions you are still able to use tap water for a sinus rinse. It is recommended you boil the water and let it cool before using it. Though the risks are slim, it is probably worth the piece of mind simply to use the recommended purified bottled or distilled water.