The world is reeling under pandemic COVID-19. A research published in the international journal Lung India, reports that by doing salt based water gargles, and nasal wash (Jal-Neti) on regular basis, can help patients in the early stages of the suspected contraction of this deadly virus.
Dr Sheetu Singh, a chest specialist at Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Medical College, Jaipur authored the research study said that it has a potential of helping patients to fight against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). In this rapid systematic analysis paper Dr Sheetu Singh summarised that this type of therapy may have potential of add-on therapy in prevention and treatment of diseases like COVID. However, she emphasised on proper learning of the nasal wash technique under expert supervision.
The scientific evidence regarding role of gargles and nasal wash in prevention of upper respiratory viral infections manifesting as common cold, cough and fever was too evaluated in patients. She said, “The present study showed that gargles and nasal wash may prevent viral diseases entering through nose and throat. Like hand wash, nose and throat wash may also remove or reduce viral load.” In previous studies it has been shown that cells in throat and nasal mucosa convert chloride ion of hypertonic saline to hypochlorous acid (HOCL) having anti-viral effect. Interestingly, HOCL is also an active component of the bleaching powder, which is used in disinfecting hands by wash.
“Many studies have shown that nasal wash and gargles can reduce period of illness, symptoms of the viral disease and amount of viral shedding, in a study carried out at Edinburgh”, underlined Dr Virendra Singh, leader of the research group and chest expert of Rajasthan Hospital quoting the findings of others.
Interestingly 56% were rhinovirus and 31% were coronavirus (not COVID). With decreasing amount of viral shedding the risk of spread of infection in other household people was also reduced, Dr Virendra Singh said, adding that Japan has included gargles alongside face mask and hand washing in the national guidelines for preventive therapy on influenza control. Their research stressed that on similar lines the gargles and nasal wash may be tried in India according to individual preference in this COVID pandemic.
Dr Sheetu replying to the question of should nasal wash be used widely in COVID-19 said, “In order to take potential benefits of the therapy one may use gargles and nasal wash for prevention and treatment especially in such a situation where we do not have definitive treatment of cure and prevention. One may use it on basis of personal choice and practice. As we await definitive therapy to fight the pandemic this relative safe technique may give a ray of hope especially in prevention of COVID 19.”