FALSE: Salt water steam can cure coronavirus

Claim: Inhaling the steam from boiled water with dissolved salt is an effective cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

A video on Facebook said that the steam from salt in boiling water can effectively eliminate the coronavirus inside the body. The video lasts 3 minutes and 37 seconds.

According to the video, a person can eliminate the coronavirus inside the body by doing the following: boil water in a pot, put 3 tablespoons of salt, stir until the salt dissolves. Then get a towel or blanket, enclose the body and the pot, then inhale the steam that comes from the boiled salt water.

At ang virus sa loob ng iyong katawan ay mamamatay at sasama sa paglabas ng iyong pawis. Mamamatay ang virus sa loob ng respiratory system mo dahil sa init na nilalanghap mo. Ang asin ang tumutulong bakbakin ang nakakapit na virus sa loob ng iyong ilong, bibig, at sa ibang bahagi ng iyong katawan,” the video said.

(And the virus inside your body will die and will come out from your body through your sweat. The virus inside your respiratory system will die  because of the heat that you inhale. The salt helps destroy the virus that's attached to your nose, mouth, and other parts of your body.)

A reader sent a link to a Facebook watch party of this video posted on Facebook group Raffy/Ben/Erwin tulfo brothers fans. Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool, also spotted several pages and accounts that posted the same video. The earliest was shared on March 27 by Facebook page Mga Trending.

Mga Trending’s post captioned the video: “Pinaka mabisang Paraan kontra COVID 19/Corona Virus (The most effective method against COVID-19/coronavirus).”

As of writing, Mga Trending’s video had over 11 million views, 467,000 shares, 233,000 reactions, and 12,000 comments.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: As of Tuesday, March 31, there is still no cure approved to treat the novel coronavirus, but there are treatments approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that may help ease the symptoms. Inhaling salt water steam is not among them.

Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) specifically said in its COVID-19 myth busters page that there is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from coronavirus infection.

“While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19,” WHO said.

The Department of Health (DOH) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also say that to date, there is no cure for the disease yet. (READ: What you need to know: Coronavirus cures, vaccines being tested)

There are ongoing clinical trials for specific drugs to treat COVID-19. On March 29, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were authorized by the US FDA for emergency use to treat COVID-19, but they are not considered official cure as of writing. (READ: PARTLY FALSE: U.S. FDA 'approves' hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment)

"While there are no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19, there are several FDA-approved treatments that may help ease the symptoms from a supportive care perspective," the FDA said in a statement.

As preventive measures, health authorities still recommend practicing proper hygiene by regularly washing hands and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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