The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as is proliferation of the virus.
While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps, not fully highlighted in most official communications, can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):
1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).
2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless eating or bathing).
3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don’t like salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don’t underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventive method.
4. Clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may enjoy neti pot use, but at least blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.
5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (leafy greens, orange veggies and citrus fruits). If you prefer to supplement with Vitamin C tablets or powder, make sure to also take 50 mg Zinc to boost absorption. Zinc is a potent anti-viral itself, especially combined with beta-carotene or Vitamine A (25,000 IUs daily for 6 weeks).
6. Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, hot fresh lemonade, etc.) as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. Both wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, because of the low pH of stomach acid. This is a major reason why taking anti-acids on a regular basis is a really bad idea. If you have heartburn, see other posts on this site about how to remedy that problem.