False information seems to be spreading as fast as the coronavirus itself. Let’s get some things clear to distinguish between fact and fiction.
There are a lot of posts floating around saying that anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen can make the infection worse. France’s health minister suggested patients do not use these medications if they think they have COVID-19. However, there has not been any data to back this up. So, currently, there is no reason to avoid the temporary use of ibuprofen. But, if you’re a long-term user, you are risking other health issues such as intestinal bleeding, kidney damage, and cardiovascular issues.
Deep Breathing and Other False Tactics
Another piece of false information being passed around says that if you can breathe deeply it means your not infected, or gargling salt water can kill the virus. This misinformation has been attributed to experts from Standford University. However, this is also untrue. Taking a deep breath and holding it for ten seconds in no way screens for the presence of the virus in your lungs. Some people won’t be able to do this regardless of having the virus or not. And, it’s actually more indicative of other health conditions such as heart disease or asthma.
Additionally, gargling with salt water does nothing to protect you from COVID-19. Drinking hot liquids or sipping water every 15 minutes will also do nothing to protect you from COVID-19. While these things are not likely harmful, it is harmful to spread misinformation to downplay the severity of this pandemic. The main things everyone can do to actually help stop the spread of the virus is to practice social distancing, wash your hands often with soap and water, clean and disinfect surfaces, and stay home – this goes double if you’re sick.
Vitamin C Supplements
Another question I get asked all the time is if vitamin C supplements can prevent you from catching COVID-19. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that vitamin C supplements will protect you from the coronavirus. But, vitamin C is important for your body. It is an important antioxidant needed for immune function. It neutralizes free radicals by protecting connective tissues against pathogens and stopping them from damaging tissues in your body. So, make sure you are getting enough vitamin C in your diet – you just don’t need to get megadoses through vitamin supplementation. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. Food is medicine after all. If ever there was a time to cut back on processed foods and added sugars, it’s now! Feed your immune system healthy foods that support your body. Eating healthy food is the best way to support your immune system by getting the nutrients you need. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.