Nasal Saline Washes as a Preventive Measure against COVID-19 Severity

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Abstract

Nasal saline washes have been found to be a potential preventive measure against the severity of COVID-19, especially when administered within 24 hours of diagnosis. The ability of saline washes to flush out contaminants and reduce the viral load in the nasal cavity may play a role in mitigating the risks associated with COVID-19.

Background and Findings

According to research led by Augusta University, nasal saline washes performed twice daily can significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. The study, published in the Ear, Nose & Throat Journal, reveals that initiating nasal washes within 24 hours of diagnosis can prevent the virus from entering the lungs, thereby reducing the severity of the disease. This is attributed to the ability of saline washes to remove contaminants, including viruses, from the nasal cavity.

Mechanism of Action

The efficacy of nasal saline washes in preventing COVID-19 severity stems from its ability to interfere with the virus’s entry into the body. The nasal cavity contains numerous ACE2 receptors, which are binding sites for the COVID-19 virus’s spike protein. By flushing out the nasal cavity with saline, the washes can prevent the virus from attaching to these receptors and gaining entry into the body.

Safety and Accessibility

Nasal saline washes are a safe and inexpensive intervention that can be easily administered at home. The researchers recommend using half a teaspoon of salt and baking soda in a cup of boiled or distilled water. This simple intervention can be particularly beneficial in remote areas with limited healthcare access.

Comparative Analysis

The study involved comparing data from high-risk COVID-19 patients who had undergone nasal washes with datasets of 3 million COVID-19 cases from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The results showed that only 1.3% of COVID-19 patients who used nasal washes required hospitalization, indicating a significant reduction in the likelihood of hospitalization compared to the 11% in the CDC dataset.

Historical and Cultural Context

Nasal irrigation has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine under the practice of ‘jala-neti’. The University of Wisconsin-Madison highlights its use in conditions such as sinusitis, cold, and allergic rhinitis. Co-author Kyle Schwartz suggests that Southeast Asian countries, where nasal irrigation is a common hygiene practice, may have benefited from this practice in mitigating the severity of COVID-19.

Expert Perspective

Shantanu Panja, an eye-nose-throat and head and neck surgeon, emphasizes the ease of implementing nasal saline washes without additional costs to patients. He notes that “jala-neti” has been a part of Indian yoga practices for millennia, highlighting its potential as a preventive measure.

Conclusion

Nasal saline washes, when initiated promptly after COVID-19 diagnosis, have been shown to be a promising strategy for reducing the severity, hospitalizations, and deaths associated with the virus. Their ability to interfere with viral entry and reduce viral load in the nasal cavity makes them a simple yet effective preventive measure.

Credit and Rights

OMG I Yoga

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