FlipFact of the Day: During major health crises, the only things that spread faster than diseases are bogus tales of cures based on nothing but questionable anecdotal stories and outright pseudoscience. As expected, the current COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Various preventive myths and misconceptions have raised their ugly heads, often to the benefit of opportunistic sellers carrying the very same products touted as cures.
One of the most pervasive myths: Consuming garlic (either by snacking on a bowl of garlic or drinking garlic water) will prevent or cure COVID-19. Here’s the thing: while the tasty herb does have antimicrobial properties, there is zero evidence that it can stop SARS-CoV-2 infection in its tracks. (Unless, of course, the “V” in “COVID-19” or “SARS-CoV-2” stands for “vampire.”)
Another myth that seems to be gaining traction: You can sterilize your hands or skin with ultraviolet (UV) lamps. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already warned against this advice, as it is not only untrue, but also potentially harmful. Trust us when we say that there are less expensive ways to get painful skin irritation.
The normal body temperature of an average human being ranges from 36.5°C to 37°C, and external temperatures won’t change that. Basically, you can’t fry the virus from outside if it’s already inside you. This is why you also shouldn’t believe the myth that taking a hot bath (which can burn you, by the way) or running your hands under a hand dryer can save you from COVID-19.
However, what you do before you use a hand dryer CAN save you: Wash your hands properly and thoroughly with soap and water.
(Then again, if your goal is to strictly practice social distancing, then by all means, fill your mouth with garlic.)
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Cover photo: Isabella Mendes/Pexels
Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco
Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.