Myths busted: We debunk four Covid-19 myths

Myths busted: We debunk four Covid-19 mythsHome remedies are not helpful in preventing or treating Covid-19 expert warns. (Photo credit: Nelisiwe Msomi/ Health-e News)

As the number of coronavirus cases increases, the number of bogus claims about Covid-19 cures have too. Here’s what you need to know so you don’t fall victim to fake chain messages.

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It’s been over three months since the first coronavirus (Covid-19) case was diagnosed in South Africa. The virus was first discovered in December 2019 in China, and health experts are still learning about the virus’ behaviour and studying its effects. 

The danger of the virus being new are the myths that circulate around Covid-19, says Professor Susan Goldstein, a medical doctor and community medicine specialist. We asked Goldstein to help debunk myths about the virus. 

1. Steaming kills Covid-19 

Steaming will not kill the virus, say experts. According to an Africa Check report inhaling steam will not reach the virus. “There is no scientific evidence that very high temperatures or inhaling steam, the fact-checking organisation reports.  

 Africa Checks findings also warn that steaming at high temperatures puts one in danger and can lead to serious burns. 

2. Washing your hands with liquor can kill the virus 

  Health experts have recommended washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser as a prevention method for Covid-19. But the alcohol in beer and wine is not sufficient to kill the virus, warns Goldstein. The concentration of alcohol needs to be at least 60%.

“The thing is that you rarely drink alcohol of such high [alcohol] content, wine is like 18% and beer is 4,5 % or 5%. So you don’t drink such a high concentration of alcohol. But even if you did it, can’t prevent the virus from attaching to your mouth eyes or nose because you swallow it,” Goldstein says.

 3. Honey, ginger, garlic or turmeric or any other home remedies can cure Covid-19 

There is no cure for the virus, and no drugs licensed for the treatment or prevention of coronavirus, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).  

Health workers treat the symptoms of the virus, Goldstein says. 

 “At the moment we haven’t a specific medication for Covid-19. But what we do is treat the symptoms. For example, if you can’t breathe well, and you need oxygen we’ll give you oxygen. If you go into ICU they’ll do all sorts of things to help support your body but there’s nothing that they are able to use on Covid-19 itself. If you’ve got a cough and you’re very mild, you will get cough mixture. But there’s nothing, there’s nothing like an antibiotic or any antiviral can help us with the point,” she explains. 

 Goldstein adds that home remedies such as honey, lemon juice, ginger etc are not helpful at all when it comes to preventing the virus. 

“In fact, they’re not really helpful in terms of treatment. But if you’ve got a very mild disease, it can’t harm you to choose to use them. But it is harmful to use them thinking that they will protect you from the illness – it will not.” 

  4. Injecting or drinking disinfectants or cleaning products can prevent or cure Covid-19

At a press briefing a few weeks ago, United States of America President Donald Trump suggested that scientists and doctors inject disinfectant to kill the virus in the human body. 

However, WHO has warned that this is extremely harmful and can be poisonous if ingested and cause irritation and damage to your skin and eyes. Bleach and other disinfectants should be used to disinfect surfaces only. – Health-e News