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My stepmother sends out email forwards - not too many, but they always have to do with health and historically, they are always wrong. Today, she sent me one that has some known good advice and some advice that sounds like bullshit to me:

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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 our Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W).

The following message given by him, I feel makes a lot of sense and is important for all to know

The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible to avoid 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).

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.

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 (Amla and other citrus fruits). *If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has 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.

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I have been researching, trying to find whether salt water can actually help with killing the H1N1 virus, which I doubt, and whether the virus is even transmitted in a way that this treatment could address. For instance, if the virus is transmitted via breathing it in, I would imagine it gets past the places you could run salt water through and that it would get past them in a single breath.

The tea advice also seems like bullshit to me. Vitamin C is as it does, but you only absorb so much of it.

None of the advice seems actually harmful - or I would take it up with my stepmother. If it's not harmful it doesn't seem worth it. I was unable to find any information supporting the allegations (I merely saw the allegations repeated a lot) on the web. Does anyone have more concrete knowledge?
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metagnat

July 2011

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