It’s not often there’s good news about the coronavirus.
Most of it’s downright terrible as COVID-19 infections surge around the nation, with tens of thousands of new patients identified every day. And sadly, the death toll continues to rise.
But researchers are investigating a simple step you can take at home that COULD have the potential to help ease symptoms and slow the spread of the virus.
Some experts say it may even give you a milder infection if you do become sick. And they aim to do more research to figure out if that’s true.
Now it’s important to understand it’s NOT proven to work with the coronavirus yet. But there IS good reason to be excited about exploring this technique further.
You see, we DO know it helps ease the symptoms of other viral conditions such as the common cold.
It’s certainly NOT going to replace the other precautions we’re all taking, including social distancing, masking, and supporting our immune systems. But on the plus side, it’s easy and only takes a few seconds to do.
In fact, you can literally do it at home starting right NOW. And best of all, it’s safe, natural, and free.
Curb virus symptoms with a daily rinse?
When I was sick as a kid, my mom always made me gargle with salt water.
I absolutely hated it. But I’ve got to admit those icky tasting warm rinses DID seem to be the only thing that really helped with my recurring battles with strep throat.
They certainly soothed my symptoms. But I have a hunch they may have done more. And I’ve still got my tonsils to prove it. Lesson learned. Always listen to mom.
Turns out she and the millions out there just like her were ahead of their time. Because there’s new interest in this old-fashioned solution to battling bugs. Researchers in the U.K. are now looking at those same salt water rinses as a POSSIBLE way to help fight off milder coronavirus infections.
They believe salt in the throat could possibly help activate the body’s built-in virus fighters. Specifically, it can stimulate the cells in your throat to create a chemical called hypochlorous acid.
That’s a compound found in bleach, of all things. And while you would NEVER want actual bleach anywhere near your mouth or throat (or any other part of your body), that natural hypochlorous acid can be a great virus-fighter.
In addition, the scientists speculate that the salt might be able to shut down virus particles, especially right there in the throat.
Salt water gargling put to test in a trial
Now, remember, that’s just a THEORY right now, mind you. But it’s one researchers are testing out in a clinical trial getting underway. Patients with mild coronavirus infections will be asked to gargle with salt water.
But it’s also more than just a theory when it comes to other types of infections.
In fact, salt water gargles showed great promise in an older study called the Edinburgh and Lothians Viral Intervention Study or ELVIS for short. That trial focused on common upper respiratory infections such as coughs and cold and found that regular salt water gargles helped ease symptoms.
The advantages of the salt water gargles were LESS…
- severe coughing
- chance of spreading a cold to family members
- need for cold medications
Plus, the infections were SHORTER, with colds resolving two days faster on average.
Those are great benefits. But not a home run by any stretch of the imagination. So remember, you can’t count on gargling with salt water to fully tackle ANY infection, let alone the coronavirus.
But as an extra layer of potential protection, especially against the cold virus and other similar infections, it may be worth giving salt water a chance. It’s harmless, after all.
You can add a salt water gargle to your routine anytime you’ve been out and about. And of course, the moment you feel that little scratch at the back of your throat, grab your shaker and a glass of water and give it a shot.