The greatest global health crisis in decades has undoubtedly yielded many health advice, but how do you know what is reliable and accurate?
It’s not always easy, especially when certain political leaders suggest potentially deadly ideas, such as injecting disinfectant as possible remedies.
Researchers say public inoculation against such harmful misinformation has never been more urgent, and they have conducted a large international survey to assess how much wrong advice around Covid-19 eating and eating practices is actually adopted.
The study, started shortly after the start of closure by University College London (UCL) and The Health Sciences Academy (HSA), found potentially damaging misconceptions about nutrition and Covid-19, including nearly half (43%) of the 3,781 respondents mistakenly believed it is safe to eat fruits and vegetables washed with soap or diluted bleach, and a small minority (3.3%), even gargling dangerous bleach, will kill the virus.
Co-author Alex Ruani, a senior science teacher at HSA and a UCL doctoral researcher, says, “I am deeply concerned that potentially harmful dietary habits are adopted by masses of people based on widespread advice that is incorrect and taken out of context. or remains silent about objective health risks. And enough is enough. We need to do something about that sooner rather than later.
“If we accept potentially harmful nutritional information and advice as ‘safe’ and ‘true’, if we are not informed about the side effects or contraindications, and if we change our food choices as a result, our risk of harm will escalate. The danger is that we may not know until it is too late and the damage has already been done. “
Encouragingly, 96% of study participants believed that, in order to reduce the risk of infection with Covid-19, they should avoid direct contact with people who deliver groceries or packages and wash hands thoroughly after introduction of packages or groceries.
“Most people understand the importance of social distance in preventing the spread of Covid-19,” emphasizes study co-author Professor Michael Reiss of the UCL Institute of Education. However, there are important misunderstandings about the implications of eating and eating. Governments can help allay fears and reduce Covid-19 transmission by promoting clear public health messages about eating and eating, “
Here, Ruani outlines seven potentially harmful health and nutrition misconceptions regarding Covid-19 …
1. Washing food with diluted bleach
The UCL / HSA study found that 43% of participants mistakenly believed that it is safe to eat fruits and vegetables that have been washed with soap or diluted bleach, supposedly to remove potential COVID-19 viral particles. “It’s not safe to wash your fresh produce with soap or diluted bleach,” says Ruani. “But, very worryingly, we found that a large number of people may be involved in this harmful food practice despite warnings from the food authorities.”
2. Flushing coronavirus with water
More than a fifth (21%) of those surveyed mistakenly believed that drinking water flushes all viral COVID-19 particles into the esophagus, then into the stomach, where they believe they have completely disintegrated by stomach acid. Another 22% doubted whether this was true or not.
In addition, 25% of people mistakenly believed that keeping the mouth and throat moist could stop the coronavirus, assuming saliva can encapsulate and deactivate the COVID-19 virus. Another 29% doubted whether this was true or not.
3. Neutralize coronavirus with bleach
A small minority of people (3.3%) mistakenly believed that you can protect yourself from the new coronavirus by gargling bleach, and another 7.5% were unsure. In fact, the reality is that gargling bleach can cause poisoning instead of serving as an aid.
“People can die from taking harmful health advice, and unfortunately government officials are not exempt from spreading risky misinformation,” said Ruani.
An Arizona couple poisoned themselves by taking chloroquine phosphate through a home aquarium cleaner, following Donald Trump’s televised approval of an anti-malarial drug containing chloroquine, despite scientists’ warnings against it.
4. Huge vitamin doses
Taking mega doses of concentrated vitamin C (8 g and more) or vitamin D (10,000 IU and more) has not been proven to stop people from getting COVID-19 or treating the virus, Ruani warns.
5. Eating herbs and spices
Another unproven treatment for COVID-19 is to eat herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, oregano, or chili. Ruani says there is no evidence for this.
6. Liquid “cures”
Ruani also emphasizes that there is no evidence that gargling alcoholic drinks such as vodka or dental mouthwash or drinking hot drinks such as tea and broth will affect the corona virus.
7. Cold “cure”
There is also no evidence that avoiding cold drinks and cold foods, such as ice, will affect the virus. “There are numerous examples of unproven COVID-19 preventive methods and treatments that have been circulating since the global outbreak,” said Ruani. “These will not stop you from catching COVID-19 or making you immune to it.”