Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swine Flu Precautions - Some tips for prevention from AIMS doctor

Please realize that this is not an official advice, especially the one
about face 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 N95 to protect against H1N1 is like protecting
against rain with an umbrella made of mosquito net.


Tamiflu does not kill but prevents H1N1 from further proliferation till the virus limits
itself in about 1-2 weeks (its natural cycle). H1N1, like other Influenza A viruses, only
infects 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 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).

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/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.

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