Taking Charge of Your Health

I grew up in deep East Texas. Those of you
who have never visited Texas might be thinking of tumbleweeds, cacti, and rednecks. You’d
be right on one of those three. North east Texas at least in parts, is a swamp. The part
just adjacent to Louisiana is everything you expect of a semi-tropical swamp. Hot, humid,
and lots of little black water lakes. I used to love to swim, dive, and fish in the local
lakes. I tell you this to give you background on
why I will never… not ever… absolutely never, ever, ever go back into a warm, freshwater
lake ever again. It used to be one of my favorite activities, but one thing ruined it. PAM. Pam is not an ex-girlfriend or creepy old
nudist lady. It’s not a person at all. It’s primary amebic meningoencephalitis. P – A
– M. It’s a very, very rare health threat, only 32 proven cases in the last decade, about
a hundred in the history of the US. 28 of those cases were from swimming in freshwater
ponds, lakes or pools, 2 were from a drinking water supply that was heated geothermally,
and two of those infections were the result of watching Oprah. Okay, not watching Oprah *exactly*, but those
two cases were the result of using neti pots, and the neti pot craze certainly started on
Oprah’s talk show. I’m going to talk about PAM, and I’m going
to talk about neti pots. Then I’m going to summarize what the real risk connection is
between those two things. 1. A little more about PAM:
It’s horrible. We have no tests to diagnose it. We have no drugs that we know work on
it. If you contract PAM, you have only a 2% chance of surviving. It’s a death sentence,
and it will be a painful, lingering death. I have studied Ebola and Lassa, I have been
in Biosafety Level 4 facilities and this thing scares me irrationally. The causative agent in PAM, typically an ameba
called “Naegleria fowleri”, needs warm fresh water to thrive and grow. That’s why cold
water lakes are relatively safe. It’s also no threat for drinking water, as stomach acids
destroy it quickly. It’s only route to penetrate your defenses is in the nose. Since prior
to humans swimming in warm freshwater for recreation, and of course since Oprah suggested
pouring warm water into your nose, the disease has increased in prevalence. Hey, bonus depression: Thanks to a warming
trend, lakes as far north as Ohio are likely to be infectious during the summer months,
signaling a general trend of expansion. If you wonder where this stuff was when you were
a kid, jumping off a tire swing into the local watering hole, the answer is that it was much
further south in the tropics. The amebic agent goes through multiple stages
in its life cycle, including a cyst stage where it can remain dormant and protected
from its environment for years. Yes, that’s right, it can survive cold, starvation, toxic
chemicals and desication and still pop up and eat your brain. 2. Are neti pots effective?
Actually, yes, a little. Running warm isotonic salt water does help to moisturize and wash
out the crud from the little hairs in your nasal sinus. It’s not rocket science. The
warmth, moisture and flushing effect can be pretty soothing. That’s why it’s been used
medically for decades following sinus surgery to wash out wounds. The neti pot is a bit
of silliness, invoking the ancient wisdom fallacy that anything that’s been practiced
for thousands of years must be effective. Anyone who thinks that doesn’t know humans
very well. There have been multiple papers studying the
effectiveness of nasal irrigation, whether the irrigation is done with a plastic squirt
bottle or vitrified ceramic neti pot, it does reduce swelling and pressure. A Cochrane Database
review (of all available literature) found that “There is evidence that saline is beneficial
in the treatment of the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis when used as the sole modality
of treatment. Evidence also exists in favour of saline as a treatment adjunct. No superiority
was seen when saline was compared against a reflexology ‘placebo’. Saline is not as
effective as an intranasal steroid.” There are also Cochrane reviews of saline nasal
irrigation for acute upper respiratory tract infections, but the results there are not
encouraging. The side effects are nasal soreness, and can
include nosebleed and headache. If you want to avoid the side effect of death by brain-eating
ameba, you should never, never use tap water. You should boil then cool or otherwise sterilize
any water that goes in your nose. The neti pot or other container should be thoroughly
cleaned after each use and allowed to air dry. In short, properly used, the neti pot is about
as effective as any other folk remedy at making you feel better, but it doesn’t address the
root cause of nasal troubles. It’s not as effective as a steroid, but the side effects
are pretty mild. 3. Now, to summarize the real risk of PAM
from nasal irrigation. The absolute risk is fairly easy to calculate
as long as we can make up some numbers. 2 reported cases, assuming that’s pretty good
coverage. I have no reliable numbers on how many people use neti pots, but let’s use a
plausible number of 1 million in the US. Given our wild guesses, the incidence of PAM is
2 cases in 1 million exposed, or 0.2 cases per 100,000 in 10 years. The per year number
moves one more decimal, 0.02 cases per 100,000. The incidence of lightning strike is about
0.1 cases per 100,000 in the general US population of about 300 million. That means that the
risk of PAM is about equivalent to the risk of any given person getting hit by lightning. Oh, that’s not proper epidemiology, but the
absolute risk is pretty small. Of course, if the water is pre-filtered, boiled
and cooled; the pot cleaned and air dried after every use, the risk is essentially zero,
or at least has never been measured to be more than zero. Every case so far has been
the result of using tap water. So, my final verdict on neti pots? Well, even
a stopped clock is right twice a day. Oprah gets a pass on this one. Neti pots are relatively
safe, so long as you take some very basic precautions and never, never, never use tap
water in them. If PAM scares you as much as it scares me, you can be excused from a little
irrationality, but if you are looking for a realistic assesment of risk, you are thousands
of times more likely to die from slipping in the shower or falling off a ladder. Why am I so against swimming in warm water
lakes of my native Texas? We established that the absolute risk is really quite low. Even
though the risks are higher for getting PAM from swimming, the relative risk ratio, that
is a comparison of the exposed and unexposed populations, would be relatively high. The
difference in disease rates among non-lake swimmers and non neti-pot users is relatively
large. Sitting here at my computer, there is almost no chance that a brain-eating ameba
will be lurking in the shadows, preparing to pounce upon and devour my delicious head
meats. The moment I dip a nostril in Caddo Lake,
however, PAM is just waiting for me. Possibly, maybe, probably not… but I’ll be darned
if she’s going to get my cerebrum. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Neti Pot: Safe and Effective?

