Please Don't Stick a Hairdryer up Your Nose, And Other Things That Should Go Without Saying
Even in the best of circumstances, it is generally not a good idea to believe everything one is told or reads in an email forward. During a pandemic, it actually gets dangerous. It can lead to people panicking in unsafe ways, being too calm in unsafe ways, and, apparently, even sticking a hair dryer up their nose in an unsafe way. Not that there is really a good way to do that.
In a meeting this past Friday, county commissioner Bryant Culpepper of Okeechobee, Florida, explained that, actually, curing the coronavirus was very easy, because One America News Network — a very, shall we say, Trump-friendly media outlet — ran a segment claiming that all that was necessary to do so was to blowdry one's face.
"One of the things that was pointed out in this interview with one of the foremost doctors who has studied the coronavirus said that the nasal passages and the nasal membranes are the coolest part of the body. That's why the virus tends to go there until it then becomes healthy enough to go into the lungs.
"This sound really goofy, and it did to me too, but it works," he explained. "Once the temperature reaches 136 degrees Fahrenheit, the virus falls apart, it disintegrates.
"I said how would you get the temperature up to 136 degrees? The answer was you use a blow dryer. You hold a blow dryer up to your face and you inhale through your nose and it kills all the viruses in your nose.
"So that sounds like a really simplified way of doing things, but sometimes the cures for these diseases are very simple.
"Also, if you are worried about it going into your lungs, because that's where it goes to turn into pneumonia, you can put a pan of water on the stove until it turns into steam and inhale it. It sounds too easy, but at this point, it's worth trying," he continued.
As you have probably guessed, not a damn word of this is true. Also, blowdrying your face is not a great idea. There could be all kinds of gunk in your hair dryer and also you could burn yourself or your nose hairs. Also, this is stupid. It's so, so stupid. And sure, we'd all love to be surprised that anyone believes it, but we also know that Donald Trump is president, people believe that all of the celebrities are getting high off of children's adrenal glands and that someone, somewhere, must be making a fuckton of money off of all those "One Weird Trick" advertisements.
America tends to have a bit of an anti-intellectual bent, and as a result of that, there are a lot of people here who really would kind of like the idea of a "local mom" outsmarting all of those fancy dancy highfalutin dermatologists out there with her one weird trick that keeps her looking like she is 25 forever. There are a lot of people who want to think that "sometimes the cures for these diseases are very simple."
Recently, I was the recipient of an email forward made of lies.
Subject: Fwd: Corona virus info sent by a reliable friend
Friends, this is from Bill Volantis who is a member of the Stanford hospital board. This is their feedback for now on Corona virus: The new Corona virus may not show a sign of infection for many days. How can one know if he/she is infected? By the time they have fever and/or cough and go to the hospital, the lung is usually 50% Fibrosis and it's too late. Taiwan experts provide a simple self-check that each of us can do every morning. Take a deep breath and hold your breath for more than 10 seconds. If you complete it successfully without coughing, without discomfort, stiffness or tightness, etc., it proves there is no Fibrosis in the lungs, basically indicates no infection. In critical time, please self-check every morning in an environment with clean air.
Also, there is some serious excellent advice by Japanese doctors treating COVID-19 cases: Everyone should ensure your mouth & throat are moist, never dry. Take a few sips of water every 15 minutes at least. Why? Even if the virus gets into your mouth, drinking water or other liquids will wash them down through your throat and into the stomach. Once there, your stomach acid will kill most, if not all the virus. If you don't drink enough water more regularly, the virus can enter your windpipe and into the lungs. That's very dangerous.
Bill Volantis is not only not a member of the Stanford hospital board, he is not even a person. I was unable to find a record of anyone named Bill or William Volantis anywhere. Volantis is, however, the name of a city in the Game of Thrones universe. The breath check thing? Not true. The drinking water every 15 minutes thing? Also not true. Later on in the email, "Volantis" asserts that the virus will die as soon as warm weather comes around (in reality, scientists don't really know right now) and that gargling will help, which it won't. Literally none of this stuff is true, but it's obviously going around to a whole bunch of people who think they are getting info on the sly from a "very reliable friend" who is, for some reason, only disseminating this vital information through email forwards.
Another thing being touted as a cure is garlic.
Think about that for a moment. Italy currently has the highest rate of coronavirus in the world. If garlic prevented or cured coronavirus, would that be the case? Come on now.
This is a really, really difficult thing we are all going through right now. It's understandable that a lot of people want to believe that there is an easy solution to all of this. Hell, I think we'd all love it if it turned out that the "mainstream media" and all those hoity toity ... epidemiologists were all lying to us and all anyone had to do to get rid of this very scary virus was to click our heels three times and say "There's no place like any place other than my home" while sticking a hairdryer up our noses. That would be awesome. But it is almost definitely not true, and people believing it's true can lead to them acting irresponsibly and putting us all in danger.
Whatever the cure is for this, it's not going to be magical or simple and it's probably not going to piss off any dermatologists. For now, just stay the fuck home, keep washing your hands, and don't put any hairdryers up your nose. Feel free to eat all of the garlic though, on account of how it is delicious.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse