Looking for another simple method to reduce your risk of COVID-19 infection?
Gargling to prevent upper respiratory infections is an idea that is more than a century old.
In a recent commentary in the American Journal of Medicine, a group of prominent pulmonologists argue that gargling with mouthwash should be studied as a potential preventive COVID-19 measure.
"We're trying to find ways to prevent COVID-19 infection," says Dr. Victor Tapson, a pulmonary critical care physician at Cedars-Sinai and one of the co-authors of the commentary. "Masks and physical distancing are really critical to stopping the spread of this disease. But are there other proven-safe measures we can add to those?" The research suggests use of mouthwash may help kill the virus in saliva and could lead to mouthwash becoming an important part of people's routines.
Even if clinical trials show that gargling regularly with a mouthwash helps prevent infection, it would not replace diligent physical distancing and mask use. It would be just another tool in our toolbox against the coronavirus. Mouthwashes have the potential to add another measure of risk reduction, especially in dental settings where aerosol production is high.
However, you should continue to wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands frequently in order to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.