Some tips for prevention from AIMS doctor, although bit lengthy but worthy reading.. Friends,
Thanks to media hype about H1N1, several people who trust me haveeither approached or called me to advise. The hype in media about theutility of face masks and N95 respirators as a tool for generalprotection against H1N1 can't be deplored enough. Yesterday, a friendwho listened wanted me to write down briefly what I advised so that hecould tell others in similar words. Hence this short email to friendswhom I have advised recently (and others whom I haven't yet). Pleaserealize that this is not an official advice, especially the one aboutface masks or N95.
Most N95 respirators are designed to filter 95% particulates of 0.3µ,while the size of H1N1 virus is about 0.1µ. Hence, dependence on N95to protect against H1N1 is like protecting against rain with anumbrella made of mosquito net.
Tamiflu does not kill but prevents H1N1 from further proliferationtill the virus limits itself in about 1-2 weeks (its natural cycle).H1N1, like other Influenza A viruses, only infects the upperrespiratory tract and proliferates (only) there. The only portals ofentry are the nostrils and mouth/ throat. In a global epidemic of thisnature, it's almost impossible not coming into contact with H1N1 inspite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of aproblem as proliferation is.
While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptomsand development of secondary infections, some very simple steps – notfully 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 anypart of face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap).
3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if youdon't trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in thethroat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms.Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with saltwater has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has onan infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive andpowerful preventative method.
4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every daywith warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or SutraNeti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing thenose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton budsdipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viralpopulation.
5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C(Amla and other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with VitaminC tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.
6. Drink as much of warm liquids as you can. Drinking warm liquidshas the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. Theywash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach wherethey 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 Govt. hospitals.
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