I’m pretty sure you’ve come across a lot of fake news, or myths, about “health remedies” on Facebook.
And Covid-19 isn’t any different.
Here are 5 online myths about Covid-19 that’s been pretty “popular” online.
1. Garlic Helps Prevent Infection
Singer-songwriter Lawrence Hiew said he saw a Facebook post talking about how eating garlic can help prevent Covid-19 infection.
However, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), garlic is healthy food.
But not healthy enough to protect people from Covid-19.
On the other hand, if you want to detoxify your body and lose weight, garlic’s a pretty good low-cost supplement.
2. Avoid Cold Drinks & Ice Cream, Cook Meat & Eggs Fully
Love half-boiled eggs? This myth going around Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp tells you not to eat it for the time being.
Or you might get Covid-19.
Associate Professor Lim Poh Lian, a senior consultant at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, disagrees with the myth.
Coronavirus is not spread by food or water, but by close contact with infected people.
Continue eating ice cream and drinking cold drinks if you want, though doctors would still fret because there’s still a war against diabetes. And, of course, cooking eggs and meat fully is better for your health, he added, but doing so doesn’t mean you’re better protected.
Instead of focusing on things you eat, focus on your personal hygiene and health instead.
3. Sesame Oil Block Can Prevent Covid-19
Professor65: I have a brilliant idea. Let’s use sesame oil to produce a vaccine for Covid-19!
…Where on earth did you get that idea?
Professor65: You don’t know meh? Sesame oil block can protect against the Covid-19 virus.
If you’ve heard of that myth, don’t try it.
WHO clarifies that putting on sesame oil block will not prevent you from getting the virus.
In fact, don’t try to put other chemical disinfectants that can kill Covid-19 on surfaces. They can be pretty dangerous to your skin.
4. Hand Dryers Can Kill Germs, Including Covid-19
This myth makes sense. The Covid-19 virus cannot survive under high heat since it’s a germ.
So after washing my hands, I’ll toast my hands under the hand dryer to prevent Covid-19 infection.
However, WHO says that ordinary hand dryers are not able to completely protect you from Covid-19.
Instead, use alcohol-based hand sanitisers or wash your hands with soap and water for protection.
After that, you can use a hand dryer to dry your hands if you want.
5. Animals Can Transfer Covid-19
In China, people are killing their pets left and right because they heard these animals can transmit the Covid-19 virus to them.
Some of you might even stare at your cute little munchkin and wonder if they’re worth the trouble.
Here’s the thing: there’s no evidence of Covid-19 infection in dogs and cats.
However, it’s still a good idea to wash your hands after petting or playing with them because other than the Covid-19, nasty bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella can still be passed on to you.
Medical Myths, Health Remedies & More
Doctors spoken to said that while the number is undocumented, it’s believed that fake news and health myths like these can kill.
One related the story of his friend who refused to undergo a critical operation that could save his life.
Instead, he tried all sorts of health remedies and concoctions found online.
He eventually died last year.
Doctors also reported spending 25% to 30% of their time talking to patients about these myths instead of curing sick patients.
And the reason why people are so readily-convinced of the authenticity of these myths is that, for one, they’re pretty cheap remedies. And two, they experience “confirmation bias” where they feel gratified when they think they’re right.
So Verify Anything Before Forwarding, Yeah?
WhatsApp news is a real thing and plenty of information is being forwarded to groups and individuals, no matter real or fake.
In order to prevent these fake news from exploding out onto the platform, and possibly kill tens of thousands, do your part and verify before sending anything out.
If you’re unsure, don’t send. Or better, send it to this WhatsApp group for them to verify before doing anything else.
In the meanwhile, do bookmark MOH’s website for updated (and REAL) information on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore.