Local governments around the world are telling the public to look to health agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for tips on how to stay safe.
Instead of recommending the same, Okeechobee County Commissioner Bryant Culpepper cited a suggestion he said he saw on One American News Network, saying that blowing a hair dryer up the nose could “kill” the coronavirus.
Speaking at a March 20 commissioners meeting, he started off by saying the nasal passages and nasal membranes are the “coolest part of the body,” which attracts the virus.
“This sounds really goofy, and it did to me too, but it works. Once the temperature reaches 136 degrees Fahrenheit, the virus falls apart, it disintegrates.”
“I said, ‘How would you get the temperature up to 136 degrees?’ The answer was you use a blow dryer,” he said. “You hold a blow dryer up to your face and you inhale through your nose and it kills all the viruses in your nose.”
He acknowledged that it sounds “simplified,” adding that there’s another method that involves a stove and a pan of water.
“Also, if you are worried about it going into your lungs, because that’s where it goes to turn into pneumonia, you can put a pan of water on the stove until it turns into steam and inhale it,” he said.
“It sounds too easy, but at this point, it’s worth trying.”
Health officials were quick to pipe in, saying not only will this method not work, but it will also irritate your skin, eyes, nose and mouth.
The WHO has said that dryers cannot kill the new coronavirus and that the virus can still be transmitted in hot and humid climates, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
Dr. Jen Caudle, a family physician and associate professor at Rowan University in New Jersey, also confirmed that blowing hot air into a nose will not prevent or cure COVID-19.
“Depending on how hot the blow dryer gets, I would be concerned with some adverse effects,” she told AP.
Dr. Faheem Younus, who specializes in infectious diseases at the University of Maryland, tweeted Tuesday to knock down the commissioner’s false claim.
“False! Please don’t. Our nose carries bacteria, as part of normal flora. Those bacteria may get confused.”
Many doctors, like Younus and Caudle, are using their expertise to debunk claims like this one on their personal channels.
—With files from the Associated Press
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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