Here are some “water ways” to protect yourself from H1N1 and other forms of flu. (As always, check with your doctor before doing anything that affects your body.)
First, the source: Dr Vinay Goyal MBBS, MD, DM is Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology Neurosciences Centre at All India Institute of Medical Sciences. His areas of interest are movement disorders and neuro-infectious diseases. Presently, he is heading the Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W).
Here is his advice, which dovetails nicely with the water-based therapies already described elsewhere on this blog.
The only portals of entry 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 proliferation is.
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 face (except to eat or bathe).
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. gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected o ne. 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 that has been boiled and cooled, or use purified water. *Not everybody may be good at using a Neti pot 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. [Easy instructions for saltwater nose rinses can be found in Health 2 0.]
5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla [Indian gooseberry]and other citrus fruits [e.g. orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit]. *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.
8 responses to “H1N1 Protection: Simple Ways With Water”
But: Not only are mouth and nostrils entries to cold viruses – so are your eyes. Never touch your eyes – better even: Don’t touch your face!
Getting enough sleep seems to be very important – sleep deprivations dampens your immune function.
Alexa Fleckenstein M.D.
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Love your post. Great common sense strategies our society has gotten away from. Especially since research out today shows there will be 22,000 new cases of Guillen Barre from the H1N1 vaccine; prevention is the obvious answer.
I wish I knew all the answers! Where did you get your numbers from? The Center for Disease Control expects about one additional case of Guillain-Barre per one million vaccinations. With 20 million doses available at present, that would come to 20 cases. At another place they concede that there might be one case in 100,000 vaccinations – even that higher number would only yield 200 cases.
Each case, of course, is a case too much. In about 80 percent, Guillain-Barre is slowly reversible with no or only minor consequences. It is fatal in about 3 percent, and the remaining cases can have severe neurological damage.
Older people (who went through the 1976 swine flu season) have likely immunity and I would not recommend the vaccine for them – unless they insist. For children and younger adults, the situation is more difficult. It sees that mostly children with pre-existent disease suffer severely fro the H1N1 flu. And obese people are susceptible, too. So, those would be the ones to whom I would offer the vaccine. In all other persons the likelihood is great that the flu will be rather mild.
Thank you for your comment!
Alexa Fleckenstein .D.
This is Wendy Harman from the American Red Cross.
I’d like to invite you and your readers to join our Chief Nurse Sharon Stanley for an online chat about H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccinations next Monday at 2:15 ET here:
Participants will be able to submit questions and Sharon will answer as many as she can get to within the hourlong live chat.
Thanks for your help! We hope to chat with you soon.
I have been doing cold showers for years, and I am certain that they have boosted my immunity.
I think that the most exciting news in the past few years has been the research on vitamin D.
The best source of vitamin D is the sun. Today, February 21, I actually spent 20 minutes sunbathing in a park in New York City, standing in the snow. But, if access to the sun is restricted, supplementation with vitamin D3 is an effective means of increasing one’s resistance to infectious diseases, including H1N1.
I could not agree more: “The best source of vitamin D is the sun.” And the research really is exciting!
What has not been studied enough, however, is if artificial vitamin D has the same benefits as the sunlight. For vitamin A, E and beta-carotene it already has been shown that they promote cancer. And years ago they were touted as safe…
Alexa Fleckenstein M.D.
Great and useful post!! You pull information together in a way that make comprehensive sense and catalyzes action.
Another useful practice to prevent airborne pathogens from entering the blood stream through the inside of the nostrils is to coat them with unrefined Sesame Oil which keeps them moist. Place a couple of drops of Sesame Oil on the end of the pinky and apply up to the length of the first digit on both sides.
Reason: Dry nostrils can lead to cracks in the micro-capillaries which allows airborne pathogens entry into the blood stream –> infection. While nasal cleansing with warm salt water (a practice called “Neti” in the yogic tradition) will moisten the nostrils, the salt water, especially if too concentrated, can lead to dryness and cracking.