Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some tips to stay safe from H1N1

I received this the other day as a forward. All the points make sense,
therefore have posted it on India Helps. Thanks Itchy:

Some tips for prevention from AIIMS doctor


Thanks to media hype about H1N1, several people who trust me have
either approached or called me to advice. The hype in media about the
utility of face masks and N95 respirators as a tool for general
protection against H1N1 can't be deplored enough. Yesterday, a friend
who listened wanted me to write down briefly what I advised so that he
could tell others in similar
words. Hence this short email to friends whom I have advised recently
(and others whom I haven't yet). 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

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 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.

Happy breathing!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Kiran. that was so helpful.

India Hospital said...

Good blog, mate! Keep up the good work!