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Think before you share: COVID-19 myths and misinformation

You know what spreads faster than coronavirus? Misinformation being shared on social media by those who can’t even spare a minute to do a Google search to find out whether the content is real or not. 

Health experts posit widespread misinformation hampers public health efforts to control the pandemic, confuses the public, and causes unnecessary panic. And another adverse effect that mindless social media post sharing brings is that medical experts have to spend time refuting myths and re-educating the public—precious time that could have been used treating the infected or finding ways to effectively combat COVID-19. 

Eating banana can cure COVID-19

Think before you share: COVID-19 myths and misinformation
Bananas are healthy; they are a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, but not a cure to COVID-19 . Consuming too much potassium can be harmful to those with kidney problems. 
A video has been circulating on social media claiming that bananas can defeat the novel coronavirus; it has been shared so many times that even the administration’s spokesperson believes it to be true. First, it is a spliced video: an ABC News item on Australian researchers working to make a coronavirus vaccine spliced with another one featuring the banana content. And second, while bananas are healthy, eating too much of it poses health risks. General practitioner and Internet personality Dr. Willie Ong debunked this myth, saying that eating more than two pieces can be harmful especially to those with kidney problems. 

Eating garlic can cure COVID-19 

Think before you share: COVID-19 myths and misinformation
Garlic has antimicrobial properties, but it hasn’t been proven effective in curing COVID-19. 
Generally speaking, garlic is a nutritious food that must be added in our diet. But because of its antimicrobial properties, many believe—and hoard—garlic believing that eating it can keep them protected. However, the World Health Organization said this remains unfounded as “there is no evidence from the current outbreak (now pandemic) that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.” 

Coronavirus does not live in places with hot and humid climates

Think before you share: COVID-19 myths and misinformation
It’s not yet proven that hot weather prevents coronavirus. 
Many, especially here in the Philippines, were excited when they found out from a number of Facebook posts that the novel coronavirus cannot survive high temperature. Especially since it’s the dry season. But the WHO said there was no evidence so far that the virus cannot be transmitted in areas with hot and humid weather. “Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19,” the WHO reiterated. 

Taking a hot bath or shower prevents coronavirus

Think before you share: COVID-19 myths and misinformation
Taking a hot bath or shower is not recommended to kill coronavirus. 
While taking a shower or bath regularly is part of good hygiene which must always be followed, opting to take a hot bath does not prevent the virus. The WHO said, “Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5-degree to 37-degree Celsius, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you.”

UV lamps are effective in sterilizing hands

Think before you share: COVID-19 myths and misinformation
Using UV lamps on skin can cause irritation. (Photo from Wikimedia) 
Ultraviolet lamps, those that use short-wavelength ultraviolet (UV-C), are commonly used to kill or inactivate microorganisms, primarily utilized in medical sanitation and sterile work facilities. However, the WHO warns against using it to sterilize hands or other areas of skin to kill the new coronavirus as “UV radiation can cause skin irritation.”

Rinsing nose with saline solution prevents infection from coronavirus

Think before you share: COVID-19 myths and misinformation
No evidence yet that nasal sprays are effective in preventing coronavirus infection.
Several studies show that saline solution restores moisture to dry nasal passages, thus it is commonly used by people suffering from allergies. But while helpful in keeping moisture, the WHO said there is no evidence yet that regularly rinsing nose with saline solution prevents infection from the novel coronavirus—or even “help people recover more quickly from the common cold.”

Topics: coronavirus , myths , misinformation , banana , Willie Ong , World Health Organization
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