Baba ramdev

Explainer: Why the Supreme Court of India reprimanded Baba Ramdev

This is not a debate on “Allopathy vs Ayurveda”, but about finding a realistic solution for the problem of misleading medical advertisements. When a purported yoga and ayurveda expert, known to ridicule modern medicine, is reprimanded by the highest judicial court in the country, it makes for captivating news headlines. However, it’s only when you […]

sweet salad

Fact-check: Sweet salads don’t impact masculinity

The association of sweets with femininity has historically led to a stigma against male consumption of sweets. However, there is no evidence to support these claims. If a viral cartoon image being circulated on social media is to be believed, it’s important to keep men away from “sissy salads”. Sweetness and “masculinity”, supposedly, don’t go […]

Papaya-seeds

Fact-check: Papaya seeds not for contraception, inducing menstruation, or improving hormonal balance

Studies suggest that it’s best not to consume papaya seeds in any form. A viral video on Instagram claims that papaya seeds have myriad health benefits, including acting as a natural contraceptive, inducing menstruation, and reducing hormonal imbalance. However, there’s no scientific evidence to back any of these claims. While papayas are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and […]

Alkaline water

Fact-check: Alkaline water can’t cure liver and kidney failure

While there are several claims made about the health benefits of alkaline water, medical research has yielded mixed results. A viral video (in Hindi) on Facebook claims that alkaline water made from vegetables can cure liver and kidney failure as well as several gastrointestinal problems. The video, which has garnered over 30 million views, suggests mixing ginger, […]

malnutrition

Kwashiorkor 101: Severe malnutrition common in developing countries

Distinguished by a profound lack of protein, this condition leads to fluid retention and an enlarged, distended abdomen. It is characterised by a fatty liver. Kwashiorkor, a form of edematous malnutrition, is trending on the internet. Here’s a quick look at what the disease entails and some common myths associated with the condition. “Kwashiorkor represents […]

First Check Diaries by Tej Kumar

Have you heard of the condition where people find it hard to meet and interact with new people? It’s not about being shy or an introvert; the condition is called Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). As someone who has been coping with SAD for a while now, I was pleasantly surprised by my recent experience at […]

Fact-check: Home-made juices no antidote for H3N2 flu

With H3N2 cases on the rise, the internet is rife with rumours and misinformation. Can home remedies protect individuals from this virus? Can those with severe acute respiratory infections or influenza-like illnesses count on home-made juices and concoctions to fight the ailment? 

Fact-check: Omicron BA.5 not ‘fatal for the brain’ 

It’s been three years since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our lives, yet the deluge of misinformation about the coronavirus refuses to subside. Recently, some ‘news’ articles in India claimed that the Omicron BA.5 subvariant can be fatal for the brain. The claim caused public panic. 

Fact-check: Acupressure no remedy for common cold

It’s that time of year again when runny noses and sore throats are a common occurrence. While medical science is yet to find a cure for common cold, there’s no dearth of quick fixes on social media.

Fact-check: St. John’s wort not superior to antidepressants 

Depression is a common mental disorder that affects nearly 280 million people in the world, according to the World Health Organization. However, the stigma of the ailment, along with the many myths and misconceptions, deter patients from seeking timely care from qualified healthcare professionals.

Fact-check: Milk + lemon not an instant remedy for piles

Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, is a common health problem that can lead to immense pain and discomfort. Caused by swollen, enlarged veins that form inside and outside the anus and rectum, one’s risk of haemorrhoids increases with age as well as weight gain, especially during pregnancy.

Liver detox juice

Fact-check: Liver detoxes are futile

No super foods or special juices can detoxify a human liver. As the body’s natural detoxifier, the liver does not require any additional supplements to carry on with its normal function.

Fact-check: Monkeypox home remedies don’t hold water

There are multiple YouTube videos on home remedies for Monkeypox, comprising neem leaves, turmeric, ginger, cucumber, honey, corn starch and the like. However, there’s no scientific evidence to support these claims.

Fact-check: Mother’s milk no substitute for vaccines

Vaccines are the most useful and lifesaving inventions in medical history. Beware of baseless claims that try to create panic and spread unscientific views on vaccination. A viral WhatsApp forward claims that “mother’s milk, fresh air, good sleep, good organic food and adequate exercise” are the “only vaccine we need” to fight COVID-19 and monkeypox. The message […]

Monkeypox

Fact-check: Monkeypox is not a skin disease

A viral disease, monkeypox currently has no clinically proven cure – in allopathy or homeopathy. It is usually a self-limited ailment with symptoms lasting two to four weeks.

asthma

Fact-check: ‘Natural’ remedies can’t cure asthma

A YouTube video claiming that home-based remedies can provide a ‘natural’ cure for Asthma, in the case of adults as well as children, has garnered over 80K views. The video basically makes four misleading claims about ways to beat Asthma, a major noncommunicable disease, and the most common chronic disease among children.

skin cancer

Fact-check: Sunscreens don’t cause cancer

People use sunscreens to protect themselves from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays – the leading cause of skin cancers. An Instagram post, for instance, claims that sunscreens cause skin cancer as they block Vitamin D from the sun.

cancer 

Fact-check: ‘Green juice’ cannot cure cancer 

Juicing removes fiber from fruits and veggies; consuming them in a solid form is the healthier option. Fiber is known to be effective in preventing certain types of cancers, such as colon cancer.

