A janitor pushes a cart in front of a novel coronavirus-related poster in Bangkok on August 20, 2020. (AFP / Mladen Antonov)

Medical experts say having a dry throat 'does not increase the risk' of infection

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

Multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Line messaging app claim that having a dry throat will cause germs to enter one’s body. The claim is false; the Thai Public Health Ministry denies it has ever issued such advice; medical experts say dry throat does not increase the risk of infection. 

This claim was published in this Facebook post on September 5, 2020. 

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post

Translated to English, the post’s lengthy Thai text partly reads: 
“Ministry of Health warned that this influenza is very serious.

“Prevention method: 
- Must maintain the throat’s membrane moisture
- Do not let your throat be dried, do not tolerate thirstiness, because if your throat membrane gets dry, germs will enter the body.
- When you feel thirsty, just drink water.”

A similar claim was published here, here and here on Facebook; here on Twitter as well as Line, as seen in the screenshot below:

The claim is false.

Dr. Suthat Chotanapan, director of the Bureau of Risk Communication and Health Behavior Development for the Ministry of Public Health, told AFP on September 15, 2020, that the ministry “has never announced this”. 

Having a dry throat “is irrelevant” to how humans are infected with germs, Dr. Thira Woratanarat, associate professor of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at Chulalongkorn University, also told AFP via telephone on September 15, 2020. 

“A dry throat doesn’t increase virus infections. Germs enter our body through cells, respiratory tract, passing through bronchia, and eventually lungs. Having a dry throat doesn’t increase all virus infections, including the COVID-19, and it’s not irrelevant,” Dr. Thira said. 

Although drinking water is recommended for patients who cough in order to “ease the irritation”, he said, “it is not the way to prevent virus infections.”

In this page, titled “How Infections Occur,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes no mention of “dry throat”.  

Below is a screenshot of the CDC’s website: 

Screenshot of the CDC’s website

 

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