Family doctor dispels coronavirus social media myths ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Karmen Joller.
Karmen Joller. Source: ERR

Holding your breath, drinking water, natural medicines and alcohol will not diagnose or treat coronavirus (COVID-19), a family doctor said, while disproving myths which are spreading on social media.

Speaking on ETV's "Ringvaade", board member of the Estonian Society of Family Practitioners Dr Karmen Joller called these ideas myths and "nonsense".

Joller said during recent days, one of the most commonly spread myths on social media is that you can test for the coronavirus by holding your breath. If a person so doing does not cough for 10 seconds, then they are healthy.

"Of course, this is complete nonsense. Scar tissue does not appear overnight and doesn't appear without us knowing it, plus it can't be diagnosed by holding your breath. Coronavirus can be ruled out with a [medical] test if there's a suspicion you have it," Joller said.

Joller added the ability to hold your breath doesn't mean your lungs are healthy.

The same post on social media referred to suggestions that drinking a sip of water every 15 minutes will push the virus into the stomach, where it will disappear. Joller said the COVID-19 virus mainly attacks the lungs and so can't be cured by drinking water.

Another myth suggests that drinking alcohol kills the virus. Joller said this is also not true. She said natural medicines will also not help people avoid contracting the virus.

What will help is avoiding exposure to infected people and regularly washing your hands, Joller said, adding that some types of protective masks help to stop the spread of the virus. However, these do not provide 100 percent protection.

Joller also noted health care employees should wear protective masks as they are exposed to the virus. 

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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright

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