A man waits for his coffee in front a bar, open only for take away service, in Rome's centre on April 29, 2020 during the country's lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (AFP / Vincenzo Pinto)

WHO warns against self-medicating for COVID-19 with aspirin, lemon juice and honey 'remedy'

Multiple Facebook posts claim that aspirin, lemon juice and honey have been combined to make a "home remedy" for COVID-19 in Italy. The claim is misleading; the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against self-medicating for COVID-19, saying there is no current medicine that can effectively treat the disease; official guidance released by the Italian Ministry of Health about the coronavirus does not mention the purported home remedy.

This Facebook post shared the claim on April 27, 2020.

Below is a screenshot of the misleading post:

Screenshot of Facebook post

The post states: "Italy finds home remedy for Covid'19 / 500gms aspirin dissolved with lemon juice boiled with honey, it is taken hot.”

According to WHO data published on April 29, 2020, Italy has been among the countries worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with at least 27,359 deaths and 201,505 confirmed cases.

A similar claim was also shared in lengthier Facebook posts here, here, here and here

The claim is misleading.

“WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19,” a spokesperson for WHO Philippines told AFP in an email on April 29, 2020.

“While some home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease.”

This COVID-19 guidance released by Italy’s Ministry of Health makes no reference to the purported home remedy.

The ministry’s general advice for those with suspected or confirmed infections reads: “The sick person must rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food, and wear a surgical mask that needs to be changed every day. If he/she does not tolerate the mask, he/she must adopt a strict respiratory hygiene: cover his/her mouth and nose with a disposable paper tissue/handkerchief when he/she coughs or sneezes and throw it away immediately, or wash it after use, wash his/her hands with soap and water or with hydroalcoholic solution.”