Six coronavirus health myths fact-checked

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Garlic: It could also be good for basic health, however it will not cease the coronavirus

Coronavirus is rising in additional international locations world wide and there is at the moment no recognized remedy. Unfortunately that hasn’t stopped a slew of health recommendation, starting from ineffective however comparatively innocent, to downright harmful.

We’ve been taking a look at a number of the most widespread claims being shared on-line, and what the science actually says.

1. Garlic

Lots of posts that advocate consuming garlic to stop an infection are being shared on Facebook.

The WHO (World Health Organization) says that whereas it’s “a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties”, there is not any proof that consuming garlic can defend individuals from the brand new coronavirus.

In a lot of circumstances, these sorts of treatments aren’t dangerous in themselves, so long as they are not stopping you from following evidence-based medical recommendation. But they’ve the potential to be.

The South China Morning Post reported a narrative of a lady who needed to obtain hospital remedy for a severely infected throat after consuming 1.5kg of uncooked garlic.

We know, generally, that consuming fruit and greens and consuming water may be good for staying wholesome. However, there is no such thing as a proof particular meals will assist battle this explicit virus.

2. ‘Miracle minerals’

YouTuber Jordan Sather, who has many 1000’s of followers throughout completely different platforms, has been claiming {that a} “miracle mineral supplement”, referred to as MMS, can “wipe out” coronavirus.

It comprises chlorine dioxide – a bleaching agent.

Sather and others promoted the substance even earlier than the coronavirus outbreak, and in January he tweeted that, “not only is chlorine dioxide (aka MMS) an effective cancer cell killer, it can wipe out coronavirus too”.

Last yr, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned about the dangers to health of drinking MMS. Health authorities in different international locations have additionally issued alerts about it.

The FDA says it “is not aware of any research showing that these products are safe or effective for treating any illness”. It warns that consuming them may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and signs of extreme dehydration.

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Some outlets are reportedly promoting out of hand sanitiser gels

3. Home-made hand sanitiser

There have been many experiences of shortages of hand sanitiser gel, as washing your hands is one key way to prevent spread of the virus.

As experiences of the shortages emerged in Italy, so did recipes for home-made gel on social media.

But these recipes, alleged dupes for one of many nation’s hottest manufacturers, had been for a disinfectant higher fitted to cleansing surfaces and, as scientists identified, not appropriate to be used on pores and skin.

Alcohol-based hand gels often additionally include emollients, which make them gentler on pores and skin, on prime of their 60-70% alcohol content material.

Professor Sally Bloomfield, on the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says she doesn’t consider you may make an efficient product for sanitising arms at residence – even vodka only contains 40% alcohol.

For cleansing surfaces, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says commonest family disinfectants ought to be efficient.

4. Drinkable silver

The use of colloidal silver was promoted on US televangelist Jim Bakker’s present. Colloidal silver is tiny particles of the steel suspended in liquid. A visitor on the present claimed the answer kills some strains of coronavirus inside 12 hours (whereas admitting it hadn’t but been examined on Covid-19).

The concept that it could possibly be an efficient remedy for coronavirus has been broadly shared on Facebook, notably by “medical freedom” teams that are deeply suspicious of mainstream medical recommendation.

Proponents of colloidal silver declare it will probably deal with every kind of health situations, act as an antiseptic, and state it helps the immune system. There are some occasional makes use of of silver in healthcare, for instance in bandages utilized to wounds, however that does not imply it is efficient to eat.

There’s clear recommendation from the US health authorities that there is not any proof such a silver answer is efficient for any health situation. More importantly, it could cause serious side effects together with kidney injury, seizures and argyria – a situation that makes your pores and skin flip blue.

They say that, in contrast to iron or zinc, silver just isn’t a steel that has any perform within the human physique.

Some of these selling the substance for basic health on social media have discovered their posts now generate a pop-up warning from Facebook’s fact-checking service.

5. Drinking water each 15 minutes

One put up, copied and pasted by a number of Facebook accounts, quotes a “Japanese doctor” who recommends consuming water each 15 minutes to flush out any virus that may have entered the mouth. A model in Arabic has been shared greater than 250,000 occasions.

Professor Trudie Lang on the University of Oxford says there may be “no biological mechanism” that will assist the thought which you can simply wash a respiratory virus down into your abdomen and kill it.

Infections like coronaviruses enter the physique through the respiratory tract whenever you breathe in. Some of them would possibly go into your mouth, however even always consuming water is not going to stop you from catching the virus.

Nonetheless, consuming water and staying hydrated is usually good medical recommendation.

6. Heat and avoiding ice cream

There are a lot of variations of the recommendation suggesting warmth kills the virus, from recommending consuming scorching water to taking scorching baths, or utilizing hairdryers.

One put up, copied and pasted by dozens of social media customers in several international locations – and falsely attributed to Unicef – claims that consuming scorching water and publicity to the solar will kill the virus, and says ice cream is to be prevented.

Charlotte Gornitzka, who works for Unicef on coronavirus misinformation, says: “A recent erroneous online message…purporting to be a Unicef communication appears to indicate that avoiding ice cream and other cold foods can help prevent the onset of the disease. This is, of course, wholly untrue.”

We know the flu virus would not survive properly outdoors the physique in the course of the summer time, however we do not but understand how warmth impacts the brand new coronavirus.

Trying to warmth your physique or expose your self to the solar – presumably to make it inhospitable to the virus – is totally ineffective, in line with Prof Bloomfield. Once the virus is in your physique, there is not any method of killing it – your physique simply has to battle it off.

Outside the physique, “to actively kill the virus you need temperatures of around 60 degrees [Celsius]”, says Professor Bloomfield – far hotter than any bathtub.

Washing mattress linen or towels at 60C is a good suggestion, as this could kill any viruses within the material. But it isn’t an excellent possibility for laundry your pores and skin.

And having a scorching bathtub or consuming scorching liquids will not change your precise physique temperature, which stays steady until you might be already ailing.

Additional analysis by BBC Monitoring

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