Bad medical ideas on COVID-19

Anyone reading this blog is smart enough to avoid most of the bad medical ideas being touted around coronavirus. Today I present 10 of the most concerning ideas on coronavirus, partly for entertainment and partly to give you substance on how to caution your friends, 

1. Sex will cause you to get infected with the virus. The coronavirus does not directly infect the sex organs and is not transmitted sexually. However, unless your positions are very unique anyone you are having sex with is someone physically close enough that you’ve shared respiratory droplets. Therefore, could get the infection through respiratory contact with that individual.

2. Home remedies like apple cider vinegar or zinc tablets can augment your immunity and prevent coronavirus infection. There’s no data suggesting that these remedies do anything to prevent coronavirus infection or any other disease. Most probably won’t hurt you though.

Actor Keith Middlebrook was arrested for selling bogus COVID-19 “cure.” Hindustan Times

3. You should take antibiotics or other medications prophylactically to prevent getting coronavirus infection. I get this question all the time, however there are no drugs that have even been suggested to be able to prevent coronavirus infection. Antibiotics are a particularly bad idea since they only prevent bacterial infections and can give you diarrhea or a yeast infection that may be confused with coronavirus infection. I also again reinforce not taking chloroquine to prevent the infection as that can literally kill you! Finally, its best not to take advice from actors or non-medical specialists!

Healthcare workers resorting to home made personal protective equipment (PPE)

4. You should make your own protective gear to prevent the infection. This is wrong in two ways. First, protective gear like masks are not is useful in preventing infection compared to hand washing, not touching your face or staying 6 feet away from other individuals. In addition, non-tested protective gear may not have adequate ability to prevent infection from aerosols in situations like hospitals were true barrier protection is necessary. We need to save the real PPE for hospital workers!

5. Disinfectants are safe to use on any surface including your skin or food. Many surface disinfectants are caustic and should not be put on skin, mucous membranes or in the eyes. It is also not necessary to spray disinfectants on foods as washing them with soap and water is more than adequate to remove coronavirus. Also, putting high concentrations of disinfectant in your laundry can cause irritation to your skin. Wash your clothes in hot soapy water and you’ll be more than adequately protected.

Human heart and micrograph with closeup view of cardiac muscle structure, 3D illustration and photo under microscope

6. Coronavirus hurts the lungs but not the heart. In recent studies substantial numbers of patients with coronavirus developed several different types of heart disease including a weakening of the heart muscle and inflammation around the heart. Therefore, even if you have good lungs if you have heart disease you should be very careful not to get coronavirus infection.

7. Coronavirus parties are good idea. We all like a party but having a party with a large number of people so that you actually get the coronavirus infection it is not a good idea. While becoming immune to the virus is a noble goal, even in young people 20% have significant illnesses and deaths have been reported. In addition, at this particular time, the last thing we need is more sick and infected individuals. If you want to hold a party to infect yourself please wait until the hospitals are cleared out so they’ll be someone to take care of you.

8. Eating certain foods will make the infection worse. I’m not sure where this has come from because there’s no support for this at all. It may be that people who are intolerant to lactose and drink milk when they have coronavirus have worse bloating and diarrhea. Also some foods that are hard to digest may be even more difficult when you have coronavirus infection. In reality, however, no food will actually make the infection worse.

9. Isolation/quarantine for coronavirus infection is a bad idea. This opinion was posted on numerous websites by legitimate authors in late February and early March. I don’t think these folks understood that we needed this extreme degree of social isolation to try and “flatten the curve”. These measures were necessary to get through this first, largest wave of illnesses and keep the health system from being overwhelmed. The idea that either social distancing or quarantine was a bad idea may have delayed individuals from taking these steps and actually made the illness worse in many parts of the country.

10. And the worst medical idea out there is that you could use a hairdryer to blow hot air into your nose and kill the virus to prevent the infection. An individual who calls himself a “doctor” has put out a video touting this and it may be the most dangerous idea yet. Not only will this not kill the virus, it has the potential of burning the membranes of your nose. This would actually reduce the barrier to coronavirus and make you more likely to get infected (not to mention having to treat a burn around your nose).

Let’s give everyone who’s proffered these bad ideas a big thumbs down!

Published by jbakerjrblog

Immunologist, former Army MD, former head of allergy and clinical immunology at University of Michigan, vaccine developer and opinionated guy.

3 thoughts on “Bad medical ideas on COVID-19

  1. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and may come back someday. I want to encourage continue your great writing, have a nice morning!

    Like

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