The coronavirus pandemic has had global reach, affecting most developed nations within weeks of it leaving the Wuhan province of China from which it emanated. But curiously, nearby Thailand has enjoyed an incredibly low number of cases, which has led Dr. Amy Baxter to believe that this one personal hygiene habit is the reason: nasal irrigation.
May 16, 2020,
Thailand authorities announced zero new coronavirus cases, and zero deaths as a result of COVID-19 while announcing plans to reopen the Southeast Asian country. Since the outbreak started, there have only been 3,025 reported cases of the coronavirus in Thailand, leading to only 56 deaths. These numbers are stunningly low considering that there are 70 million individuals that live in this favorite tourist destination.
Why are these numbers so low? Well, a vast majority of Thai people regularly practice nasal irrigation or the regular cleansing of their sinus with neti pots. And according to Dr. Baxter, that's made a huge impact.
In a recent interview with Best Life, Baxter noted the total deaths in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam are particularly low. "Yes, they wear masks, and yes, they bow and don't shake hands, but the biggest difference between them and places like South Korea or Japan is that nasal irrigation is practiced by 80 percent of people," she says. Laos has had less than 20 reported cases, and Vietnam roughly 300.
After considerable research and talking to colleagues who focus on both ear, nose, and throat and pulmonary treatment, the CEO and founder of Pain Care Labs, added that she "believe[s] strongly that nasal irrigation is the key to reducing COVID-19 progression of symptoms and infectivity."
According to Baxter, recent clinical trials show that nasal irrigation reduces the duration and symptoms for other viral illnesses like flu and the common cold, though it hasn't yet been studied for COVID-19. Still, she has multiple reasons for believing that this approach can be effective in preventing coronavirus from worsening in a sick patient. "SARS-CoV2's viral load is heaviest in sinuses/nasal cavity."