Hoaxes and false remedies to 'prevent and cure' the coronavirus - La Provincia

Given the citizen concern for the evolution of the pandemic and the large amount of false news that is spreading about it, the World Health Organization (WHO) has enabled a page to disprove myths about prevention and contagion. These are some of the main 'alternative remedies' that are proposed to treat coronavirus. And these are also the reasons why you shouldn't trust them.

1. Medicinal plants, infusions and superfoods

There are not a few gurus who advise dealing with the coronavirus with medicinal plants, infusions and superfoods. They argue that these natural compounds have a healing capacity. But luckily or unfortunately, it is not. And, although some plants have evidenced their medicinal capacity, these beneficial properties usually show their effect in high doses. Hence, the vast majority (if not all) of vegetables with medicinal capabilities are synthesized in laboratories to create medications.

A protein present in broccoli, for example, has been shown to be effective in anti-tumor treatments. But, according to the same researchers responsible for the finding, it would be necessary to consume more than three kilos of this vegetable daily to enjoy this benefit. So, although oregano, sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, and echinacea may have some properties - more or less proven - as antivirals or anti-inflammatories, an infusion of these plants would be of little use against the coronavirus. And, once again, it should be remembered that "superfoods are like Superman: they don't exist". There is no fruit, vegetable, vegetable, plant or spice that alone can protect us from infection. The only thing experts recommend to stay healthy and boost the immune system is a healthy diet.

2. Hot drinks

Intake of hot drinks is also not effective in combating a possible infection. Nothing points to the virus dying from 27 degrees Celsius, as suggested by some decalogues on 'home remedies' for this epidemic. There is also nothing to show that cold drinks expose the individual to an increased risk of contagion. In fact, in one of the latest communiqués issued by the WHO, it is recalled that "the normal temperature of the human body is between 36.5 and 37 degrees, regardless of the external temperature or the climate. "Along these same lines, it is not advisable to take hot baths as a method of disinfecting the body.

3. Alcohol, chlorine and other disinfectants

The use of ethyl alcohol, chlorine and other disinfecting compounds is only indicated for surface cleaning, not for human consumption. Not for topical use. Health authorities recall that alcohol or chlorine sprays are not recommended to kill any viruses found on the surface of the body, as they can be harmful to both the skin and mucous membranes, skin and eyes, for example . Sodium chlorite - a toxic compound derived from lye, promoted by advocates of 'alternative therapies' such as peasant Josep Pàmies and prohibited by the Spanish Medicines Agency since 2010 - it is also not indicated to deal with a possible viral infection by coronavirus. "Ingesting bleach derivatives in high doses is toxic and doing it in diluted doses is ineffective," several experts consulted on the matter explained to this newspaper a few weeks ago.

4. Vitamin supplements and other pills

The use of vitamin supplements - or multivitamins - has also not been shown to be effective in preventing infections. Even less in the case of a possible spread of coronavirus. Neither vitamin C nor probiotics nor propolis nor ginseng pills serve to prevent or treat the disease. Experts such as nutritionist Julio Basulto remember that a healthy person can obtain enough vitamins and minerals to take care of their health and strengthen their immune system through healthy eating. The consumption of vitamin supplements would only be recommended for people with detected deficiencies and under the supervision of an expert in dietetics or nutrition. And, even in this case, it must be borne in mind that these compounds do not have an immediate effect on the body. "The human immune system does not work like a dishwasher, just add a detergent and press a button"stresses Basulto, who also remembers that symptoms such as fever are a sign that the immune system is working properly in its fight against germs.

5. Homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine

Homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine - two of the disciplines questioned by the recent Government Plan against Pseudotherapies, still in the study phase - have not shown any efficacy either for the cure or for the treatment of the coronavirus. Nor are they expected to do so in the near future. Both disciplines are in the crosshairs of the scientific community, since its effectiveness has not been empirically demonstrated. There are no verified studies that demonstrate that these supposed curative practices have an efficacy superior to that attributable to the placebo effect.

6. Antibiotics, generic antivirals, and other medications

For now, little is known about which treatment is the most effective in dealing with coronavirus. But it is clear that an antibiotic - drugs created to prevent the proliferation of bacteria - will be useless against a virus. The use of this type of medicine is not recommended for infections caused by viruses, such as colds, flu or, on this occasion, coronaviruses. Generic antivirals and other pills that we may have in the medicine cabinet are also not recommended to deal with a possible infection by this pathogen. The only medicines that the health authorities advise in case of infection are those that mitigate the symptoms, such as those indicated for cough, fever or general discomfort.

7. Home diagnostic tests

In recent days, a home diagnostic test has been spread on social networks that supposedly allows you to know if you are infected with coronavirus and, especially, if the disease has already begun to affect the lungs. The experiment consists of holding your breath for 10 seconds. If successful, this would demonstrate that there is no infection. This method is not only not supported by any scientific criteria, but also has not shown any efficacy in detecting this virus. Today, the only way to diagnose a case of coronavirus It is by means of a specific test in which the genetic material of the pathogen, specifically RNA, is analyzed.

8. Cocaine and other drugs

The 'medicinal use' The cocaine against the coronavirus started as a joke, one of those that start on social networks, and quickly went viral. So much so that the French health authorities have had to come out to deny it, given the avalanche of consultations received on the matter. No, neither cocaine nor any other drug is a treatment to mitigate an eventual infection.


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