News or Noise: Onions fight the flu?

January 24, 2018 11:52 PM

Last week, The New York State Department of Health announced influenza cases rose by 54% and more than 1,600 New Yorkers had been hospitalized with the flu.

An online post suggests four simple steps to fight the flu.  It reads that you should start with a whole yellow onion, chop off one end, place it on a small plate, and put the plate in the room you want.


The author of this post wrote, "I swear to you. These onions are like a vacuum sucking the dirt right off the floor, but sucking the viruses/bacteria right out of the air."

The onion trick is an old wives tale, dating back to medieval times. However, there's no scientific evidence to back up these claims.
Dr. Andrew Weil writes "Onions are good for us, but they have no magical powers to gather germs and prevent us from getting sick."

The New York State Department of Health recommends getting the flu shot and practicing good hand-hygiene:

  • Unlike some viruses, the flu is easily killed by soap and hot water.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not cough or sneeze into your hands.

Remember, people with the flu are infectious for up to 7 days after symptoms begin. So when you see this old wives tale floating around on social media, don't share it, because this one is all noise.  


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