CORONAVIRUS: THE FAKE HEALTH ADVICE YOU SHOULD IGNORE
The BBC puts a lid on some of the fake coronavirus health advice.
GARLIC – The WHO (World Health Organization) says that while it is “a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties,” there’s no evidence that eating garlic can protect people from the new coronavirus.
‘MIRACLE MINERALS’ – YouTuber Jordan Sather, who has many thousands of followers across different platforms, has been claiming that a “miracle mineral supplement,” called MMS, can “wipe out” coronavirus. It contains chlorine dioxide — a bleaching agent. Sather and others promoted the substance even before 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 year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned about the dangers to health of drinking MMS.
HOME-MADE HAND SANITIZER – There have been many reports of shortages of hand sanitizer gel. As reports of the shortages emerged, so did recipes for home-made gel on social media. Alcohol-based hand gels usually contain emollients, which make them gentler on skin, on top of their 60-70% alcohol content. Professor Sally Bloomfield, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says she does not believe you could make an effective product for sanitizing hands at home — even vodka only contains 40% alcohol.DRINKABLE SILVER – The use of colloidal silver was promoted on US televangelist Jim Bakker’s show. Colloidal silver is tiny particles of the metal suspended in liquid. A guest on the show claimed the solution kills some strains of coronavirus within 12 hours (while admitting it hadn’t yet been tested on Covid-19). But there’s clear advice from US health authorities that there’s no evidence this type of silver is effective for any health condition. More importantly, it could cause serious side effects including kidney damage, seizures and argyria — a condition that makes your skin turn blue.
DRINKING WATER EVERY 15 MINUTES – One post, copied and pasted by multiple Facebook accounts, quotes a “Japanese doctor” who recommends drinking water every 15 minutes to flush out any virus that might have entered the mouth. Professor Trudie Lang at the University of Oxford says there is “no biological mechanism” that would support the idea that you can just wash a respiratory virus down into your stomach and kill it.
HEAT AND AVOIDING ICE CREAM – There are lots of variations of the advice suggesting heat kills the virus, from recommending drinking hot water to taking hot baths, or using hairdryers. One social media post claims that drinking hot water and exposure to the sun will kill the virus, and says ice cream should be avoided.
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