Will Drinking Water Every 15 Minutes Save You From COVID-19?

Does drinking water every 15 minutes prevents a person from getting infection of the coronavirus?

3 min read
After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a lot of misinformation and fake news has been going viral. 
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China in mid-December, the misinformation around the virus has reached epidemic proportions.

World Health Organization (WHO) has been actively responding to and giving out accurate information about the novel coronavirus in a bid to stamp out the fake news.

Recently, we received another message which claimed to identify, cure and prevent the infection of the coronavirus.

What is Written in the Message?

Will Drinking Water Every 15 Minutes Save You From COVID-19?

Is it true?

We sent the message to Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS; Dr Sumit Ray, Chief and Chairman of Medical Services at Artemis Hospital; and Dr Ashwini Setya, Senior Consultant Gastroentrologist at Max Superspeciality Hospital, Saket.

All three experts described the message and it contents as misleading and wrong.

Let's take them up one by one:

Do Symptoms of the Infection Not Show Up for Many Days?

It has been found that it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

Dr Setya explains that any infection (virus, bacteria or any other germs, which enter the body) has an incubation period during which the symptoms are not seen and it can last from one to two weeks.

According to WHO, it is possible that some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.

Does the Novel Coronavirus Cause Lung Fibrosis?

“Only a small percentage of patients of Novel COVID-19 require hospitalisation. Of them a small percentage of patients have severe damage to the lung called ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), of which a certain percentage will have fibrosis.”
Dr Sumit Ray, Chief and Chairman of Medical Services at Artemis Hospital

The method of breathing to detect fibrosis and coronavirus, as described in the message, has been denied by the experts.

Dr Sumit Ray says, “The supposed techniques advised to check fibrosis doesn't work. Fibrosis can only be detected on CT scan. And fibrosis occurs only in a small group of patients who have a severe version of the disease.”

WHO, at the same time, has said in a video that to check whether or not a person is infected with the Novel Coronavirus, PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is done. The virus is identified by its genetic fingerprint.

Don't Let Your Throat Go Dry, Keep Sipping Water: Does this Work?

Dr Ray says, “The supposed Japanese technique to prevent infection is without any scientific rationale.”

No such advisory has been issued by WHO or any other public health authority that a dry throat may put you at a greater risk of getting infected.

According to Dr Ashwini Setya, there is no such study that drinking water every 15 minutes will save a person from getting infected by the coronavirus or that the stomach acid will kill the virus.

“The acid in our stomach is a fixed line of defence, which kills a lot of germs but not all germs can get killed by it. If it was true, there would be no diseases such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E or Diarrhea.”
Dr Setya

As for drinking enough water, both Dr Ray and Dr Setya say that being hydrated is good for overall health. According to the doctors, hydration is required in case one gets the infection as all infections tend to dehydrate the body and if under-hydrated, the ability of the body to fight the infection and prevent organ damage is reduced.

How Do We Stay Safe from Coronavirus?

To prevent getting infected, you should maintain basic hand and respiratory hygiene and safe food practices and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

In addition to this, refrain from travelling to affected places.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection.

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