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 , and Tata Memorial. Presently, he is heading the Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W).
He offers the following message regarding the prevention of spreading the H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu).
The only portals of entry for this virus are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as is proliferation.
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):
1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).
2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of the face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap).
3. 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.
4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water . Nasal Irrigation (known as Jala Neti in Ayurveda) using a neti pot is best. Oprah and Dr. Oz recommend it! 🙂
If you are unable to use a neti pot, try blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton swabs dipped in warm salt water. These techniques can be very effective in bringing down viral population.
Neti pots and sinus rinse kits are available at the drug store and relatively inexpensive….under $15.
Carrie adds, “Meijer and Walgreen has a brand called NeilMed NasaFlo that includes premixed packets of saline formula that is really gentle. This neti pot is nice since it is plastic, it’s great for traveling. When I bought mine, it was $13.39”
Luna Jordan would like to add that a drop of oil can be placed in each nostril following nasal irrigation to prevent the nasal membranes from drying out (especially in dry climates). Dr. Vasant Lad says to “Dip the clean little finger into the appropriate oil and insert into each nostril as deeply as possible.” Make sure your fingernails are trimmed. As long as the sinuses are not overly congested, brahmi oil (which is made from gotu kola or bacopa in a sesame oil base or ghee can be used.)
5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (such as citrus and broccoli). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.
6. Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) 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.
Here are a few more suggestions from yoga therapy for the prevention of H1N1:
7. Keep warm with warm clothes and warm food, and if possible even the air you breathe should be warm. The virus does not proliferate as well in heat as it does in cold.
8. Be sure to get plenty of rest.
9. One more suggestion for yoga practitioners in particular, if you practice pranayama (breathwork), you should not breathe as deeply, especially if you begin to show any symptoms. Also avoid Bhastrika (Bellows Breath).
STAY HEALTHY THIS WINTER!
If you need help with the Neti Pot, please contact Carrie, she does this….even in public! 🙂