Bangalore: A clove of garlic a day keeps swine flu away. If you fear that this remedy is more likely to keep a whole lot of people away, you could replace “garlic” with tulsi leaves, pepper or any other herb or a combination of herbs of your preference.

As the fear of swine flu rises, advice is flowing freely from every quarter on what is the best remedy to keep the dreaded viral infection at bay. They are being dispensed on SMS, on emails and have virtually become conversation openers.

Credibility

Some SMS messages come attached with names of reputed institutions to sound more credible. One of the most widely circulated among them said: “Use Nilgiri oil drops on masks and kerchiefs as a preventive measure against swine flu — National Institute of Virology, Pune.”

Such pearls of wisdom are scattered so widely that the official website of the institute has now been running the following ticker: “NIV has not recommended any indigenous formulations like Nilgiri oil, etc., as use against novel A(H1N1) (swine flu). Please refer to authentic public health information or call the helplines for queries.”

However, the fear is so pervasive that people seem to try out anything, rational or otherwise. No wonder there is an overbearing smell of Nilgiri oil in the air. People have also been trying a range of “precautionary” medicines advised by the non-allopathic streams of medicine.

Harish Babu, an autorickshaw driver, said he had been religiously chewing on two neem leaves every day. He is contemplating buying a mask. “I check the temperature of every person who gets into my auto and I can’t stop running the auto,” he said.

He added with a sigh: “Look at where we have reached, can’t even breathe god-given air without fear!”

They are dispensed freely on SMS and the Internet