Newswise – Daily gargling with plain water will ward off colds. You don’t even need to gargle with a disinfectant mouthwash. Just in time for the cold and flu season, Japanese researcher Dr. Kazunari Satomura has discovered that the common cold can be prevented over 30% of the time just by daily gargling with water. Kazunari?s team studied 387 healthy volunteers, age 18 to 65. They were randomly assigned to gargling water or gargling with an antiseptic or doing nothing.

The participants then led their normal lives for the next 60 days, or until they caught an upper respiratory tract infection?whichever came first. They were asked to keep up with normal hand-washing and to avoid cold remedies during that time. Japan is a nation of hand washers and children there are taught to wash their hands whenever they come indoors from outside, which is a proven way to avoid contracting a virus.

A total of 130 people contracted a cold, sore throat, sinus infection or a form of bronchitis. At first, there was no significant difference in the rate of infection between the control group and the antiseptic gargling group. But there was a 36% decrease among water garglers.

However Dr. Peter Muennig thinks this may be a placebo effect and says, “Because people in Japan, and Asia in general, tend to believe that (gargling) is an effective preventive modality, it is possible that the positive effect noted was due to the placebo effect.”

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