Common signs of coronavirus infection include respiratory symptoms, fatigue fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. It seems that colds and cases of flu usually have more upper respiratory symptoms, including sneezing; however, the presentation of COVID-19 is very varied.
Remember, coronavirus starts its journey to the lungs via the nose and throat. It enters into the cells of the mucus membranes, the lining of your nose and throat, where it multiplies. After a few days, new viruses are released and travel down into the lungs where they do the most damage.
Most cases are mild. However, a severe case is deadly or will leave you with scarred lungs, and we can’t predict who will have mild or severe symptoms.
Here are a few ideas to give you the best chance to avoid infection.
1. Carefully fulfill social distancing measures, as directed by government agencies.
2. Wear masks in high risk, potentially crowded environments, such as shopping centers.
3. When returning from potential exposure to the virus, for example, after you have visited a populated area or touched surfaces, do the following:
- Remove all clothing and put them into a washing machine.
- Have a good shower, washing your hair well.
- Do neti and gargle with hot salt water with a little white vinegar to (we hope) remove as much viral load as you can before it gets into your system (it’s worth a try)
Neti and nasal douche
One way to reduce the viral load may be to do neti (nasal douche) and gargle using hot salt water mixed with a teaspoon of white vinegar, especially after you come back into the home after being potentially exposed.
What you need:
- Hot water, as hot as you can tolerate, and of course be careful not to burn yourself (run the water on the back of your hand to check the temperature.)
- Pure kitchen salt with no additives (no flowing agents).
- White vinegar.
- Neti pot (available online) or nasal douche (available from your chemist or pharmacy).
For both neti and nasal douche do the following:
Take one teaspoon of salt in a glass of hot water – it is a good idea to initially try this mixture without vinegar so that you can adjust the amount of salt to a comfortable level. If there is too little or too much salt, you will feel a burning sensation.
Once you know your level of salt, add one teaspoon of white vinegar and again adjust the quantity so that you feel the effect without too much burning. I prefer a little more vinegar even though the feeling is intense, as I always feel better afterward.
When the amount of salt is properly adjusted, the sense of saltwater passing through the nose is enjoyable and soothing. Personally, when I have a cold, I prefer to use a little extra salt as I experience reduced inflammation.
While doing neti or douching, try to suck the water from the back of your nose into your mouth to get the water into all the crevices in the nasopharynx.
No neti pot? You can also suck the mixture into your nose from the palm of your hand.
Take a glass of hot water. Add one teaspoon of salt and one or two teaspoons of white vinegar. Gargle with this mixture for about 60 seconds.