TFC weekly monitoring report, Jun 5- 11, 2023: A week of health-related rumors

TFC weekly monitoring report, Jun 5- 11, 2023: A week of health-related rumors


Misinformation circulated in the past week mainly revolved around the pandemic, scams, health, and daily life. These types of messages pique people's curiosity and are often shared widely, but they are misleading and cause unnecessary worry. 

Exaggerated and inaccurate health-related rumors

With the weather getting hotter, there was a rumor claiming that drinking ice water or taking cold showers could lead to a stroke. When interviewed, doctors explained that for individuals with cardiovascular diseases, drastic temperature changes might pose some health risks. However, drinking a small amount of ice water does not carry a fatal risk. For generally healthy individuals, drinking cold water on hot days does not pose significant harm either. This rumor lacks scientific basis.

As for taking cold showers, doctors clarified that rinsing hands and feet to cool them down is a localized cooling process. Hands and feet are relatively peripheral parts of the body, and there is no immediate life-threatening danger associated with rinsing them. However, individuals with cardiovascular diseases should avoid drastic temperature changes and refrain from taking full-body cold showers or immersing themselves in cold water immediately after exposure to intense sunlight.

Fruits misinformation 

The TFC has dealt with two claims about fruits in the past week. One claim involved a TikTok video falsely claiming that the needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals in pineapples make mouths tingle. The calcium oxalate crystals shown in the video appear significantly larger than they are, to the point where the naked eye cannot discern them.

Regarding the tingly tongue caused by pineapples, the most common explanation is that the pineapple enzyme breaks down proteins in the oral mucosa, leading to a tingly burning sensation. The presence of needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals may enhance this sensation. However, pineapple enzymes' activity could be reduced due to heating, soaking in saltwater, or genetic modifications, and do not make the mouth tingle.

Here is our fact-check.

Another viral internet video claims that "drinking alcohol within 24 hours after eating durian can be fatal."  

Yes, certain components in durian may affect alcohol metabolism, resulting in alcohol intoxication-like symptoms, according to experts; however, currently, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support that drinking alcohol after consuming durian poses health risks. 

Screenshot of the video circulated on LINE.

Amusing and absurd fart falsehood

Another widely circulated video in the past week purported to show " a mobile phone explosion caused by farts." We found out that the explosion event in the original video was caused by a power bank and had no connection whatsoever with farts. Check our fact-check for more details. 

The screenshot of the viral explosion video.