Covid-19 cures that don’t work

Covid-19 cures that don’t work

Dr Noor Gill lists some alleged “cures” for Covid-19 that do not prevent or cure the disease

We are living in scary times. Scared to go out, meet our friends, shake hands with our neighbours. Who would have thought that a microscopic organism will riddle us with a fear of anything and everything and with such intensity.

What is keeping us in our homes, with the doors locked and the knobs cleaned to perfection with a disinfectant is also the same fear that is helping some people keep their homes running and the money coming. 

With politicians claiming to know what’s best for their citizens without a proper degree or research about the subject that they are addressing to, the number of WhatsApp forwards and posts claiming to have found the cure for Covid-19 on Facebook are at an all-time new rise. News channels covering every homeopathic cure and Ayurvedic kaadha that there is to sell. Minting money off of our very valid fears. But the best way to fight fear is with information. You can’t fix what you don’t know. And you can’t fall for scams when you know what you’re getting into. 

Here are some alleged “cures” for Covid-19 that do not prevent or cure the disease. Look out for them, and don’t fall for them.


– Drinking alcohol does not protect you against Covid-19

The confusion is understandable. Diamond cuts diamond and so Corona (beer) cures corona (virus) seems like an obvious deduction. But what happens to be your Sunday afternoon ritual, is not a sureshot remedy for a highly contagious virus. In fact, harmful use of alcohol and high levels of consumption can increase your risk of health problems thus making your body susceptible to infections. 

– Adding pepper, spices, garlic and chilli

There are no two ways around the fact that maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly and sleeping well is beneficial for the general health of an individual. Adding pepper, spices, garlic and chilli to your meals makes them tasty, but they do not come with the added benefit of preventing or curing Covid-19. Garlic is a healthy food with potential antimicrobial properties but there is no evidence to prove that garlic has protected people against the coronavirus.


– Excessive supplements can be dangerous

With the need to boost our immune systems and fear of the virus catching onto us if it’s not strong enough, people tend to thing that their only option is supplements. Which it is not. Your normal diet contains enough of the required vitamins and minerals. And if not, you can make up for it by adding just exactly what is missing without panic shopping and buying a basket full of supplemental items. Because supplements if not taken correctly, with proper instructions and dosing, can have some serious repercussions. 


– Regularly rinsing your nose with saline

This has been known to decrease the period of sickness with common cold, but is not known to prevent respiratory infections. 


– Flushing the virus out with water

Drinking too much water will not flush the virus out of your system, but it will cause over-hydration (yes, there is such a thing) and an electrolyte imbalance. 


– Covid-19 is NOT spread by mosquitoes or houseflies 

Covid-19 is a viral infection spread primarily through droplets of an infected person when s/he coughs or sneezes. Or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, face, nose or mouth. Covid-19 is not spread by mosquitoes or houseflies. It is good to spray some pesticide and not allow any water to stand stagnant to get rid of the insects which are the breeding grounds for infections but the coronavirus is not spread through these vectors. 


– Mobile Networks

Speaking of ways, the virus cannot be transmitted, mobile networks also do not help in the transmission of the virus. The virus cannot and does not travel through radio waves or mobile networks. 


– Consumption of disinfectants

Spraying, drinking or introducing bleach, ethanol, methanol, chlorine or any other disinfectant into/over your body will not kill the virus not will it prevent the virus from entering you body. It will however have other very serious and painful ramifications such as irritation and redness and damage to the skin and eyes apart from other things. Disinfectants and bleach should only be used carefully on surfaces and kept out of reach from children. 


– Sun does not prevent Covid-19

Exposing yourself to the sun, taking hot water baths or living in areas with hot and humid climates does not prevent covid-19. Countries with hot temperatures have reported covid-19 cases. Neither does cold weather kill the virus. 

The general logic to explain this rather simple but misunderstood concept is: most viruses cannot stand high temperatures and are killed in adverse conditions with very high temperatures. But the core temperatures of our body, regardless of the external temperature in our surroundings remains between 37.5-37°C, thus and so, not preventing or curing the disease by inhibiting the replication or killing the virus. 


– Antibiotics 

They are not the mode of treatment for Covid-19, as the name suggest, Covid is a viral infection and antibiotics work against the bacteria. However, if you are getting treated for Covid-19 and are prescribed antibiotics, it is to fight of any co-bacterial infection. 


– Hydrochloroquine

Currently, no drugs for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19 have been approved. However, there are several ongoing drug trials. There is no proof that hydrochloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent Covid-19. 


– Dexamethasone

A corticosteroid that has been proved to reduce the mortality for Covid-19 patients requiring oxygen support, says WHO. Dexamethasone should not be used for patients with mild disease or those not in need of oxygen support. 


– Homeopathy

A popular branch of alternative medicine but global experts dismiss its efficacy.  “Coronil” is another product that has been launched into the market under the label of Ayurvedic medicine for treatment and prevention of Covid-19 but it has not been approved by the AYUSH Ministry or the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR


All these alternative medicines are taking advantage of the natural history of the disease to make the most of the opportunity. 

The mortality rate for patients infected with Covid-19 is less than 4%, which means that 96% of the infected patients will recover with proper palliative care until a definitive cure is sought.

About Dr Noor Gill

Dr Noor Gill, MBBS, deciphers the space between heartbeats, figuratively and literally. Powered by frequent long naps and caffeine, she believes that “knowledge without giving back to society is meaningless” and works to make caring cool again.

View all posts by Dr Noor Gill

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