Friday, October 23, 2009

Thwarting H1N1

If your community is anything like ours, there is mass chaos ensuing over the microscopic H1N1 tyrant. Schools are on alert, parents are abuzz with talk, and the pediatricians are working plenty of overtime. As of Wednesday, our ped had 15 new cases in her small town practice!

I just received an email with the following info from a Dr. Vinay Goyal, an MBBS,DRM,DNB (Intensivist and Thyroid specialist). While I can't validate the source (Snopes had no info on him), the information transmitted appears to be very sound.

*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 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.


Kathy said...

The best defense against the flu or any other virus is good overall health: cut the sugar out of your diet, exercise vigorously every day, get adequate sleep. The typical American diet and lifestyle is a magnet for disease—the flu and much worse (diabetes, heart disease, cancer). If your general health is good, even if you do get the flu, you will not, in all likelihood, suffer much from it.

Right Said Red said...

Thanks B-mama! We came across this information last week (via MaryAlice) and have instituted some of these practices in our home. Unfortunately Kathy, with a newborn in the house, getting enough sleep isn't always possible. I find that sleep and diet are the two biggest things to help prevent getting sick. As a mother of young children, I can control diet...but at present sleep alludes me, and as a result I am currently suffering with a head cold!

Mary Alice said...

I think these are great advice. My babies had colds last week and I went into lockdown, we did lots of saline, lots of fluids, and we were able to get rid of the cold. I don't want to have these colds that last all winter anymore, and I think it is worth a week at home to really get better. A friend who has the flu right now was told that getting back to life too soon is a problem, both in spreading in the flu and in relapses.

Kellie, I can vouch for saline and warm fluids, works wonders for a head cold, as well as Johnson's Vapo bath, I use it for the kids and for myself!

Elena said...

I stopped by our local church yesterday and the holy water fonts were empty; in the place of holy water was the new sacramental - Purell!

Mary Alice said...


that brings up an interesting point -- I've stopped receiving from the cup. Jennifer, Jesus through Mary or one of our other learned theologians, can you offer advice about this?

texas mommy said...

Our parish (and those in our diocese) stopped distributing the Precious Blood several months ago due to flu concerns.

Elena said...

We've also stopped the kiss of peace entirely and our priest is not shaking hands at the back of church anymore.

Kathy said...

Red, I'm not discounting any of the suggestions offered, but just wanted to draw attention to the importance of a good foundation for health with attention to eating, exercise and sleep. It would seem to me those are the critical areas to focus on, particularly at a time when we're concerned about flu viruses. And, I would think it best to find ways to improve on those proven areas of good health.

Is there anyone you can call on to help you at home so you can get more rest? Can you afford to hire some help? It's so important for you and your children too that you take care of you!

Mary Alice said...

Kathy, I think your advice is sound, and I think that for nursing mothers it is especially important to watch the nutrition and hydration, because interrupted sleep makes you more vulnerable, as well as to slow way down at the first sign of anything. This is tough when there are school age children and toddlers as well, but it is a good goal. Even forcing oneself to nap when the sitter comes rather than go out on errands can help.

Any advice on vitamins for little kids? My kids have recently rejected orange juice, I think they are just sick of having it every morning, but I thought of it like medicine. I am thinking of giving them vitamin C instead?

Kathy said...

I'm not a believer in vitamin supplements. I've never given them to my kids and don't take any myself. (My husband is a believer, though, and takes a very expensive cocktail of pills and vitamins every morning. Want to guess who gets sick most often in our house--my husband!)

My brother-in-law, a university chemistry professor, also disabused us of the notion that orange is a significant source of useable vitamin C. What may be in the carton before it's opened is, for the most part, lost once you open it.

The best foods to feed ourselves and our kids are whole foods. The closest to its natural state you eat food, the better. For vitamin C, we eat lots of broccoli, cantaloupe and oranges. Last year I bought a juicer so we can have fresh-squeezed oj--that's the only way you can count on the oj being a good source of vitamin C.

I don't have little ones anymore but I know feeding them can be tricky, and stressful. If you don't have a juicer, I think it's a very good investment (and, of course, you can make lots more than orange juice!).

Last year I became acquainted with a book that has helped us eat better here--Nourishing Traditions. I was led to it by an article pulled from it that confirmed what I have long held to be true, that it is the sugar in the diet, not fat, that's the killer.

I think it's particularly important for little children and aging adults (like me) who don't need great quantities of food, to make every bite count. We can't waste calories on sugar.

Erin said...

Any thoughts on the little guys receiving the H1N1 vaccine, or pregnant women? Any other prego ladies out there going to receive the vaccine or already have? I am a bit nervous to receive it, but not naive to pregnant women being at the top of the high risk category. Thoughts?

Christy said...

Erin- i don't know if you'll see this as it's been a couple of days since your comment but here goes...
I can't speak to giving the vaccine to infants, but I'm 20 weeks pregnant with my first and i just received the H1N1 vaccine (the injection, not the mist). This was a much prayed over and (shameful admission coming...) fretted over decsion. When it came down to it, my husband and I decided that the risks of the H1N1 virus exceed risks of the vaccine for pregnant women. There is alot of information out there as i'm sure you're finding. I waded through so much literature trying to decide what was best for our family. I'll keep you in prayer as you do the same. Feel free to e-mail me if you'd like links to some of what i read on the topic.