Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Preventing H1N1

The following email was forwarded from a friend today. Not sure how effective it is, but there's no harm in trying. Prevention is better than cure!


With the constant fear of H1N1 symptoms, the following measures can be practiced by one and all. This is an information which I just received from my father who is a Consultant General Surgeon & Gastoenterologist, based in India and I do hope it could be beneficial to the students and their families alike.

Tamiflu does not kill but prevents H1N1 from further proliferation till the virus limitsitself in about 1-2 weeks (its natural cycle). H1N1, like other Influenza A viruses, onlyinfects the upper respiratory tract and proliferates (only) there. The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/ throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almostimpossible not coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact withH1N1 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 toprevent 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 (unlessyou want to eat, bathe or slap).

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). H1N1takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and showcharacteristic 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.Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasalcavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cottonbuds 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 (Amla and othercitrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it alsohas Zinc/bioflavonoids 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, proliferate or do any harm.

All these are simple ways to prevent, within means of most households, and certainly much less painful than to wait in long queues outside public hospitals.

I do hope, this information could be passed on to one and all, for a healthy and H1N1 free environment.

No comments: