OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida commissioner is backpedaling and apologizing after he suggested during a public meeting that breathing in the heat from a hair dryer could kill the coronavirus.
Okeechobee County Commissioner Bryant Culpepper said during an emergency session on Friday that he saw a video that’s been circulating online claiming that the nasal passages are cool but if you can heat them up enough, “the virus just falls apart and disintegrates.”
“So you hold a blow dryer in front of your face and you inhale with your nose and it kills all the viruses in your nose,” Culpepper said. “That sounds like a simplified way of doing things but sometimes the cures for some of the diseases are very simple.”
Tiffany Collins, an administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Okeechobee, was also present at the emergency meeting and was quick to discredit Culpepper’s home remedy.
“There’s just a lot of misinformation on how to cure this disease and I personally would just leave that to your medical provider. I’ve heard so much just sad information about how to cure this virus,” Collins said.
Culpepper has since taken to social media to apologize for his remarks. A verbatim excerpt is pasted below.
“I am Heartfully Sorry for comments I made on Social Media. I was only trying to give comfort to those in Okeechobee who have no insurance to treat there families I should have ignored the comments that I perceived as hateful and the embarrassment I caused to my Fellow Commissioners and our Administrator And her staff,” Culpepper wrote.
According to the Associated Press, medical professionals have spoken out against the six-minute video circulating online inviting others to blow a hair dryer up their nose.
The false claim is one of many around the new virus that doctors are actively trying to debunk.
“False! Please don’t. Our nose carries bacteria, as part of normal flora. Those bacteria may get confused,” tweeted Faheem Younus, who specializes in infectious diseases at the University of Maryland.
The World Health Organization has said that hand dryers cannot kill the new coronavirus and noted that the virus can still be transmitted in hot and humid climates.
Dr. Jen Caudle, a family physician and associate professor at Rowan University in New Jersey, also confirmed that blowing hot air into a nose will not prevent or cure the new coronavirus.
“Depending on how hot the blow dryer gets, I would be concerned with some adverse effects,” she said.
Doctors like Younus and Caudle are using their social media platforms to debunk myths around the virus that has infected more than 200,000 worldwide.