Do not fall victim to those preying on hope and fear. Everyone wants to find a magical cure to help prevent us from being infected with the virus or to help cure the virus if we are already infected.
This can leave the population vulnerable to con artists and people who charge exorbitant prices for unproven products. Some of these “solutions” can be dangerous to your health.
COVID-19 is novel. There is still a lot to learn about the virus. There is no known way to fortify your immunity to save yourself from infection or finding a cure. But hopefully one day there will be a vaccine.
Think twice before you spend your hard-earned money on the following products. Instead, follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for staying safe and healthy. And please remember: the coronavirus can be prevented by washing your hands.
The following products have been circulating the internet as items that can help during the coronavirus pandemic. But they are overpriced, unproven and some are even dangerous.
13. Vitamin C
Newsweek has reported that high doses of vitamin C are being used in experimental treatments for COVID-19 patients. This has lead to an increase in sales of orange juice in some areas.
The professor of biochemistry at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, Peter McCaffery, states, “Taking large doses of vitamin C tablets would be very unlikely to protect you from COVID-19—unless you were actually vitamin C deficient, which with a normal diet is quite rare”
12. Sodium Chlorite
The FDA recently posted a warning on their website to not drink “Miracle” or “Master” Mineral solution or other sodium chlorite products. The FDA has received many reports that these products are being sold online as COVID-19 treatments and have made people sick.
The FDA warned customers in 2010 not to drink these products, but they are making the rounds on social media. When these products are mixed according to the manufacturer’s directions, they become a strong chemical that is used in bleach.
Some distributors and manufacturers are making dangerous claims that this compound mixed with citric acid is an antiviral, antimicrobial, and antibacterial that can cure cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, cancer, flu, and the coronavirus.
There is currently no data that the FDA is aware of that supports these claims, but most importantly, these products are not safe for ingestion. It can also delay other treatments that have been shown to be safe and effective.
11. N95 Masks
N95 masks are essential personal protection equipment (PPE) that are used by first responders and essential health workers to keep them from being infected by the coronavirus on the front lines as they try to save lives.
Early on, many people bought up the supplies of essential N95 masks, and hospitals started running out of supplies. Prices soared as the demand became high.
At the beginning of the pandemic, experts originally said that masks were not beneficial for everyday use. New evidence has suggested that the COVID-19 can be transmitted by droplets spread through talking and breathing. And the virus particles can potentially linger in the air.
The chairman of a committee with the National Academy of Sciences, Harvey Fineberg, MD, suggests that in places where social distancing is not possible, you should cover your mouth with a bandana, scarf, or nonsurgical mask.
The CDC’s official statement on N95 masks: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that the general public wear N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19). Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.”
10. Elderberry Syrup
Natural health practitioners have long suggested using elderberry to help fight colds and boost immunity based on their vitamin and antioxidant properties.
There is not any evidence that elderberry syrup protects or cures the coronavirus. The FDA sent a warning letter to Herbal Amy, Inc. that they could not claim their products are helpful for coronavirus.
9. Superblue Toothpaste
The New York State Attorney General sent a cease-and-desist order to Alex Jones, a conservative radio host, and conspiracy theorist, regarding his false claims that his toothpaste could be used to fight the coronavirus.
His website claimed that the toothpaste acted as a “stop gate” and “kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range.”
The State Attorney General, Letitia James, stated that the coronavirus has given Mr. Jones another opportunity to make money off fear and caused deception to the people of the United States.
Again, there is no remedy or cure for the novel coronavirus.Related: COVID19 & Gloves You May Not Be Using Them Properly
Chloroquine is a potent drug used to treat lupus, malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases. In February, researchers showed that the drug could reduce coronavirus infection of human cells grown in a lab.
A few small studies have been reported, but they have been inconclusive. Some research even suggests that the treatment could be harmful to those already infected with COVID-19.
In March, a couple ingested chloroquine phosphate, which is used to clean aquariums. This resulted in the death of one of them. Chloroquine phosphate is a different compound than chloroquine and should not be ingested.
In treatment guidelines released on April 21, the US National Institutes of Health stated that there is not enough data to recommend either for or against the use of chloroquine in people with COVID-19.
A viral message on social media platforms has supposedly originated from Li Wenliang, the Wuhan whistleblower doctor who eventually died from COVID-19. The message stated that the chemicals methylxanthine, theobromine, and theophylline help fight COVID-19. It further claimed that these chemicals are in tea, and therefore you should drink tea three times a day.
While tea may hydrate you and help you feel better, it will not protect you from COVID-19.
6. Distilled White Vinegar
Social media posts have claimed that distilled white vinegar can kill the virus if you gargle it or use it to clean. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can gargle to kill the virus. And furthermore, distilled white vinegar cannot be used to actually kill the coronavirus on surfaces.Related: How COVID-19 Can Spread at a Restaurant
5. Tito’s Vodka
When hand sanitizer supplies were running short, many individuals looked to the internet to find a recipe to make hand sanitizers themselves (see Hand Sanitizer: Homemade to Fight COVID 19).
The problem with using Tito’s vodka: Hand sanitizer must contain 60% alcohol and Tito’s only contains 40%. The company set the record straight and launched a campaign to prevent misinformation.
4. Red Cross Home Tests
Scammers are going door to door claiming that they are from the Red Cross. The Red Cross has issued a statement that they are not offering at-home coronavirus tests.
They suggest that you call the police immediately if anyone is claiming they are offering tests from the Red Cross.
“The information from medical studies shows that if the correct form of zinc is used it could reduce the severity of the symptoms and the length of time someone is sick with a cold,” states Timonthy Brown, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown.
Using this logic, people are stocking up on zinc supplements, and sales have risen 200%. Unfortunately, the coronavirus is a very different type of virus than the cold viruses that we are used to. There is not any evidence to support that zinc works for COVID-19.
Also, taking too much zinc can cause problems such as anemia and can harm your immune system.
2. Disinfectant Wipes
Disinfecting wipes have been hard to find since the beginning of the pandemic. Prices have also soared. Good thing there are other ways to keep your house clean and disinfected.
High concentrations of bleach solutions, alcohol, and simple soap and water will do the trick.
1. Colloidal Silver
There is no evidence or scientific studies to back up the claim that drinking colloidal silver (silver droplets in liquid) can kill COVID-19 or improve your health in any way.
Televangelist Jim Bakker has had several lawsuits filed against him for promoting this dangerous practice.
The Bottom Line
Use common sense. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is! There is no current cure or vaccine for COVID-19. Social distancing, covering your mouth, and washing with good old warm water and soap is the best way to flatten the curve and prevent you from contracting and/or spreading COVID-19.Related: Social Distancing Mistakes That Put You at Risk for Coronavirus