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TAMU doctor debunks coronavirus Facebook post, asks others to stop spreading misinformation

“I think the important thing is always just making sure that the information that your spreading even if it’s on social media is accurate."

BRYAN, Texas — With all the news circulating about coronavirus, social media can be a helpful tool when sharing the right sources. 

It’s when others claim to know how to handle the virus, spreading misinformation, that can lead to a big problem. 

“Just evaluate what you’re sending, because when you share that out there, if it’s got misinformation in it, that’s just kind of promoting the chaos,” said Dr. Jason McKnight, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Medicine and a physician for Texas A&M's Family Medicine Residency.

You’ve probably seen them by now, post after post shared on social media claiming to have virus prevention “tips” on coronavirus. One making the rounds, saying you can supposedly test yourself for coronavirus. 

“There’s the part about the morning cough. If you can take a deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds, then you’re in good shape. First off, the majority of people, if you wake up in the morning, you’re probably going to cough. That’s just normal physiology.”

Then there's the part about supposed lung fibrosis with corona virus, Dr. McKnight says that’s likely impossible with such a new illness.

“Lung fibrosis is something that in vast majority of cases takes years of chronic inflammation to develop. So a couple of days of this virus is not going to cause lung fibrosis. Also, the only way to diagnose lung fibrosis is through imaging studies like a cat scan or formal testing.”

Credit: KAGS

One of the other claims, involves drinking water every 15 minutes to push the virus to your stomach acids to kill it … while water is good for you on a general sense, Dr. McKnight clarified “the primary mechanism that this coronavirus is spread is through respiratory droplets. And so it’s mostly going to enter your body, some through your mouth, but the majority through the nose and through the airways. Drinking water or clearing your throat and your mouth is not really going to contribute to eliminating the virus from your body.”

Dr. McKnight also says stomach acid, contrary to what the post says, doesn’t kill most viruses. 

As far as the post’s claim about corona virus pneumonia having a dry cough with runny nose, “most respitory infections are usually going to have some degree of irritation of all of your airways. That includes your nose, your upper airways and your lungs. And so I wouldn’t say that oh, if you have a pneumonia, that’s more likely that’s due to coronavirus and you’re not going to have a stopped up nose with that,” he said.

“I think the important thing is always just making sure that the information that your spreading even if it’s on social media is accurate. And coming from an official agency whether it’s federal state or local.”

Dr. McKnight also says to be wary of second, third or even fourth hand information comes up on your timeline, because it’s likely to be changed. 

**NOTE** The post in question claimed to get their information from "a friend" in the Stanford Hospital board. 

The hospital themselves addressed the post, and said that information was not from them.

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