Covid-19 belongs to the corona virus family having many known species. The early symptoms of corona virus infection are similar to that of common cold such as irritation in the nose, throat, blocked or runny nose, itching in the eyes, sneezing, dry throat, cough, fever and headache. Infection begins with upper nasal cavity, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx) and upper parts of trachea. This primary level of infection remains for about 3-4 days before it goes down to the lungs. Once covid-19 virus reaches the lungs and become active, symptoms of bronchitis and pneumonia will appear and the condition of the patients will become serious and hence hospitalization will be needed. People with poor lung conditions such as asthma and chronic pulmonary disease are more vulnerable to covid-19 than others. There are people who are allergic to certain food items, dust, smell, humidity and heat affecting different parts of their respiratory systems. The negative effect of Covid-19 on such patients will be more and severe.
The simple home level methods to control Corona virus infection within the first three to four days as well as for prevention of the same are the following.
1. The most important practice is (a) regular hand washing at least 20 to 30 seconds as advised by medical department. Along with hand washing (b) splash water into each open eye for 20-30 seconds followed by (c) cleaning of both nostrils by controlled suctioning of water into each nostril from a cupped hand and blowing it out strongly for 5-10 times. (d Using of clean kerchiefs as masks after folding it corner to corner and tying it on your face covering the nose and mouth. After each use dip the kerchief in boiling water for about 20-30 minutes and wash and leave it for drying and take another kerchief for use. Thus three kerchiefs can serve you as efficient masks giving the best results for common people. High quality masks are needed for medical personal dealing with covid-19 patients. Keep wearing the masks at home and outside. Anyone could be an asymptomatic covid-19 carrier.
Hereafter wearing masks should become a habit of the people of the people in India as was the practice of Japanese and hence Japan has the minimum covid-19 infection.
3. All the virus will die at temperatures at and above 65-70 degree C. Taking advantage of this information any one can exterminate any virus infecting in our upper respiratory system within the first three to four days of infection. The commonly suggested method of steam inhalation is very effective against covid-19 too. Go for steam inhalation as soon as one feels the symptoms of usual cold. Use the commonly available steam inhaler or even a suitable vessel over an electric heater. Stoves with flames are not recommended. As the steam begins to come out position your face over the emitting steam and cover your head with a bed sheet in such a way that no air from outside comes inside. Adjust the distance of your face from the source of steam so that you are able to bear the maximum heat of the steam. Breath-in the steamy air as much as possible through nose, hold it in the lungs 5-9 seconds and exhale it through the mouth. Next inhale through the mouth and hold for 5-9 seconds and exhale through your nose. Repeat this process for 15-20 minutes. By practice and determination you will be able to bear the heat of the steam as much as possible and you will be able to inhale steam at the temperature between 70 and 80 degree C or even above. Continue to inhale for about 18 minutes at a stretch but not more than 20 minutes at a time. After 18 minutes move away from the steam source but keep the bed sheet around your chest region for about 10 more minutes to maintain the warmth. Do this steam inhalation one to four times a day depending on the persistence of the symptoms. Always do the steam inhalation in empty stomach. It is advisable to have an electric steam inhaler located at a suitable location in every house and every member of the family take the steam inhalation every day as many times as needed since people in India are prone to many viral and bacterial infections of their respiratory systems ranging from cold to tuberculosis.
Have an electric steam inhaler located at a suitable place in every house and every member of the family take the steam inhalation every day as many times as needed. This is very effective against all viral and bacterial diseases affecting the respiratory system.
