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Drinking alcohol to disinfect the throat can prevent Covid-19?

As the only member in the family who has not yet become a ‘yang person’, Mr. Thanh (Long Bien, Hanoi) chooses to ‘gargle’ every day with a cup of medicinal wine about 200ml divided equally between 2 lunches and dinners.

Drinking alcohol in the throat is not effective in killing the virus

“Because alcohol has antiseptic properties, it will disinfect the throat and prevent Covid-19 infection. Alcohol in alcohol makes the virus die right from the moment it enters the throat. Maybe that’s why until now, I still have a stable yin even though there are 5 people in my family (mother, wife, 3 children) who are positive”, Thanh said.

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Believing in his prevention, this man often instigates his friends and relatives (who have and have not) to “make cups” every day to beat the virus.

Is there any basis for this approach?

In response to this question to the reporter, PGS.TS.BS. Pham Thi Bich Dao – Department of Ear, Nose and Throat, Hanoi Medical University said, It is true that the alcohol ingredient has alcohol, but the alcohol concentration to disinfect must be at 70 degrees or more, and only disinfect the surface, on the skin. We also cannot hold alcohol with high alcohol content in our mouth to kill the virus, not to mention the virus has already penetrated into the cell.

At the same time, if the alcohol concentration in alcohol is high, it also damages the mucosa, leading to the desired opposite effect of creating sugar into cells more easily for bacteria and viruses to attack, including SARS-CoV- 2 causes Covid-19 disease”.

“Using alcohol is mainly to kill viruses in hands, utensils and items to disinfect… but drinking alcohol into the throat is not effective,” Assoc. Dr. Pham Thi Bich Dao said.

The otolaryngologist also cited, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that, there has not been any scientific research to prove that alcohol can prevent Covid-19 infection, even cause increased infection by sharing drinking glasses, increasing severity of underlying diseases such as liver and kidney disease….

In addition, Assoc.TS.BS. Pham Thi Bich Dao points out reactions when drinking alcohol such as: increased burning sensation in the throat due to irritation of the throat mucosa or gastroesophageal reflux reaction of alcohol, beer…

Alcoholic drinks will cause sudden changes in temperature such as cold beer, cold wine. This sudden change in temperature can easily cause sore throats. Sore throat – larynx due to alcohol allergy causes sore throat, acute laryngeal dyspnea, even death due to laryngeal edema.

People who are drunk, vomit a lot, so it can affect the upper respiratory tract to increase secretions, congested nose, so when sleeping, they have to open their mouths to breathe. Breathing air does not go through the nose but goes straight through the mouth, unfiltered, not warmed or humidified, which will cause coughs and sore throats.

Not only that, drinking alcohol stimulates inflammatory immune responses that increase the risk of severe forms of the disease. Not to mention with wine, rum or beer all reduce the response of antibodies, thereby contributing to the aggravation of diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

“Drinking alcohol not only does not prevent SARS-CoV-2, but also creates favorable conditions for infection of this virus,” Assoc. Dr. Pham Thi Bich Dao emphasized.

How to gargle properly?

Instead of drinking alcohol to gargle, Assoc.Prof.TS.BS. Pham Thi Bich Dao recommends that people gargle with warm salt water and throat antiseptic solutions every day such as: 0.9% physiological saline available at drugstores.

In case you can’t buy it, you can use 1 liter of boiled water to cool, mixed with 9g of salt to get a solution with a concentration of 0.9% salt. In cold weather, use warm salt water to gargle.

In addition, you can also use antiseptic solutions of the group of antibiotics to gargle: The most commonly used antibiotic to prepare throat rinses is tyrothricine such as veybirol-tyrothricine.

Antiseptic group: Antiseptic drugs such as betadine gargle, givalex, chlorhexidine, BBM – borate salt, bicarbonate salt and methol…

Throat gargles are often added with some soothing agents, softening the throat mucosa, reducing pain, reducing inflammation, anti-allergic topical such as benzocaine, menthol, salicylate salt, hexetidine…

How to use mouthwash properly?

Prophylaxis: Gargle mouth and throat for at least 30 seconds. Can be used 4 times/day. Treatment: Gargle mouth and throat for 2 minutes. Use 4 times a day, after meals.

Throat technique:

Swallow a mouthful of water just enough in your mouth. Keep it in your mouth for about 1 minute. Tilt your neck and wheeze so that the solution is all over the oropharynx. Use warm water to gargle.

When to gargle?

When you feel pain, burning, stickiness, entanglement, discomfort in the throat … gargle with salt water or throat antiseptic solutions several times a day. Gargle once every 1 hour. When coming back from the street, or after coming into contact with sources of high risk of infection…

PGS.TS.BS. Pham Thi Bich Dao

N. Huyen

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