‘Misinformation out there that could cost lives:’ Separating COVID-19 fact vs. fiction
WATERLOO -- Despite what some online posts may say: eating garlic has not been proven to help get rid of COVID-19.
“Anything that is touted as being hidden or a miracle cure should be always be distrusted,” said Dr. Craig Janes, Director of the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo.
Janes also took the time to weigh in on other myths, like if holding your breath without coughing or feeling pain is a sign you do not have the virus…
“The virus would lead to a shortness of breath and if you can’t hold your breath then that might be a sign,” he said. “But there really is no truth to that particular myth.”
Taking ibuprofen can make a COVID-19 infection worse…
“There is no evidence behind the assertion,” said Janes. “You shouldn’t worry about taking Advil or ibuprofen if you have a fever.”
Or that the virus will die off when the temperature rises.
“We’re seeing transmission in hot countries like Australia,” said Janes. “I think we all hope there will be seasonality and we’ll get some relief but the evidence isn’t there yet.”
Penelope Ironstone, an associate professor in communications at Laurier University and expert in pandemics and culture, is calling on the public to practice information hygiene.
“Misinformation produces viral and contagious ideas like dipping yourself in sesame oil or drinking bleach or bathing in alcohol,” she said. “These are things that could be incredibly dangerous.”
She notes that it’s not all fiction on social media, which can still be a useful tool to feel connected.
The key is to stop, think, and fact-check before sharing new data.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there that could cost people’s lives,” said Ironstone. “We’re creating conditions where people are maybe more at risk or maybe more fearful.”