  1. The best saline combo for neti pot: one pack of Waterpik Sinuses mixed with half teaspoon of Alkolol in a Waterpik squeeze bottle.

  2. Most of the neti pots on the market suggest that you use distiled or micro-filtered water . Also the neti bottle is made for microwave sterilization, even more evidence that PAM or any other bacterial or viral infection can get into your sinuses  and/or into your neti pot. Keep on using your neti pot, and as with any medical treatment contact your doctor if you have any questions. But neti pot is one of the leading and safest treatments for any type of medical condition that deals with the sinuses and allergies.

  3. hi I just done this with out salt but I used the water strait out the hot tap like 5 mins ago and now im kinda worried what should I do thanks

  4. Thanks for the video! Is tap water safe for drinking here in Texas? Or do you recommend boiling and cooling before drinking?

  5. I have never knew of PAM until today. Aren't you underestimating this parasite? If any tap is a potential source of PAM and your fear of it is legit, how do you live your life? What is stopping the water in your shower going up your nose? A waiter accidentally spilling water on you. Some kid shooting with a water gun? You must never leave your home. 

    But back to the video. So, as long as the source water is properly filter or treated, using a neti pot is 100% free of PAM, right? Why so much hate/fear of a neti pot? As long as you follow the instructions, you should be fine. (reading NeilMed instructions) 

  6. Question: Can you get infected by insufflating street amphetamine(the regular euro kind)?
    It is commonly cut with glucose, would this promote bacterial growth or is the mixture as a whole too caustic and unfriendly for the little germs?

    If there is a risk of pathogens being present, would a quick acetone wash be enough or would dissolving the amp in water and boiling it for X minutes be preferable?

    I very rarely use speed so I might as well make sure I don't infect myself with something nasty (weaponized super anthrax with my luck) just to get a bit stimmed.

  7. Let me tell you, NOTHING is as dangerous as driving a FRIGGING CAR!!!  I am a fifth generation Texan too, I NEVER have swam in fresh water "Tanks" that is what the are in Texas, tanks, only ONE man made lake in Texas, that is Caddo Lake.  But I NEVER swim in a Mud hole in Texas.  You can get all kinds of things from those stinking slop pits.  But the Neti-Pot, I use distilled water.  Only distilled water.  But you want to live to be OLD, don't get in a CAR!!!  One in 5,000 chance of being killed every time you get in it.  It is more deadly than Military Combat.  Its a FACT!!  Just think of all the CLOSE CALLS you have driving a car, and all of those FOREIGNERS moving in to Texas they are always bragging about, they cannot drive a lick!!!  They will run over you, drive on the wrong side of the road, you name it.  I am much more afraid of THEM than a Neti Pot. BB

  8. What a moron this guy is. The chances of getting this are slim to none. You better not leave your house than, I'm sure a mosquito will bite you or something.

  9. @C0nc0rdance 
    Where in the world is this thing? Is places like Norway safe? (for freshwater lakes, not for yeti pots)

  10. Then the risk must be similar for taking warm/hot showers, actually much higher as it's a daily activity for most people.

  11. It says in the instructions to never use tap water. If you die from PAM, it has more to do with a lack of reading comprehension skills than the Neti pot.

