Enterovirus D68: Something to try from America’s favorite country doctor

The recent epidemic of enterovirus respiratory infections for which we have no means of prevention or treatment other than supportive therapy leads me to make this suggestion:

try keeping your noses clean.

The prototypical enterovirus is the one that causes polio so they are not to be taken lightly. And like with polio we will develop an immunization for it, but it will take some time. In the meantime, respiratory illnesses generally begin with colonization in the nose so keeping it clean is a reasonable start.

There is a nasal spray containing xylitol which does an excellent job of helping to keep the nose clean. Xylitol is a natural sugar-like substance that keeps the nose clean in two ways. First it pulls water into the nose so that our normal defenses there can work better; the cilia that sweep it are better coordinated and the mucus that grabs on to all the garbage is stickier. Second it prevents many  of the harmful bacteria and viruses from holding on so they can cause their damage. If these infecting agents can’t hold on they are just washed out by our normal defenses and there is no infection and no problem.

While xylitol has not been tested for its effect on enteroviruses it can be used safely by anyone of any age as an effective way to clean the nose, which in turn prevents many upper respiratory problems. Ask for the nasal spray at your local health food store and “keep your nose clean.”

Lon Jones D.O.

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*Insurance is designed to pay for the unexpected crisis. Health insurance started that way in the U.S. but gradually, because the companies we work for were paying for it and getting a better tax break, it morphed into paying for it all. That means we have less interest in getting the ounce of prevention than if we were paying for some of those costs. Children we talk to about the dangers of drugs just say they’ll get a brain transplant if they burn theirs out. That’s why we think that Health Savings Accounts should be promoted by the government more; they put the individual back in a position of responsibility in making more choices in their health care. With Health Savings Accounts an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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