NE of the best parts about the movie Contact was learning the meaning of the scientific principle Occam’s Razor, which says all things being equal, the simplest choice is usually the right one.
H1N1, or the Swine Flu as it has been affectionately dubbed, is no exception.
All things being equal, prevention is still the best defense we have against such invaders. In addition to proactively building our immune systems on a daily basis (see previous posts), we can also follow these six simple guidelines, and in doing so, will greatly reduce our families’ risk of contracting the virus.
Thanks to my dear friend and teacher Loretta for the tips. Be well!!
The only portals of entry are the nostrils, mouth and throat.
In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s impossible to avoid contact with H1N1. The key is to prevent it from actually taking hold or breaking through the immune system where it starts to live and grow.
While you are still healthy and symptom-free, follow these very simple steps (not mentioned in most official CDC communications). If you practice these habits instead of spending your time stocking up on N95 or Tamiflu, you will be much safer!
STEP 1: HAND WASHING
The best way to do this is to wash your hands FIRST THING when you return home from any activity outside the house. Make it a habit. Even if you just ran a brief errand, make it a regular practice to wash your hands as soon as you come in the door.
I take it one step further and keep purel in my car. But that is not a substitute for hand washing as soon as you get home.
STEP 2: KEEP HANDS OFF THE FACE
STEP 3: GARGLE 2X DAILY.
Even after you pick up the virus, you have 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity before H1N1 starts showing symptoms. Simple gargling will prevent you from ever getting sick! 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.
STEP 4: CLEAN YOUR NOSE.
Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. (Neti Pots are very good for practicing 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 also very effective in bringing down viral population).
If you really want to flush the sinus and throat cavity, and that hard-to-reach junction where the two meet, your best bet is a bulb syringe . Place a small amount of alkalol (available at most drug stores) in a small bowl with 3 parts warm water. Fill the bulb syringe, take a deep breath, hold it, tilt the head back, and squeeze half of the contents into one nostril while holding the other one closed. Immediately suck the liquid from the nostril into the back of the throat, and then spit.
You may feel a slight burning but it will be temporary. This is a wonderful way to dry out mucous if you already have congestion in the nose.
For smaller children this will be impossible. Your best bet is just making sure the nose stays empty and clean.
STEP 5: INCREASE YOUR INTAKE OF VITAMIN C.
Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc/bioflavonoids to boost absorption.
STEP 6: DRINK WARM LIQUIDS.
Drink as many 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 suggestions are simple ways to prevent, are within the means of most households, and certainly much less painful than to wait in long queues outside public hospitals.