10 On Your Side coronavirus tips: Separating fact from fiction


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — There is a lot of information and advice circulating on social media concerning coronavirus. Some suggest food or drink to protect you, or certain clothing you should or should not wear.  

10 On Your Side reached out to infectious disease expert Dr. Edward Oldfield from Eastern Virginia Medical School to separate fact from fiction.

You may have read that sitting in a sauna or sipping hot tea will protect you.

Oldfield confirms heat will kill the virus but at a temperature that  is too hot to handle, he said. 

“It’s 158 degrees for 30 minutes, and 140 degrees is scalding water,” he said.

What about gargling with warm water and vinegar or lemon? 

“I don’t think that’s going to help,” Oldfield told WAVY News 10.

But…”There is some data on Listerine. Listerine has alcohol in it and that has been shown to kill herpes viruses but it has not been specifically tested on coronavirus.”

It won’t hurt you, however, and neither will wearing a necktie. That advice, he said, came from a study on bacteria in hospitals. 

“I’ve not been a great fan of that, as you can see, I’ve still got a tie on,” he said.

Oldfield also added something else to his wardrobe this week.

“I wore a mask today and if I have to go outside, I’m wearing a mask. If I have to go to the pharmacy, I have a mask on. If I go to the grocery store, I’m going to have a mask on,” he said.

You don’t need an N95 mask. Oldfield insists people should save those for healthcare workers. A cloth mask or even a bandana will work. He pointed to studies that found masks helped prevent the chances of getting SARS — another respiratory illness — by 68 percent. Hand-washing decreased the chances of getting that illness by 57 percent.  He highly recommends you do both.

You may have also hear that taking melatonin, zinc and vitamin C will protect you.  That, the doctor says, just might work.

Zinc is an immune system modulator. Zinc has some antiviral agents and vitamin C has both immune and antiviral properties.  

“It’s safe, it’s inexpensive, you can’t hurt yourself and if it works, you’re ahead of the game, especially if you’re over 60,” he said.

It’s important to take those supplements correctly, though. Oldfield says the current recommendations are:

  • Vitamin C — 500 mg twice a day
  • Zinc – 75-100 mg once a day
  • Melatonin – 1 to 3 mg at bedtime

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