By Kate Kelland and Julie Steenhuysen
(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s musings about whether disinfectants and ultraviolet light can be inserted into patients’ bodies to treat COVID-19 have alarmed doctors and drawn warnings from the makers of Lysol, Dettol and Clorox.
Here are some other claims that have circulated about how to treat COVID-19 or stop the transmission of the new coronavirus, and the facts according to doctors and health experts:
Fiction: Disinfectant injected into people infected with the new coronavirus could help clear COVID-19, the disease it causes.
Fact: Drinking or injecting bleach or other disinfectants is extremely dangerous and could result in death.
Fiction: Ultraviolet light inserted into the body could help kill the virus and speed recovery.
Fact: While UV light is known to kill viruses contained in droplets in the air, doctors say there is no way it could be introduced into the human body to target cells infected with COVID-19.
Fiction: Antibiotics can prevent and treat the new coronavirus.
Fact: Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. They will not prevent or treat infection with the new coronavirus.
There are currently no specific proven medicines for COVID-19 infection, but those infected can relieve and treat mild symptoms with over-the-counter fever-reducing medicines such as acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, and aspirin.
Fiction: The new coronavirus can be spread by mosquito bites and in Chinese food.
Fact: No. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus that spreads primarily via droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or breathes out, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
Fiction: Regularly rinsing your nose with saline can prevent infection with COVID-19.
Fact: There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people. There is some weak evidence that the practice can help some people recover more quickly from the common cold, but it does not prevent respiratory infections.
Fiction: Some social media posts suggest that spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body can protect against COVID-19 infection, or that gargling bleach or drinking excessive amounts of water can somehow “flush it out.”
Fact: There is no evidence to back these claims.
Good hygiene practices including frequent hand washing and avoiding close social contact can help reduce the risk of infection.
Fiction: Hand dryers are effective in killing the new coronavirus.
Fact: No. Hand dryers are not effective against COVID-19, but frequently cleaning your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub, or washing them with soap and water, is. Clean hands should be dried thoroughly with a clean towel or air dryer.
Fiction: Cold weather, hot weather, snow, eating garlic or taking a hot bath have also been suggested as ways people can prevent themselves from becoming infected.
Fact: There is no evidence behind these claims and no evidence as yet to suggest that COVID-19 will be affected by weather or the seasons.
The best way to protect yourself is by washing your hands frequently and avoiding contact with anyone who might be infected. This way, you can eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that might occur by touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
(Reporting by Kate Kelland in London and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Howard Goller)