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Prevent Swine Flu—Good Advice from the Southern California American Indian Resource—SCAIR


by Roy Cook (Opata-Oodham, Mazopiye Wishasha)

The primary purpose of SCAIR is to provide educational and community services for Native American Indians in San Diego County. These services include both the Native urban and tribal communities of San Diego County. Wellness and safety are priorities of the Southern California American Indian Resource Center.

Southern California American Indian Resource Center, Inc., SCAIR, Board President William Johnson has taught the SCAIR Urban TANF First Aid and CPR classes in San Diego and Alpine on April 16th and 17th, 2009.

Additionally, Thirteen SCAIR urban tribal TANF students wrapped up a successful continuing education class by taking written tests and receiving their official San Diego County Food handler's Card.

SCAIR Board President William H. Johnson and SCAIR Executive Director Wanda Michaelis taught much of the class in Food Service career training. They shared their vast professional experiences with the students.

Recently SCAIR has offered an educational service that is operated through University of San Diego's (USD) Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) specialization. It targets Native Americans residing in urban communities and on various reservations.

The primary purpose of this clinical instruction center is to provide direct service opportunities for USD CMHC students in the way of practicum and internship to fulfill licensed professional counselor requirements.

Everyday we are reminded of the seriousness and danger to our children of the H1N1 infection. Southern California American Indian Resource Center, Inc. (SCAIR), offers these prevention tips to keep your family healthy. In addition, SCAIR urges you to secure the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it is available for those at greatest risk, our Indian Children. Stay healthy!

Prevention is the first line of defense and 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 proliferation is.

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 you want to eat, bathe or sleep).

3. *Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust 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 preventative method.

4. Similar to 3 above, *clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. *Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but *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 (Amla and other citrus fruits). *If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. *Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc.) as you can. *Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate, or do any harm.

Source: Dr. Vinay Goyal is an MBBS,DRM,DNB (Intensivist and Thyroid specialist) having clinical experience of over 20 years. He has worked in institutions like Hinduja Hospital , Bombay Hospital , Saifee Hospital , Tata Memorial etc.  Presently, he is heading our Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W).

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