The Weird and Wonderful Myths for Combating the Coronavirus

With the rate of coronavirus cases rising dramatically, so have the myths for combating this virus. Here are some of the myths confusing the world.

Myth one: ‘Eating garlic can prevent you from getting the coronavirus’. This is an absolute myth! Even though garlic is believed to have antimicrobial properties, there is no evidence confirming that it prevents the coronavirus. The issue would be if people decide to consume garlic rather than following evidence-based advice, such as handwashing and social distancing.

Myth two: ‘Rubbing sesame oil on your body can block the coronavirus from entering your body’. I mean…who came up with that? The WHO (World Health Organisation) have confirmed that this will not prevent you from contacting the virus.

Myth three: ‘Drinking water every 15 minutes can help you to flush the coronavirus to your stomach, where the acid in the stomach will kill it.’ Quite frankly, evidence suggests you cannot flush a virus, so this is a complete myth. However, doctors have advised healthy and sick patients to have a sufficient fluid intake to keep their mucus membrane moist.

Myth four: ‘Eating meat or eggs will cause you to get the coronavirus’. The coronavirus is transmitted from person to person rather than through food. However, the WHO have advised people to cook meat and poultry very thoroughly and to wash their hands before and after eating food.  

Myth five: ‘Gargling mouthwash protects you from the coronavirus’. The WHO states that some brands of mouthwash can eliminate certain microbes from the saliva in your mouth, but there is no evidence that it will protect you from the coronavirus.

“there is no sufficient evidence confirming that Vitamin C protects you from the coronavirus” 

Myth six: ‘Consuming Vitamin C supplements will protect you from the coronavirus.’ This is perhaps the most spoken about myth, since many people believe that Vitamin C helps you with the recovery from the flu or a cold, due to part of its role as an antioxidant. However, there is no sufficient evidence confirming that Vitamin C protects you from the coronavirus or from other types of flu and colds despite the many claims out there.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) have recently released a document providing nutrition and dietary recommendations. This is to help combat some of the myths regarding nutrition and the coronavirus. I will summarise some of the key information and the link to the full document can be found here:

there is no specific food or supplement that can protect you from catching the coronavirus  

Firstly, the BDA states that you can’t boost your immune system through diet, and there is no specific food or supplement that can prevent you from catching the coronavirus. Currently, following good hygiene practice is the best way of avoiding this virus. The BDA also recommends consumption of a healthy balanced diet, rather than eating more of one nutrient or food. This can help to support your immune function (not boost it).

As sunlight is the main source of Vitamin D, being isolated means that many people won’t be meeting their Vitamin D requirement. Therefore, the BDA do suggest taking a supplement if you are unable to go outside, but to also try consuming some Vitamin D containing foods such as oily fish (e.g. salmon, sardines, trout), egg yolks and margarine (which has added vitamin D in the UK).

To avoid food wastage, the BDA have encouraged consuming fresh ingredients first, before foods with a longer shelf-life. Root foods like potatoes, carrots and onions keep the longest. Also, to free up more space in the fridge, items like fresh tomatoes, unpeeled onions/potatoes etc do not need to be refrigerated. This can free space for more perishable items.

To see more advice, visit the BDA website at the above link.

Finally, when seeking any advice, look at evidence-based sources from credible authors like WHO, BDA, Public Health England, BNF (British Nutrition Foundation) rather than a random person on Facebook.

Stay safe and best wishes. 

Lujain Alkhalaf

Featured image courtesy of Isabel Eyre via Flickr. No changes made to this image. Image license found here

For more content including uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved. If you just can’t get enough of Features, like our Facebook as a reader or a contributor.

AdviceFeaturesHumans and HealthLifestyle

Leave a Reply