Thanks to Dr. Sandeep Ramalingam and colleagues, we now understand the reason why saline sprayed in the nose and gargled in the throat can kill the common cold virus.
We also know about the cleaning power of bleach and are using it to wipe down surfaces to kill COVID-19. Have you ever wondered why this works? There is a chemical in the bleach which will kill pathogens, including fungus, bacteria and virus. The chemical is called hypochlorous acid. Obviously, it is not safe to inhale or ingest bleach. However, we do have an easy and safe alternative! When we put salt water (hypertonic saline) in our nose and mouth guess what our cells create? You got it, hypochlorous acid!
With this knowledge, Ramalingam and colleagues conducted an experiment. In a 2019 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, they studied 60 people who had developed a common cold. Interestingly, 25% of these colds were caused by one of the common coronaviruses. Half of the people used salt-water gargles and nasal inhalation and the other half did not. The hypertonic saline users had milder symptoms and the duration of the cold was significantly blunted. More importantly, saline significantly reduced the spread of the virus to others by 35% – a potentially important finding in the context of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). This is likely due to much less movement of the virus from the infected person into the environment.
A somewhat similar study was performed in 400 children 6-10 years old who developed colds and influenza. One-third of the children were treated with conventional medications while the other two-third used nasal saline (sea water) spray. These children were followed for 12 weeks. The children who used nasal saline regularly had quicker resolution of infection and less reappearance of illness.
Want even more exciting news? Another study in 46 adults followed for one year showed using saline nasal rinse daily significantly reduced the incidence of upper respiratory infections.
Our country is taking bold actions to curtail the spread of COVID-19. We should be bold enough to listen to sage advice from our ancestors. Science has shown us WHY Grandma’s remedy is likely to work against COVID-19!
In light of the tremendous transmission rate of COVID-19, it is our recommendation that we follow Grandma’s advice and use saline water gargles and nasal irrigation daily. Within two weeks, Grandmother may be smiling, as she watches a dramatic reduction in the spread of COVID-19.
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