Combatting the H1N1 Virus

From a lecture of Dr. Vinay Goyal (Thanks to my friend Pindie)

“In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible not coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much the problem as proliferation is. The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. While you are healthy, here are some simple steps – “not fully highlighted in most official communications” – that can be used:

1. Frequent hand-washing.

2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. resist all temptations to touch any part of your face (unless you want to eat or bathe.)

3. Gargle twice daily with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don’t trust salt.) H1N1 takes 2 to 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. Clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (a very good way 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.

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (including eating citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that they also contain 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.”

Since the target population for the H1N1 vaccine is the younger crowd, Dr Goyal suggests passing on this hygiene and nutrition information to kids and grandkids. He says that the older population has some immunity, but it doesn’t hurt any one – of any age – to follow the simple guidelines he’s presented.

(With over 20 years of clinical experience, Dr. Vinay Goyal, MBBS, DRM, DNB, has worked in numerous medical facilities, including Bombay Hospital. Presently, he’s the head of the Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, in India.

Based on his experience, he offers the following observations and recommendations one can take to keep a healthy immune system, and prepare against the H1N1 (swine flu) virus. He says that these measures can be and should be practiced “instead of focusing on stocking up on N95 or Tamiflu.”)