Yet another reason to avoid getting fresh water up your nose — even if you aren’t at a water park: Louisiana health officials have confirmed that tests conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a local parish has brain-eating amoebae in its drinking water.
The tests come after a four-year-old boy died from an infection caused by the naegleri fowleri last month, reports CNN. Parish water levels were low on chlorine, tipping off officials that something could be wrong, as chlorine is needed to kill the amoebae.
It’s just fine to drink and cook with such water, officials reminded the public, but getting it up your nose poses a risk of letting the amoeba in and providing a path to your brain.
The pesky things are usually found in hot springs and warm fresh water, often in the Southeastern United States, posing problems for at least one freshwater water park where another victim was infected recently. Less than 1% of those who contract amoebic meningoencephalitis survive the infection, but the CDC is working on a new drug that could help fight it — so far, it’s already apparently saved the 12-year-old who caught an amoeba at the water park.
We’ve said it once but it’s worth saying again: Don’t swim in fresh water when it’s hot out and the water level is low; use nose clips or hold your nose if you do decide to go for a dip anyway; try not to stir up sediment in shallow freshwater areas and only use distilled or sterilized water in your neti pot.