Snake Oil

92 11 20

Please, please, please, don't believe everything the internet tells you. Particularly the darker corners, Trump's twitter account, or places put together by people who don't do research.

Like here, for instance. I'm not a medical professional, and while I try my best to make sure that what I'm putting up here is accurate, it's not a substitute for reading up on what your regional or national health authorities are recommending.

Many people don't share my concern with accuracy, and are pedalling snake oil to make a quick buck. This isn't unique to Covid-19, selling fake remedies is older than civilization. But fake remedies with a pandemic can get people killed.

Especially when you do something that's bad for your health, while you're sick.

So, let me go through some of the remedies being touted on the internet.

-Snake Oil. Yes, actual snake oil. Really not sure what kind of oil they're using, but all of it ranges from 'do nothing' to 'could kill you'. Particularly if that snake oil is actually snake venom, and you have a cut or a sore in your mouth.

-Cow Urine. Apparently you're supposed to drink it. In copious quantities.

-Bleach. Because of its disinfecting qualities. Now, the stuff does kill the Covid-19 virus, which makes it a great surface cleaner, it won't do any better than your stomach acid. And it's extremely dangerous to drink. Don't drink it, gargle it, breathe in the fumes, use it for a DIY colonoscopy, or whatever else.

-Tide Pods. Okay, I just made this one up. But it's about as credible as anything else on this list.

-Silver. Now, Silver does have a certain antiseptic property, since as it oxidizes the product is lethal to some bacteria. This is not an excuse to drink a silver solution, eat silver shavings, put silver jewelry in your mouth, or swallow your girlfriend's jewellery.

-Cocaine. No. No no no!

-Toothpaste. No. If toothpaste killed viruses we wouldn't have the flu run around every year. Though unlike some of these remedies you can still use toothpaste, the way it was intended.

-Breathing in Steam. Mostly harmless, but this probably won't help you.

-Vaping. No, just no. Vaping is bad for you, and having compromised lungs with the Coronavirus is a very bad idea.

-Smoking. See above.

-Spreading Cow Dung on your hands. How is that supposed to help? Except that it makes you wash your hands, which would help. Best to skip the cow crap and just wash your hands.

-Eating garlic and getting more sun. Covid-19 is not a vampire. Mind you, neither of these cures are bad for you. And if eating roasted garlic bulbs with a nice sourdough on your porch in the sun keeps you from going freaky from social isolation, I'll even endorse this one.

-Rum. Good grief, no. Look, any alcohol stronger than 120 proof will work as a topical sanitizer. Getting drunk will not cure Covid-19.

-Juice of Bittergourd. See 'Snake Oil'.

-Holding Your Breath for Ten Seconds to Self-Diagnose. Obviously, no. By the time your lungs are that compromised, you should have seen a doctor.

-Sauna. No. Now, there is the ongoing suggestion that Covid-19 doesn't do well in hot temperatures. The nature of the infection, since it spreads in your airways rather than the rest of your body, does suggest it's optimal temperature range is lower than your body temperature. Sub-optimal is not lethal, however, and there is no evidence to suggest Covid-19 is killed by a sauna. If it were, India, Iran, and Australia wouldn't have it.

-Fire. Works great. The cure is probably worse than the disease, however.

-Reading any book in The Everburning City. Guaranteed cure. No refunds.

-Chuck Norris' Tears. I can't believe that joke is still being used.

-Lemon Juice, Vitamin C. No. And no, Vitamin C does not boost your immune system. Feel free to disregard this one, however, since the placebo effect will help.

-Cabbage. A home remedy circulating in India right now. No, but there's nothing wrong with eating cabbage. Beats the heck out of pool cleaner.

-Pool Cleaner. Apparently someone mistook an anti-malarial drug with a chemical used to clean pools. About as effective as you'd expect.

-Anyone Advertising a Vaccine. They haven't developed one yet. Anyone claiming otherwise is selling you a concoction that's probably a mixture of cocaine and snake oil.

-An Ancient Sri Lankan Elixir. See 'Snake Oil'.

-Drinking Water every Fifteen Minutes: there is a small possibility that you might wash some of the virus particles into your stomach. Not a bad thing, since your stomach will murder it. This is not, however, going to keep it from infecting you.

In summary, please be careful about your health.

Oops! This image does not follow our content guidelines. To continue publishing, please remove it or upload a different image.
Take StockWhere stories live. Discover now