The Only Thing These Remedies Kill is Common Sense
Debunking False Coronavirus Claims
There’s nothing like a crisis to spread misinformation. That’s why it’s time for our favorite segment here at H2O: mythbusting. Fake health warnings and alleged methods of fighting the virus are spreading as quickly as the virus itself. According to the claims of last week alone, martial law will be going into effect in the U.S., eating bananas will magically strengthen your immune system, gargling hot water with lemon, vinegar, or other acidic agents will kill coronavirus, and my personal favorite – blow drying your sinuses will clear infectious germs from your system. Let’s dive into the most commonly reported coronavirus myths, laugh off the ones we inevitably fell for, and recommit ourselves to verifying our information going forward.
Myth #1: Martial Law Will Be Going Into Effect
According to screenshotted text messages circulating the internet last week, President Trump will be evoking the Stafford Act in order to initiate a nation-wide lockdown:
In response, The National Security Council tweeted: “As we saw over the wkend, disinfo is being spread online about a supposed national lockdown and grounding flights. Be skeptical of rumors. Make sure you’re getting info from legitimate sources.” Amen to that.
Myth #2: Warm Weather Will End the Spread of Coronavirus
With the onset of Spring, rumours have been circulating about warm weather halting the spread of coronavirus. While warm weather may slow infection rates somewhat, according to the World Health Organization the virus can spread in all areas, regardless of climate.
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Sadly, hot temperatures do not guarantee the end of the pandemic, which brings us to myth #3:
Myth #3: The Various Ways to “Kill the Virus”
Hordes of supposed remedies to the virus have been flooding social media in recent days, most of which involve “killing” the virus with some form of heat. One circulating Facebook post claims that Coronavirus remains in the throat for four days before reaching the lungs, so if you “drink water a lot and gargling [sic] with warm water and salt or vinegar eliminates the virus.” (Here we have one foolproof way of identifying false information: incoherence. The writer in question did not even have the ability to put together a coherent English sentence, let alone to inform the public about how to save lives).
Contrary to how intuitive it may sound, the virus does not simply lurk in one’s throat before attacking the rest of the body. According to medical professionals, the virus spreads throughout the respiratory system and cannot simply be “washed out.” Similarly, blow drying your sinuses will not eliminate traces of the virus in your system, as one recent Facebook video claimed. The video has since been removed on the grounds of spreading false information.
Some remedies claim to instantly fortify your immune system against any pathogens. One video, claiming to present research from Australia’s University of Queensland, seemingly proves that the B-6 vitamin found in bananas strengthens the immune system and protects against coronavirus. It turns out that the video had been combined with a separate video from the Wall Street Journal, and was doctored to present false information. Your immune system may be strengthened through healthy eating and hygiene habits over time, but it will not be made invincible by eating more bananas.
Can Advil Make the Virus Worse?
A recent tweet by the French Minister of Solidarity and Health warned against taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (sold under brand names like Advil and Motrin), stating that they may intensify the virus in those who are infected. He urged the use of paracetamol (acetaminophen, sold under the brand name Tylenol) instead. According to the NHS (Britain’s national health care service) “there is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus worse, but until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.”
Additional research is clearly needed, but it is suggested that you speak to your doctor or a reliable medical source in order to determine whether drugs like ibuprofen are safe for your ingestion.
Take Responsibility For What You Share
We understand the urge to pass along forwarded information. At a highly stressful time like this, everyone wishes for an easy cure and wants to keep their friends and loved ones informed about the latest precautions. However, according to the WHO, the only effective way to protect yourself from coronavirus is by washing your hands and distancing yourself from others. Until any other credited recommendations emerge, be weary of all supposed remedies, instant cures, and quick fixes, no matter how widespread they are. We encourage you to be responsible about the information you choose to share by verifying it through reliable sources, including the CDC, NIH, or the WHO.
We hope to be a source of support to all our customers during this difficult time. Aside from providing you with reliable information, H2O has recently decided to open up its services to homes in order to expand public access to clean, healthy water. Click here to learn more about this limited opportunity, and stay tuned for more updates.