  12. This uploader needs to get a life less ordinary, leave Uni early and get a real job, preferably as a caretaker of a hot water lake in Texas.

  13. If people weren't retarded and boiled the fuckin' water before they put it in their nose they'd be fine.

  14. I'm still trying to find out about the Yeti Pot. I haven't actually seen one but I know some people who claim that have.
    In the meantime I will take you advice and NEVER use my neti pot whilst atop a ladder in the bathtub.

  15. I could barely make it through 90 seconds of this thing and read some comments. It sounds like (if they ever start talking about the neti pot) that people should learn how to READ directions and then follow them. Boil your damn water or buy distilled if you like. Don't settle for ignorant bliss, educate yourself and ignore people like this that have no clue.

  16. The neti pot is ok if you have the time and can be bothered but I much prefer using nasal sprays. I currently use sinusoothe because not only does it clear my congestion caused by cedar fall allergy but it got rid of my chronic sinus infection. Whereas although the neti pot cleared congestion I still had the infection.

  17. @C0nc0rdance I don't like your scare mongering. I appreciate your fear due to the obviously life threatening and scary infection from swimming in polluted water but by saying using a Neti Pot is dangerous is an outright lie. The water is dangerous if you do not use sterilized/purified water. I am sorry you went through that horrific experience but I refuse to allow you to scare me with unfounded "reasoning."

  18. Please don't watch this. This guy is a fucken paranoid moron. You will never get this PAM thing ever even if u dont boil ur water. Please, don't watch this.

  19. Wouldn't chlorinated tap water be safe? I looked up the amount of chlorine in my city's water and it's double what this amoeba can survive in.

  20. This guy wants to crap on Oprah… Everyone knows that you should use purified water when using the Neti Pot.  These days you should not even be drinking tap water.  Invest in drinking purified water.

  21. Global warming has not been proven…raised a fraction of a fraction of a degree back in 97 and that wasn't proven to be man caused… that made me think this guy was little on the far out side…

  22. Regarding "Don't use tap water in your neti" – what about tap water run through a sawyer water filter or boiled ? Or both LOL.

  23. Dude, your voice is so annoying, especially when you use these snob words  you're reading from some encyclopedia and no one understand! you're trying to sound like a documentary you're place is not on youtube… this is the place for ordinary people that are looking for information, I only watched a 1:23 seconds and they were the longest 1'23''  in my life, it felt lime minutes gone by.

  24. I don't think I've ever commented on Youtube before, but here I am.

    This is a pointless video and I'm sorry for the other 100k people who kept watching to see where the hell it was going. The conclusion is that there is a near-zero chance of anything bad happening and that you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning, and yet the author thinks that's an unreasonable risk.

    Don't step outside, don't drink water, remain in your nuclear bunker.

  25. The moral of this video is: no one should get out of bed.   The world is dangerous.  If you get out of bed, you may die.

  26. Thanks for the info, very unbiased, very clear. Now I won't fuck up if I use a neti pot. I almost used tap water!!!!

  27. What is even the point of this? This is so misleading. Is there something I missed because you basically stated nothing important. Pretty sure I'm going to use more tap water now. Give me a break.

  28. hello I have allergies and sinusitis I would like where I can find in my country Mexico neti pot as called in my country to get by

  29. I thought he was going to say PAM the non-stick spray idk why and how that would effect a body of water but I just was like what else could it be? I didn't think acronym. @C0nc0rdance I know people who swore that snorting distilled water (just because it came in a squirty thing) was an effective means to clear out their nose after/before snorting drugs. I get a very stuffed nose from allergies sometimes and I find that if I'm really stuffed up I can't realy get water to go up my nose. My question to you does this work differently with drugs residing and blocking peoples nasal passageways because they're water soluble? That's sort of a stupid guess, but from what I understand about insuffalation I would assume you wouldn't want whatever substance you're trying to get the blood vessels in your nose to absorb to be flushed out. That being said it's better than you blowing it out your nose I suppose.

  30. Heh Amoeba-In-The-Brain syndrome was actually the very first thing my class learned about in medical school… a good example of something so out of the ordinary that any finding of it is highly diagnostic because almost nothing else can explain its presence there.  There should be no amoebas in your brain, at all, ever. Good example.

  31. When you irrigate your sinuses you're supposed to be using distilled water, not tap water or anything else.

  32. Stupid video! Should be concerned about warning about swimming in Texas instead of referring to neti pots. Why not tie your video to warning about being struck by lightening since the odds are the same? Waste of time buddy!

  33. Wrong, buddy. 0.1 and 0.02 are a factor of 10 apart, meaning that you would be 10 times more likely to be struck by lightnting than to contract PAM from one of these neti pots. That's a marked difference, not "about the same".

