Don’t use unsterilized tap water to rinse your sinuses. It may carry brain-eating amoebas

Two new studies document rare infections from using the wrong liquid for nasal rinses

A single silver tap protrudes from a crumbling beige tiled wall. There is a stream of water running from the tap. A circular inset with a triangle pointing to the water has an illustration of one pink blobby amoeba with at least five knobby protrusions. Part of another pink amoeba is visible in the left side of the circle.

Brain-eating amoebas like Naegleria fowleri (illustration inset, right) may lurk in tap water (photo). Using unsterilized tap water for nasal rinses for health or religious reasons could, in rare cases, give people deadly brain infections.


Nasal rinses can relieve sinus congestion.