Don’t Panic, But Louisiana’s Tap Water Probably Contains a Brain Eating Parasite

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Just say no to neti pots. Not only do they look ridiculous (yeah, we get it, they’re really funny), but if you live in Louisiana, you could die from using one without taking the proper precautions.

Louisiana officials warned this week that you might want to hold off on pouring the state’s tap water into your nasal system, a practice that has caught on as a remedy for symptoms of the common cold. You see, the water apparently contains a brain eating parasite called Naegleria fowleri. So far, two men have died from unsafely irrigating their noses with untreated tap water.

Officials insist that people shouldn’t be alarmed, but simply follow a few important rules before getting their neti on.

“If you are irrigating, flushing or rinsing your sinuses, for example, by using a neti pot, use distilled, sterile or previously boiled water to make up the irrigation solution,” Louisiana epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard told reporters. “Tap water is safe for drinking but not for irrigating your nose.”

Oh, and in case you were thinking of visiting the old swimming hole any time soon, Livescience would like to remind you that ponds, rivers, and lakes, especially those in the South, are home to the killer amoeba and that “several Americans die every year from swimming in these waterholes, or using untreated water from them.”

But don’t panic; the instances of the amoeba attacking the human nerve system are pretty rare, and happens only in instances where the water shoots into the nasal passages, like if you dive into a pond without holding your nose or, you know.. you go ahead and just pour the water directly in there with a teapot. In those cases, the victim has a nearly 98% mortality rate.

So hey, the next time your Facebook feed blows up with the “hilarious” photos of some moron acting like they’re the first person to ever use a neti pot, take comfort in knowing that there’s a small possibility that they’ve contracted a microscopic organism that plans to munch on their brain. Suckers.

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