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H1N1 preventative tips


Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Vinay Goyal practical suggestions mirror what our parents and grandparents taught us growing up. During his visit to Molokai, HI, he lectured on the origin of and precautions for H1N1 (Swine Flu).

‘In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible not coming in contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions.’ says Dr. Goyal. So what exactly is H1N1?..Like other Influenza A viruses, H1N1 only infects the upper respiratory track and proliferates (cause to grow or increase rapidly) only there. The portal of entry is the nostrils and mouth/throat. 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:

  1.  Frequent hand-washing.
  2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach except to eat, bathe, etc.
  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 person. Don’t underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.
  4. Clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water, swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.
  5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C, or Vitamin C tablets that contain Zinc to boost absorption.
  6.  Drink as much of 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.

Mask and Tamiflu:

  • What most N95 respirators (face masks) are designed to filter is about 95% particulates of 0.3, while the size of H1N1 virus is about 0.1. Hence, dependence on N95 to protect against H1N1 is like protecting against rain with an umbrella made of mosquito net.
  • Tamiflu drug does not kill the virus, but it prevents H1N1 from further proliferation till the virus limits itself in about 1-2 weeks during the virus’ natural cycle.

Source: Dr. Vinay Goyal and various web/news reports