A medical worker comfort a patient who is suffering from Covid-19 at a hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts on January 13, 2021 ( AFP / Joseph Prezioso)

List of tips for fighting Covid-19 contains misleading advice

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Facebook posts list tips for battling a Covid-19 infection at home that are said to be from a "nurse friend." But medical experts say some of the advice is misguided or ineffective.

"WAYS TO FIGHT C*vid AT HOME," says a September 6, 2021 Facebook post that includes the series of tips.

Screenshot of a Facebook post taken on September 10, 2021

More examples of the post -- part of a deluge of inaccurate assertions about Covid-19 that have spread online during the pandemic -- appeared on Facebook here, here and here.

"Set your clock every two hours while sleeping... then get out of bed and walk for 15-30 min, no matter how tired or weak that you are," the posts say.

But Dr Clare Rock, an infectious disease physician and associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said that advice is problematic.

"Moving around is a good thing, but this concept of setting your clock every two hours... is not helpful," she said, calling it "ridiculous."

Rest is key to recovery, Rock said.

Dr Gregory Schrank, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, agreed.

Getting up to move overnight is not necessary, he said. Movement is good, but "sleep is important as well for recovery."

The posts also recommend taking vitamins "D3, C, B, Zinc," and "Probiotic One-Day."

Rock and Schrank both said that vitamins have not been shown to alleviate Covid-19 symptoms.

"A randomized controlled trial of zinc and/or vitamin C compared to placebo for patients with outpatient Covid-19 did not decrease the duration of symptoms," Schrank said.

According to Rock, vitamins are "not going to do any good, but they're not going to do any harm," as long as people are not overdosing.

AFP has fact-checked other claims about zinc and Covid-19 here, and more information about dietary supplements for people with the disease can be found here.

Taking aspirin every day, as the posts suggest, is not a good idea, the experts said.

Patients already taking aspirin daily for another condition should continue, said Rock, adding that she would not recommend for people to "start taking aspirin at home if they have Covid."

Schrank agreed, saying: "Aspirin should not be routinely taken for prevention of blood clots among outpatients with Covid-19 unless recommended and in consultation with a physician."