Multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms claim that having a dry throat will cause germs to enter one’s body. The claim is false; the Thai Public Health Ministry denies it has ever issued such advice; medical experts say dry throat does not increase the risk of infection.
A screenshot of the post can be found here.
Translated to English, the post’s lengthy Thai text partly reads:
“Ministry of Health warned that this influenza is very serious.
– Must maintain the throat’s membrane moisture
– Do not let your throat be dried, do not tolerate thirstiness, because if your throat membrane gets dry, germs will enter the body.
– When you feel thirsty, just drink water.”
The claim is false.
Dr. Suthat Chotanapan, director of the Bureau of Risk Communication and Health Behavior Development for the Ministry of Public Health, told AFP on September 15, 2020, that the ministry “has never announced this”.
Having a dry throat “is irrelevant” to how humans are infected with germs, Dr. Thira Woratanarat, associate professor of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at Chulalongkorn University, also told AFP via telephone on September 15, 2020.
“A dry throat doesn’t increase virus infections. Germs enter our body through cells, respiratory tract, passing through bronchia, and eventually lungs. Having a dry throat doesn’t increase all virus infections, including the COVID-19, and it’s not irrelevant,” Dr. Thira said.
Although drinking water is recommended for patients who cough in order to “ease the irritation”, he said, “it is not the way to prevent virus infections.”
As bizarre theories do the rounds of social media about the outbreak of the disease, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning against misinformation and the harm it can cause. Click here to view what the WHO says.
In India too, the government, epidemiologists, health experts, celebrities and influencers have gone to great lengths to spread awareness about the coronavirus pandemic which has already claimed thousands lives in India. But many in the country are still failing to take the pandemic or the related precautions being prescribed to avoid it seriously due to lack of proper information or messaging.