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Safe ritual nasal rinsing
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  • Corporate Authors:
    National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (U.S.), Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases.
  • Description:
    Use safe water to protect yourself from a deadly brain infection.

    Many tiny germs live in warm water. Naegleria fowleri is a water-loving ameba (very small germ) that is often found around the world in ponds, lakes, and rivers. It also can hide in pipes connected to tap water.

    Naegleria is so small, even water that looks, smells, and tastes clean can have the amebae swimming in it. Nasal rinsing with unsafe water can lead to infection.

    Many people perform ritual nasal rinsing. This practice is included in Yogic, Ayurvedic, and Islamic traditions.

    Use safe water to protect yourself.

    Take at least one of these actions to make your water safe and lower your risk of becoming infected with Naegleria during ritual nasal rinsing:

    • Boil: Use water that has been previously boiled for 1 minute and left to cool.

    » At elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for 3 minutes.

    • Filter: Use a filter designed to remove some water-loving germs.

    » The label may read “NSF 53” or “NSF 58.”

    » Filter labels that read “absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller” are also effective.

    • Buy: Use water with a label specifying that it contains distilled or sterile water.

    • Disinfect: Learn how to disinfect your water to ensure it is safe from Naegleria.

    » Chlorine bleach used at the right level and time will work as a disinfectant against this germ.



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