H1N1 Prevention

H1N1 Prevention

by Sarah on October 26, 2009

I received the following email today and enjoyed the way it presented valuable information in a common sense format. I’m not endorsing this doctor, however, and I do think he is a bit mixed on a few crucial points – but this is a great prevention at a glance article.

The following advice, given by Dr. Oz, 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.

Very true. Global pandemic aside, pathogens regularly invade your body all day long – you can thank your immune system for you generally not noticing. The strength of your immune system can make all the difference between you getting over a common cold swiftly, or suffering as it progresses into bronchitis, and then dying of pneumonia. Or in terms more relevant to the times, taking control of swine flu before it takes control of you and kills you with… again, pneumonia.

Dr. Oz goes on to say:

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 or bathe..)

3. *Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine or Hydrogen Peroxide 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, or hydrogen peroxide. *Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but *blowing the nose softly once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.*

Four steps that involve killing the virus manually, and an allusion to the Tamiflu shortage to boot! With the juicy intro above, I really thought we’d be talking more about the immune system by now – though I do recommend the neti pot. However, these all still smack of the big pharma paradigm – the practice of taking something after the fact – and neglects to address the big picture: how a strong, healthy immune system does the fighting for you – and how it’s a whole lot easier to boost your immune system right now, than after you’re sick (boosting your immune system before exposure can prevent ‘proliferation’ too). Trust, your immune system’s gonna do a hell of a lot more for you than a salt water rinse.

[Standard disclaimer – if you’re going to use any antimicrobial soap or medicine, don’t forget about your friendly immune system probiotics! I like to replenish with raw yogurt flavored with cranberry juice, and wash using only natural soaps with 15 seconds of hot water.]

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.

Ah, there it is! A nod to good old immunity. Or is that just a passing wave? Regardless, it’s woefully incomplete, leaving out key immune nutrients such as vitamin D and the aforementioned probiotics. I would add the tip that your best vitamin C source is to juice your own organic oranges, enjoy organic strawberries, or supplement with non-ascorbic acid if possible (my sources tell me ascorbic acid is synthetic, but one of the few synthetic vitamins that still works well in the body – your call). PS: wtf is Amla?

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.

This is where I wonder if the “Dr.” in Dr. Oz truly stands for doctor or if it’s all just marketing. Apparently the pendulum swung over to marketing side on this one, because drinking coffee is simply counteractive to a healthy immune system, and if your doctor disregards this fact, I’d start looking for a new doctor. However, several herbal teas can be soothing and energizing while actually giving your immune system an antiviral boost too.

Overall, I’m glad to see a memo from mainstream media (notice the distancing though, from “official communications”) discussing natural preventative measures and quite conspicuously avoiding the vaccine push. I do feel that most of Oprah’s readers missed out on key information that could benefit them and their families who have to listen to talk about Oprah at dinner (kidding!) I hope this article gives you a stepping stone to those benefits.

And maybe I missed it amidst all the media fear and hype about the pandemic and vaccine… but why is nobody talking about what this means??

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