  34. I take issue with the abuse of applying 'ancient wisdom fallacy' to things that are presently not well understood. A few ancient medicines have been re-investigated and shown to be even more effective than some used today. By keeping a restrictive and blind view of past medicine, we quite possibly are forced to repeat lessons already learned. There is scant research on traditional medicines over the past 50 years, which in my mind isn't near enough. At present we are seeing some new approaches to treatment by studying traditional medicines. It doesn't mean we stop modern practices outright. However in cases like MRSA we need to investigate all avenues that look promising. Some of the most promising are centuries old. Apparently, there IS a lot more to learn.
    As far as the neti pot and Naegleria fowleri, I share the same concern and would boil the water 1/2 hour prior. I believe that the use of a neti pot or sinus irrigation can be useful.

  35. I used to have horrible sinus problems. I started using a Neti pot twice a day (morning and right before bed) and I haven't had any issues. Best thing ever invented!!

  36. Holy shit I rinsed my neilpot with tap water and didn't let it air dry.. I did use purified water though, I'm I gonna die?

  37. Good to know! I'll bring my scuba gear when visiting Texas.

    Neti pot is part of a yogic ritual in India. Old and wise medicine. Effective and natural and cheap, Drug companies are creating high priced addictive meds for sinus and nasal passages.

    For all chronic sinus sufferers – take probiotics, use cultured yogurt, and take natural adrenal boosters like Adrenergize, and Thyroid support, and a Vit B 50 complex daily.
    Cut back on caffeine, sugar, high glycemic carbs, dairy. These are the culprits which create mucous in your nose, and damage adrenal glands and thereby thyroid which is dependent on adrenals. This in turn has an effect on body that inflames sinuses. I fixed my adrenal glands, and my chronic sinus issues from childhood DISAPPEARED!!

    Of course there may be other underlying causes, but it cannot hurt to try these as they are cheap and natural and good for you anyway.

  38. As an internist in Louisiana I still haven't seen a case, but it is rightfully taught in residency and considered whenever circumstances are appropriate. It is thought of as just as terrifying a prospect as you seem to consider it. Loved the video!

  39. when I think of Texas I think "cattle, loud men, Dolly Parton type of women, racism, sunshine". ive never been there, DALLAS

  40. hmm i often sniff cold water from my hands then blow my nose when it is blocked or annoyed, is that dangerous? i live in denmark

  41. Boiling water does not necessarily reduce risks from tap water, unless you use a pressure cooker to reach temperatures past 200 degrees. You'd need to do the same with distilled water as that is not necessarily sterile. Using a stainless steel neti pot you heat in the oven to disinfect and using pharmaceutical grade salt are additional ways to reduce if not eliminate the risks.
    Personally, neti pot nasal irrigation has saved me from a life of constant misery .

  42. So does this mean eating fish from these lakes is just as dangerous? These fish are constantly ingesting this water and if these amoeba lay dormant for a while, I'm quite certain that would mean the fish could carry it right?

  43. ive had pam once, the amoeba went up my head, saw how big my brain was, so it said man i cant eat all that and took off.

  44. Cold water lakes and rivers are safe. Rivers are safe because they carry away most parasites and protozoan parasites like amoebas and ick.

  45. My paster never boiled water for his neti pot, he used warm shower water with saline salts, and he has been using that for 35+ years.

  46. Who the hell doesn't nuke the water before using a Neti pot??? Common sense. Also as someone with chronic sinus issues, you can combine a Neti pot with antibiotic ointments and steroids (with dr prescription) to open up your sinuses for those of us with a deviated septum.

  47. What is the risk of PAM like in Australia? I suffer from Sleep Apnea and it has been suggested to me that Nasal Irrigation might help keep my nasal passages as clear as possible and reduce my Apnea.

  48. I used the dirtiest I'm talking do dirty I mean nothing u can see physically but dirty teapot toy that was under the bed didn't wash it. N used nasty bathroom sink tap water n tried it! Now I have these hot flashes in my ear

  49. OK. I had sinus infection coupled with a pretty bad deviated septum. This caused (without my awareness) migraine headaches for years.

    The deviated septum was operated on and the surgeon said that I should also use a neti pot or similar.

    The result of the surgery has been remarkable and has all but eliminated the migraines. However if I stop doing the netipot my nose gets clogged and I wake up with trouble breathing. (Less stuffy than pre op but still stuffy). Diet also helps – too much sugar seems to cause problems.

    Finally I also have a humidifier which also helps. (It's nice anyway even I think for those without problems).

  50. A bit disturbing that this happened so far North, and after being filtered through a Brita.

  51. OK, so I know about the existence of Naegleria fowleri for a very long time and its effects on the human brain, but now I know why there are signs telling people not to put their heads under water in geothermally heated pools

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *