An update from a professional colleague who recently attended H1N1 Pandemic PlanningCheers, Dr. Ohlhauser
With all the media hype about H1N1, there is much confusion about the prevention and protection of ourselves and loved ones during a pandemic. As a certified pandemic planner, I have over the past week, experienced an increase in the number of H1N1 inquiries from those I know both personally and professionally.And so with this in mind, here’s a bit of information that I hope you will find helpful in clarifying how best to take preventative measures.
Please recognize that this is information intended to be helpful only, and that it is not medical advice.
Please note: on the issue of utility masks, most N95 respirators are designed to filter 95% particulates of 0.3µ; 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 the virus. It is a protocol that can be used in prophylaxis and for treatment upon the diagnosis of a physician. It prevents H1N1 from further proliferation until such time as the virus limits itself, usually about 1-2 weeks (its natural cycle). H1N1, like other Influenza A viruses, only infects the upper respiratory tract and proliferates there. The portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/ throat.
In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible to not come into contact with H1N1, despite every precaution you may take. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as preventing any proliferation of the virus.
While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, you can take a few simple steps to reduce your risk of illness, and to prevent proliferation. They include 1. Frequent hand-washing including the use of an antiseptic cleanser such as Purell.
2 "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist the temptation to touch any part of your face.
3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use a recognized mouthwash if you don't enjoy salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat or nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Gargling is a simple, inexpensive, and proven preventative method.
4. Similarly, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at using a Neti pot (a more holistic approach to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in reducing virons.
5. Maintain a healthy diet and boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.
6. Drink plenty of warm liquids. 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.
7. Exercise and get lots of sleep. A commitment to exercise and lots of sleep is a healthy practice at all times, but especially when you are wanting to boost immunity. Don’t compromise on this.
8. Vaccination. There is good reason to consider vaccination, whether you are at high risk or not. In encourage you to engage your health care professional for specific advice regarding the vaccine, and believe that doing so is a responsible step towards protecting not only yourself, and your family, but your entire community.
Taking these simple and practical steps toward prevention, which is well within reach for most of us, is much less problematic and painful than becoming ill, and potentially having to visit a doctor or hospital.
In good health!
Lara Masse MBA, CEC, ACC Higher Ground, Inc. 1820 Bell Tower, 10104 - 103 Avenue Edmonton, AB T5J 0H8 780-965-7469 (Direct) 780-408-6776 (Office)