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Your Covid-19 questions answered

Can adding chillies to my food help prevent or fight Covid-19?

10 November 2021 - 07:00
Can chilli peppers help prevent Covid-19? Apparently not.
Can chilli peppers help prevent Covid-19? Apparently not.
Image: Nipah Dennis

As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, many have turned to nature to find a cure or way to ward off the coronavirus, but chilli peppers should not be one of them.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adding peppers to your food does not prevent nor cure Covid-19.

“Hot peppers in your food, though very tasty, cannot prevent nor cure Covid-19. The best way to protect yourself against the coronavirus is to stay at least 1m away from others and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

“It is also beneficial for your general health to maintain a balanced diet, stay well hydrated, exercise regularly and sleep well,” it advised.

The same goes for hot baths, which experts say cannot prevent you catching the coronavirus.

“Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching Covid-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Taking a bath in extremely hot water can be harmful as it can burn you.”

A similar warning was given for steaming. Inhaling steam can help open nasal passages and ease a stuffy nose, but experts have warned about the possible dangers it brings as a home remedy.

Dr Marlin McKay, who runs his own medical practice in Roodepoort, told TimesLIVE he recommends steaming in conjunction with other medicines and treatment.

“Steaming is very effective. I have never been a supporter of it, but having had Covid-19 and steamed three times a day, I found it a simple, cheap and effective tool for minimising symptoms and easing congestion. You sleep better and feel better.

“It has become one of my favourite tools to manage Covid-19,” he said.

In a statement last July the WHO in Africa said steam is not a safe treatment for the coronavirus.

“Steam inhalation does not cure Covid-19 and is not a safe treatment as it may cause serious burns. No matter how hot the steam is, it will not reach the virus present in the cells of the infected individual.”

This was repeated by Africa Check, which said the department of health includes several other preventive measures that are safer.

“In general, heat cannot prevent transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus or cure Covid-19. Public health authorities, including SA’s department of health, recommend taking preventive measures, including wearing a cloth face mask, regular handwashing and physical distancing from others.”