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Gargling is the act in which one bubbles a liquid in one's mouth. It usually requires that the head be tilted back, allowing a mouthful of liquid to sit in the upper throat. The head can be tilted by extending either the neck or the back, depending on what is comfortable for the gargler. Air is then expelled from the lungs, causing the liquid to bubble and undulate throughout the throat and mouth region.
As gargling can be done repetitively with the same liquid for greater periods than a person's lung capacity allows, one temporarily tilts the head forward to be able to breathe in again easily, as the liquid travels to the front of the mouth. Breathing in can be done through the mouth for people with nasal congestion; this requires a lesser amount of liquid so that it does not spill out when the mouth is opened for inhaling.
Gargling with salt water has been shown to reduce the symptoms of a sore throat.
Gargling is practiced in Japan for perceived prevention of viral infection. A 2005 study found that gargling three times a day with simple water or with a providone/iodine solution (although with less effectiveness) was effective in preventing upper respiratory infection and decreasing the severity of symptoms if contracted. A later study found that the same procedure did not prevent influenza-like illnesses. Other sources attribute the benefit to a simple placebo effect. One commonly used way is with infusions or tea.[clarification needed]
According to modern western etiquette, gargling is a fairly impolite activity during a social occasion or mealtime. It is typically performed in a bathroom at a sink so the refused liquid may be disposed of properly.
- O'Conner, Anahad (27 September 2010). "The Claim: Gargling with Salt Water Can Ease Cold Symptoms". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- Satomura, Kazunari; Tetsuhisa Kitamura, MS, Takashi Kawamura, MD, Takuro Shimbo, MD, Motoi Watanabe, MS, Mitsuhiro Kamei, MD, Yoshihisa Takano, MD, Akiko Tamakoshi, MD, Great Cold Investigators-I (November 2005). "Prevention of upper respiratory tract infections by gargling: a randomized trial". American Journal of Preventive Medicine 29 (4): 302–307. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2005.06.013. ISSN 0749-3797. PMID 16242593. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- To gargle or not to gargle? Japan Times, 15 December 2009
- Gargle at the Centre for Cancer Education, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Accessed July 2007