Fact-check: Vaccinated people are not more likely to die of COVID-19

A viral tweet claims that “Government of Canada data shows the triple vaccinated are over 5x more likely to die of COVID-19 than the unvaccinated”. The tweet is based on an article from The Exposé, supposedly “run by extremely ordinary, hardworking people who are sick and tired of the fear-mongering, lies and propaganda perpetuated by the mainstream media”.

No home remedy to induce menstruation within an hour!

Given that irregular periods are a common challenge for many women, home remedies that claim to cure the problem are hugely popular. However, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that any such remedy can induce menstruation instantly.

migraine

Home remedies for migraine may not be effective

While tea is considered to be a go-to drink for coping with headaches, getting relief from migraine pain can be a challenge. It’s important to seek timely medical care.

lungs problem

Decoding the ‘COVID-19 lung’

A viral image circulating on social media platforms, demonstrating the difference between a ‘normal lung’ and ‘COVID-19 lung’, is causing much distress and panic. On Instagram, the image has 1000+ likes, so far. 

World Cancer Day: Spread facts, not fear

Every year 4th February is observed as World Cancer Day – a day to raise awareness and strengthen the fight against the global cancer epidemic. It’s also important to address the ever-growing misinformation about cancer on social media.

6 COVID-19 myths that refuse to die

A viral WhatsApp video, circulating in India, peddles old misleading claims about the coronavirus in an engaging way.

Beware of home remedies for asthma

While organic compositions of natural products, prepared under laboratory conditions, can complement the use of traditional drugs, homemade juices are unlikely to help one cope better with the chronic inflammatory disorder.

Heart Disease

No miracle cures for the heart

YouTube videos advocate easy, home-based remedies that not only promise complete cure, but also prevention of future heart problems. However, there’s little scientific evidence to support any of the claims.

Bottle gourd juice can be toxic

Research has established that consumption of bitter bottle gourd juice can be life-threatening. Yet the popularity of YouTube videos hailing the many virtues of the detox drink continues unabated.

Smokers beware: No quick fixes to detox the lungs

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Despite social media posts declaring that “lungs can be easily detoxed after smoking” with homemade remedies, there’s no scientific evidence to support the claims.

Bitter gourd juice

Bitter gourd juice cannot cure diabetes

Contrary to what viral YouTube videos claim, studies show that there could be adverse effects of consuming bitter gourd daily. Experts warn against the possibility of toxicity due to overconsumption.

Lemons are healthy, but they don’t cure cancer

Researchers have been studying anti-carcinogenic properties of limonoids in laboratories for years. However, they haven’t yet found any conclusive evidence to support its role in cancer treatment or prevention in humans.

COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines cannot be used to track people

Viral Facebook post in multiple South Asian languages falsely claims that Russian hackers now have access to the “exact GPS coordinates, sleep status, and more” of people vaccinated against COVID-19.

Debunking three controversial COVID-19 claims

A YouTube channel called ‘Unmask Express’ has been consistently making unscientific claims about the vaccines against COVID-19, RT-PCR tests and the existence of the coronavirus itself! First Check sets the record straight.

Honey and onion juice cannot cure asthma

There is no cure yet for asthma. However, inhaled medications can control the disease, unlike home remedies that offer symptomatic relief at best.

miscarriage

Cold drinks don’t lead to miscarriage in pregnant women

While studies show that carbonated, artificially-sweetened soft drinks are harmful in several ways, there’s no evidence to support claims made by a viral YouTube video about it causing miscarriage in women.

Remdesivir injections

Real vs fake Remdesivir injections: Know the difference

An injection named Covipri is circulating on social media, with many referring to it as the Remdesivir injection. Here’s all you need to know how to differentiate between real and fake Remdesivir injections

Covid-19 pandemic

Starting a steam inhalation drive will not end the pandemic

As India is witnessing a surge in cases, preventions and cures for Covid-19 are getting wide popularity on social media. We at First Check have received a WhatsApp message from multiple sources within a span of 4-5 days promoting and convincing people to start a steam inhalation initiative. It also urges people to forward the message twice or thrice daily.

HIV

This tonic of leaves cannot cure HIV

There is no scientific evidence to prove that a health drink made of Indian date leaves, sacred fig leaves, and Cynodon leaves can cure HIV

Covid-19

No, incense sticks do not ward off Covid-19

A popular YouTube channel claims that smouldering incense sticks can ward off coronavirus and that there is no need to get vaccinated for coronavirus as the positive energy from incense sticks can cure Covid-19. The claim is false and has no scientific evidence.

Coronavirus

Can red ant chutney cure Coronavirus?

Multiple Facebook posts claim that red ant chutney (sauce) is the divine medicine for coronavirus. We fact-checked the claim and found the origin of this statement. There is no scientific evidence yet to prove it as a possible cure.

COVID-19

No, six-minute walk is not a test for COVID-19

The recent misinformation trending on social media is the six-minute walk test which is performed by doctors on Covid patients to further evaluate the condition of heart and lungs.