Home Health Washing your nose twice a day: the remedy against Covid

Washing your nose twice a day: the remedy against Covid

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Washing your nose twice a day: the remedy against Covid

Washing the sinuses twice a day with water and physiological solution is the simplest and most effective home remedy against Covid-19. A good practice that, if inserted daily during the illness, would have the potential to make us heal much earlier and, in patients at risk, to greatly reduce hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus. A new study recently published in Ear, Nose & Throat Journalwho studied the reaction of a group of people considered to be at high risk – by age and clinical condition – to nasal washes.

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Less hospitalization and fewer deaths among those at risk

In the study, a group of patients was asked to perform at least two washes per day for a period of 28 days, starting from the first day of Sars-Cov-2 virus positivization. Their consistency was then monitored on the basis of daily questionnaires. 79 patients were involved with an average age of 64 years and an average body mass index greater than 30, which indicates, by definition, a condition of obesity. During the monitoring period, only one participant was hospitalized and another went to the emergency room but was not hospitalized.

Here are some numbers

Less than 1.3 percent of patients aged 55 and over who enrolled within 24 hours of a positive Covid-19 test between September 24 and December 21, 2020, underwent hospitalization. Nobody died. Comparing the statistics with those of a group of people with similar demographic characteristics (reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the same time period, which began approximately nine months after the onset of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States), on the 9th, 47 percent of the patients were hospitalized and 1.5 percent died.

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As a nasal solution, patients used salt water in combination with povidone-iodine, that brown antiseptic that is smeared on the body before surgery, or baking soda, often used as a cleanser, to keep the same. concentration of salt normally present in the body. Those who reported nasal irrigation twice daily (62 of the 79 study participants) had faster resolution of symptoms, regardless of which of the two substances they added to the saline water.

Why is the nose so central to the development of the disease

Other studies in the literature have shown that nasal irrigation may be effective in reducing the duration and severity of infection by viruses of the coronavirus family, also known to cause the common cold, and influenza viruses.

For a cell in our body to become infected with the Sars-Cov-2 virus, it must express a particular receptor to the S protein of the virus (called ACE2) and have particular molecules, called proteases, which are activated in correspondence with the S protein and they act as a glue between it and the receptor. Studies carried out since the beginning of the pandemic have shown that the respiratory epithelium of the nose has very high concentrations of both ACE2 and this protease molecule, much higher than those found in the bronchi and lungs.

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“The hypothesis is that the nose is not only the gateway for the virus to the lungs, but also a real reservoir for the spread of the virus. This is why nasal washing is important,” he explains. Giacomo Spinato, researcher and doctor in the ENT department at the Treviso hospital. “In the various studies we have conducted on the Sars-Cov-2 virus since the beginning of the pandemic we have also seen how ACE2 expresses itself a lot in the support cells of the olfactory system inside the nose. they were found above all in the first variants could be due to this “.

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A possible effect also in the times of positivization

Doing nasal washes at least twice a day, therefore, helps to decrease all upper respiratory symptoms, improve hospitalization rates and severe symptoms in at-risk patients.

“Not only that, in a study that we are about to publish we have studied the effect of nasal washes on the course of the disease from Covid-19, performing daily swabs on patients,” says Spinato. “We have seen how nasal washing also decreases the positivization time. It means that including this practice could reduce quarantine times and ensure a faster return to work and social life. This result confirms what other studies have already seen regarding to other viruses. We are confirming that Sars-Cov-2 is no different in this “.

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Some precautions on washing management

Doing a nose wash serves, first of all, to remove the mucus in a mechanical way. There are various types, some involve the use of water and sodium, others include disinfectant additives. The important thing, especially if you decide to prepare them at home, is that some precautions are taken so that the solution we use respects the environment of the nasal cavity.

“Nasal washing acts on the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, which has a ciliated epithelium (except in smokers, who instead have a smooth surface). The cilia have a clearance function, that is, they keep the pharynx and nasal cavities clean through movement “, explains Spinato. “Nasal irrigation acts in this environment and, to ensure the movement of the eyelashes, it is important that the washes are done with isotonic or physiological solution, ie with the same percentage of sodium present in the cells”.

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How much salt must there be in the solution

In other words, dissolving some salt in water to make the solution yourself at home is likely to be ineffective if you are not an expert, because the salt should be present at 0.9 percent dilution. A too salty, hypertonic solution, when it comes into contact with the inner walls of the nostrils, draws too much liquid from the cells and prevents the work of the eyelashes. To dispel any doubts and be sure to act correctly while respecting the balance within the cell, therefore, the best thing is to use physiological solution.

How you do it

On the market you can buy tools to perform washing that involve the use of a kind of syringe, a pressure can, or even a simple bag with a spout. Whatever the irrigation mechanism, it is important for the person to lean forward in the sink so that the liquid does not get into the throat. Ideally, to ensure a deep wash, the insertion spout would be airtight on the nostril so that the liquid not only acts upwards in the nose, but can be directed horizontally towards the pharynx and ear (the region in which the mucus is taken to perform the swab, so to speak). The goal is to get the liquid out of the contralateral nostril (the one we are not washing).

Getting behind the nose

“It is also very important to wash the nasopharynx behind the nasal cavity. It is that anatomical portion located behind the nose and above the palate, and which receives mucus from the nose, pharynx, throat and ears. Therefore, it is the region with maximum concentration. of mucus and in which the concentration of the virus is also higher “.

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