More often then not, what worsens a situation like the current coronavirus pandemic are rumors circulating around it, spreading fake news, and diverting the focus from what is actually needed to be done. The current myth encroaching upon the fringes of this dire situation is how one can aid in “boosting” the immune system as this is the only way to beat COVID-19.

So, there is more than one way to amp up your immune system, or so say the rumors floating around. Like, how you can raise your white blood cell count by masturbating more, by adding foods rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and probiotics to your diet. Some of them even say that cayenne pepper and green tea have better chances of protecting you against COVID-19 instead of face masks, which have scientifically proven that chances of contracting respiratory viruses reduce by a factor of five if one wears them.

First of all, the very term “boosting immunity” stands on shaky grounds

As per Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University, the concept of “boosting” your immune system isn’t backed by scientific facts or findings.

“There are three different components to immunity,” said Iwasaki. “There’s things like skin, the airways and the mucus membranes that are there to begin with, and they provide a barrier to infection. But once the virus gets past these defenses, then you have to induce the ‘innate’ immune response.”

“When that is not enough, then we kick in the adaptive immune system,” she added. The system she describes includes the induced production of antibodies, through the administration of a vaccine, which is again selective in the pathogens they will target. “So, for example, a T-cell specific to COVID-19 will not respond to influenza or bacterial pathogens.”

So, this means that neither multivitamins like vitamin C, green tea, probiotics, etc won’t really aid you much in “boosting” your immune system.

“Vitamin supplements aren’t beneficial to your immune system unless you are deficient,” said Iwasaki. But even though, following these myths won’t have any severe consequences, it may create a false sense of security, something Iwasaki is more afraid of. “One thing I do warn against is when people feel like they're protected. They shouldn't feel empowered to go out there and, you know, start having parties,” she explained.

Find here when and where the National Association of County and City Health Officials, will discuss how county and city health officials across the country are preparing for the coronavirus at a National Press Club Newsmaker event. Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

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