Simple ways to prevent influenza/H1N1 (Swine Flu)

Following are Prevention Tips to minimize getting H1N1 (Swine Flu)…

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, Tata Memorial etc. Presently, he is heading the Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W). The following is a message given by him:

The only portals of entry of the H1N1 virus are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature,  it’s almost impossible not 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). This is not a joke.  Make it a ritual habit…make it part of your daily routine… DO NOT BE LAZY…!

2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of  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.

Nasal Cleansing (Neti) Pot

Nasal Cleansing (Neti) Pot

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 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 (such as citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that they also have Zinc to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much warm liquid as you can (such as teas, soups and broths). 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.

LET’S ALL BE HEALTHY AND HAPPY…!