Dr. Vinay Goyal is an MBBS, DRM, DNB (Intensivist and
Thyroid specialist) having clinical experience of over 20 years. He has
worked in institutions like Hinduja Hospital, Bombay Hospital, Saifee
Hospital, Tata Memorial etc.
Presently, he is heading our Nuclear Medicine Department
and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad
(W). The following message given by him, I feel makes a lot
of sense and is important for all of you to know.
The only portals of entry are the nostrils and
mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost
impossible not coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all
precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much a problem as
While you are still healthy and not showing any
symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation,
aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some
very simple steps, not fully highlighted in most official
communications, can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock
N95 or Tamiflu):
- Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).
- "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe or sleep).
- *Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). *H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.
- Similar to 3 above, *clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. *Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but *blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.*
- *Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). *If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.
- Drink as much warm liquids as you can. *Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.
Nasal cleansing using a well-designed Neti pot can help you:
- Clear your nasal passages
- Remove excess mucus
- Reduce dust and pollen by cleansing nasal passages
- Relieve nasal dryness
Further, Dr. Oz said in an interview with Healthy Living Magazine:
“When you use it [a Neti pot] properly, it reduces dust and other contaminants in the nose, and it’s a very effective way to clean the sinuses. Modern studies are showing that it’s as effective as drugs for preventing sinus infections. Regular use of a neti pot is also hugely beneficial for people with nasal allergies and headaches. It just takes all the gelatinous goo out of there.
What a lot of people don’t know is that the sinuses are linked closely to lung health. The sinuses are a major source of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide opens things up: the blood vessels, the airways. When we intubate a patient through the nose, we always worry about how that will affect their breathing -- because it can reduce the lungs’ content of nitric oxide. So, it follows that keeping the sinuses healthy also keeps the lungs full of fresh, clean air.”