July 20, 2024

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South Africa: False! Old Claim About Life-Saving Benefits of Drinking Hot Water Resurfaces in South Africa

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IN SHORT: Drinking water is good for you. But there is no evidence to support claims that hot water can cure various illnesses.

Drinking hot water can save your life, claims a message circulating on Facebook in South Africa since March 2024.

The message, written in Afrikaans, reads: “Dokters het bevestig dat warm water effektief is om gesondheidsprobleme te help verminder.” This translates to: “Doctors have confirmed that hot water is effective in helping reduce health problems.”

The message then lists the “health problems” that drinking hot water can supposedly “reduce”. These include life-threatening conditions such as high and low blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, epilepsy, high cholesterol, asthma and blocked arteries.

The message also claims that drinking cold water can cause heart attack, liver disease and cancer.

But is it sound health advice? We checked.

‘A palpable display of folly’

The claim has been circulating online for years.

A 2016 Instagram post, in English, begins with almost the same wording: “MEDICAL ALERTNESS. Dr. D. Mensah Asare BENEFITS OF WARM WATER. A group of Japanese Doctors confirmed that warm water is 100% effective in resolving some health problems.”

The claim was also posted online in 2017 and 2018. And it has been repeatedly debunked.

A 2020 report on health disinformation by Nigeria’s University of Lagos concluded: “Although water in itself is not harmful to the body, claiming that water is effective in resolving the listed diseases is misleading and may prevent people from seeking necessary medical attention.”

And a 2020 fact-check by Nigeria’s Centre for Investigative Reporting quoted Dr Femi Ajose of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital with a less polite opinion.

“This is a palpable display of folly,” he said.

“How will just one remedy be a panacea to various ailments? This is highly non-scientific and hence doesn’t hold water, at all. These are just some myths they sell to people to collect their hard-earned money.”

Drinking water is a healthy thing to do. But there’s no evidence that drinking water of any temperature can cure or cause serious illness.

By Africa Check

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