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Do not follow social media advice if you have tested positive for Covid-19

07 April 2020 - 15:16 By Suthentira Govender
Follow the advice of medical experts if you have contracted Covid-19 and not social media messages
Follow the advice of medical experts if you have contracted Covid-19 and not social media messages

Medical experts have warned that a widely-circulated WhatsApp message offering practical tips to people who have Covid-19, including eating high alkaline foods, may contain incorrect and misleading information.

The message - the origins of which are not known -  offers tips on how to prepare for infection, including medication recommendations like paracetamol, Vicks and cough mixture.

The message also suggests that infected patients wear gloves, which local doctors say could result in the spread of the coronavirus rather than offer protection.

Those who viewed the message expressed concern about the content, stating: "This is to inform us all that the ph level for coronavirus varies from 5.5 to 8.5. All we need to do to beat the coronavirus is take in more alkaline foods that are above the ph levels of the virus."

The message list fruits like lemon, lime, avocado and orange as those which provide protection.

Dr Anuschka Coovadia,  a facilitator for the free helpline Doctors on Call, said the message contained a mix of "good and bad info" and she did not regard it as credible.

Dr Naseeba Kathrada, a Durban-based doctor, said: "There are no specific treatments for Covid-19. We can only treat the symptoms.

"The way this message has been formulated seems to suggest these are treatments for the virus."


  • Rest and drink enough water/clear fluids during the day to make sure your urine stays a pale clear colour. 
  • If you are a chronic patient, ensure you have enough medication.
  • Isolate in a single room in your home and have as little contact as possible with family members.
  • Thoroughly and regularly sanitise your home, clothing and bedding. 
  • Eat foods that will help boost your immune system, like broccoli, berries, kale and fruits high in vitamin C.
  • There are no specific antiviral treatments recommended for coronavirus. Take over-the-counter medication to treat pain and fever.​
  • Try not to be anxious because this will affect your immunity.
  • Take deep breaths to reduce stress. 
  • Take a break from social media. Read a book instead.
  • Have your health-care provider's contact information on hand for emergencies - this could be you GP, local clinic or hospital.
  • Monitor your symptoms carefully. If they get worse call your health-care provider immediately
  • Wear a face mask if you travel to seek hospital care.
  • Avoid taking public transport. Either use private transport or call an ambulance. 

SOURCES: Dr Naseeba Kathrada and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases