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HealthWatch: Inhaler Claims To Fight Colds, Flu

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(AP)

(AP)

CBS SF Bay (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSSanFrancisco.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSSanFrancisco.com/Health

(CBS 5) — Everyone hates getting sick. A new over-the-counter product is claiming to stop a cold or the flu before it starts.

The newest weapon to fight colds and the flu is the inhaler called GermBullet. It is inhaled three times, under each nostril.

Tom Irvin is a make-up artist who deals with a lot of strangers everyday. He makes sure to frequently use hand sanitizers; but what about the germs in the air, the kind that cause respiratory illnesses. That’s what GermBullet is supposed to guard against.

“You’re getting close to their eyes, and you’re touching their mouth and really all over the face. You’re coming in contact with a lot of stuff out there,” said Irvin.

“I think it’s quite helpful,” said Dr. Simon Murray, an internist who was recommended by the manufacturer.

He recommends the GermBullet to patients who are around crowds, and are worried about getting sick.

“The GermBullet is a variety of essential oils that have been blended, put together in a special formulation to help prevent respiratory illnesses,” said Murray.

The 11 oils include lavender, eucalyptus and pine. The manufacturer claims these oils have been proven in lab studies to help prevent airborne infections.

“It gets right into the respiratory tract and is able to reduce the bacteria virus and fungi of inhaled substances,” said Dr. Murray.

But some doctors have their doubts. GermBullet does not have to be approved by the FDA.

“I would be skeptical,” said Dr. Rosalie Pepe, an infectious disease specialist. “I think there’s no way to predict exactly how much of each oil will be in the nose to block any virus or germ that might want to attach.”

Irvin said it worked for him.

“I didn’t get sick this year. I always get sick in January. It didn’t happen this year,” he said.

The manufacturer suggests people can use it whenever they are worried about germs, but should not exceed six applications per day. It’s available online and at local CVS stores for about $8.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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