Sales of an over-the-counter nasal spray that coats the nasal membranes, making it difficult for airborne viruses to enter the body, has surged by a whopping 688% in the UK amid fears of the dreaded coronavirus.
In South Africa, the same product is branded as Nexa Shield and is distributed by Pharma Dynamics.
Spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics Nicole Jennings says UK consumers are taking every precaution to protect themselves against contracting the coronavirus, which might have led to the surge in sales of the nasal spray.
“One of the main points of entry for airborne germs is through one’s nose and it’s thus very effective as a first line of defence,” Jennings said.
“Another way to reduce risk is to keep up proper hygiene practices, such as washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alternatively, alcohol-based hand sanitisers should be used.
“Face-to-face contact and crowded environments where germs typically thrive should also be avoided,” she added.
To clear up some of the misconceptions around the virus, Jennings provides the following advice:
• It’s still safe to receive letters or packages from China as the virus doesn’t survive long on objects.
• There is no evidence that pets can be infected by the coronavirus, but always wash your hands after petting or playing with your dog or cat to protect you against other germs.
• Vaccines against other respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia, do not protect you against the coronavirus, which is a brand new virus. Scientists are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV.
• Saline solutions and mouthwash are a good way to clean out sinuses, but they won’t protect you against the virus.
• Eating garlic, which does contain some antimicrobial properties, unfortunately also offers no protection.
• Rubbing sesame oil or petroleum jelly on your nose will also not reduce your risk of infection.
• No one is immune to the virus, but those with an existing condition, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes may be at greater risk and should take extra care.
• Taking antibiotics won’t help because 2019-nCoV is a virus.
• Wearing a mask only offers limited protection as one has to remove it to eat. When someone sneezes on the mask, the virus could still pass through.
The coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 40,000 people worldwide and killed over 1,000.
Pharma Dynamics said the virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days, but typical symptoms, such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath may appear as early as two days after contracting the virus.
There were 42 suspected cases in SA, but all tests results have come up negative.