4. Vicks inhalation is another method of overcoming corona infection at the initial stage. For this apply Vicks Vapo-rub on the inside of your palms and rub each other to get the Vicks spread evenly on the inside of your palms. Lie down on a bed or sit or a chair holding the palms close to the face. Ask someone to cover your head and the upper portion of your body with a blanket or a thick bed sheet to prevent air coming inside. Take deep breath holding the Vicks smeared palms close to your face. You will get the strong smell of the Vicks going through your nostrils down to your lungs; hold the breadth for 6-10 seconds and exhale within the blanket cover. Inhale and exhale for about 15-20 minutes or till the smell of the Vicks becomes negligible. You will feel relief. You can wash off the remnants of Vicks from your hands. You may repeat the same two or three times a day. Both steam and Vicks inhalation can be practiced before going to bed but never do them soon after a meal.
5. If you feel infection in your throat gargle with warm thick black tea with salt dissolved in. For this prepare a cup of thick black tea. Dissolve in it a teaspoon full of salt. Stand near a wash basin, take small gulp of black tea-salt solution into the mouth; you will feel the solution very salty; try to bear with it and mental determination to gargle even though it is very salty; take a deep breath through the nose, tilt your head slightly backward and gargle in a relaxed way splashing the solution all over the throat area; after gargling one breath bring your head to the normal position and take another deep breath, tilt the head slightly backward and gargle relaxingly. Thus gargle for at least three to five breaths and then spit the tea-salt solution into the wash basin. You will see small lumps of black-brownish-fungal-growth like thing will coming out. Repeat the gargling till the black-brownish thing almost stopped coming out. Do not try too much of the gargling as it may give you a scratchy or hoarse feeling on your throat. However after every tea-salt gargling take something very sweet like honey, chocolates etc. and swallow slowly to regain the soothing feeling in your throat. If you have pain in the throat take any of the lozenges or cough syrup or sugar syrup. If you are diabetic just gargle with cough syrup for about 10 minutes and spit out the content out. With two or three gargling you will feel your throat smooth. As you all know thick salt or sugar solutions kill germs of any sort.
A cup of thick black tea mixed with a tea spoon of common salt is an excellent gargling decoction to bring out all the infection from your infected throat.
6. The traditional pepper and ginger decoction taken for cold is also effective. Basically it is made of crushed pepper and ginger boiled in water. You can add other spices and condiments like thulsi, haldi, cinnamon etc. Sip the decoction at as bearable warmth as possible and hold the breadth for about 6-10 seconds allowing the warmth to radiate down to the throat.
7. Exercise is invigorating the body and gives you additional resistance to your body. It enhances increased circulation of the blood, accelerates the breathing rate allowing more oxygen to come into the lung. Take a normal walk for 10 minutes and then increase the speed as much as you can for another 5 minutes before you slow down to the original speed for another 5-10 minutes. As you walk at a medium pace take a deep breadth to fill maximum air in your lungs and then continue walking holding the breath and counting the steps. Hold the breadth up to a count of 30 or 40 steps and then release the breadth. You will find yourself panting for few minutes but continue walking; again take another deep breadth and walk as many steps as possible. Repeat this several times. This exercise will increase the elasticity of your lungs, oxygen intake and blood circulation. It also gives good exercise to the heart and lungs.
8. Equally important is the daily balanced intake of food which can provide enough energy, protein, 14 vitamins and about 30 minerals. Maintaining resistance to the disease is more important than treating them. Vitamins and minerals are needed for protecting our body from diseases. Often we catch sickness due to shortage of one or more vitamins and minerals. To ensure availability of all vitamins and minerals take at least one serving each of cooked leafy vegetables, root vegetables and pod and immature fruit vegetables per head per day. For convenience all these three types can be cooked together as we don in the south Indian dishes like Sambar and Avial. Along with these mixed vegetable preparation take also a handful of salad items, mixed fruit salad and germinated pulses in your diet. Diet is the type and quantity of food items required to provide you a balanced diet. REMEMBER MORE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD ARE BECOMING SICK DUE TO POOR NUTRITION, ESPECIALLY IN A WORLD OF PEOPLE WITH A CRAZE FOR FAST AND TASTY FOOD.
(Writer is a nutritionist & retired Professor, XIM, Bhubaneswar. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)(Published on 1th June 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 23)