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2nd April, 2020 No Fooling Around With COVID-19. Let’s sift Fiction from Fact!

Question: I have seen videos that tell us that cutting up onions purifies the air and rid it of viruses, bacteria and toxins. Another video preaches that when we place them under the feet, it can purify the body. Are these truly helpful or harmful? What about placing them in socks?

Answer: I have not yet seen any research proving these effective whether you put them in your socks, place under your feet or leave them around the room. These are myths with no scientific basis. I think they have been handed down through the generations. Note: eating onions is not bad.

Onions offer a lot of benefits when you EAT them, they are high in Vitamin C that boosts immune function.

Is such practice harmful? Not really, it won’t kill you.

Is it helpful? Not really, except where it gives you a false sense of security, otherwise you might just feel that you have ‘done’ something to fight the virus. Onions are also slightly acidic and possibly minutely antibacterial but soap and water or alcohol solution (above 60%) will do a better job at getting rid of germs on hands and surfaces.

Question: Is garlic effective against Covid 19?

Answer: No, garlic is NOT an effective treatment for Covid 19 virus. However garlic itself is not harmful, it contains allicin and have been used in many traditional medicines. It has been said to have some disease fighting and antibacterial properties. You need to eat a lot of garlic (buckets of garlic) to get some of these effects.

Question: I read that honey can kill some viruses, does it kill corona virus? What about garlic and honey together?

Answer: So far no cure has been found for the corona virus.

Is garlic and honey good for your health? Probably yes. Some small studies show the Manuka honey has some antiviral properties but not big enough to be conclusive. However honey can SOOTHE a cold. Honey and garlic will also be SOOTHING. But they don’t treat corona virus infection.

(By the way, we have used honey for some diabetic wounds in some hospitals in Nigeria and the response was fairly good indicating honey indeed had antibacterial properties but one major drawback was getting genuine undiluted honey in Nigeria).

Question: Can we drink tonic water or bitter lemon for prevention of Covid 19? I read it somewhere.

Answer: I will say No because I have not seen any research proving that tonic water prevents this virus. People may be talking about tonic water because Tonic water contains some quinine. And quinine sounds close to chloroquine. At one time, tonic water was used for prevention of malaria. But the quinine content is now so low that it’s no longer effective. It has a distinctive bitter taste. Nowadays it may be sweetened with sugar or sweeteners which may not be too good for you. I have never really been one to advise people to take carbonated drinks, talk less of one packed with sugar. Meanwhile quinine has some terrible side effects eg. ringing in the ear.

Question: Doc, you said the World Health Organization says we should not wear face mask, why?

Answer: This was their advice but new findings are coming out every day and there have been a few changes in position based on research. As at 2nd April, 2020, that position has not changed. They advise only those who are tending the sick to wear masks. One of their major reasons is that people wearing masks have a false sense of security whereas these surgical masks do not really protect you. There’s also a tendency that you can transfer infection from the mask to yourself or that you do not wear the masks properly. But behind all the reasons is an unspoken reason that the health workers do not have enough masks. The public is buying up all the masks and leave the health workers who are the front-line soldiers in this battle defenseless. And the price of masks has not just quadrupled but are hard to get.

In recent days, a big debate has been ongoing citing data from Asian countries such as Taiwan and South Korea and even Czech Republic where there was reduced transmission because everyone had to wear a mask. The United States is set to make a statement on whether the public should be mandated to wear masks in a few days. Personally, I feel that anyone leaving his house should wear a mask, whether it is a surgical mask or cloth mask or even a handkerchief or scarf. This is not to protect yourself but to protect others. If everyone uses a mask and we continue good hand hygiene along with social distancing, we may be able to reduce the spread of this virus.

This post is getting long, join me tomorrow as we continue with more questions: Is 1000mg Vitamin C too much? They say we should use alcohol so we’re using beer, palmwine and kaikai to wash our hands in the village, na alcohol abi?

Stay safe at home, wash your hands, pray. And as always I pray you live right and live long!

Dr Uche

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