VERIFY: Can An Onion Absorb Bacteria And Prevent The Flu?

Verify: Onions

VERIFY QUESTION

Can an onion fight the flu?

That's what Good Morning Show reporter Maddie Gardner asked us to VERIFY after seeing a now-viral Facebook post

The post tells the tale of a bad flu season in 1919. A farming family supposedly stayed healthy by putting an unpeeled onion in a dish in the center room of their home. The onion supposedly absorbed the flu virus bacteria, so the family didn't get sick. When the doctor tested the onion, sure enough, it contained the flu bacteria.

VERIFY SOURCE

To VERIFY if this is true or an old wives tale, we consulted Dr. Carmen Robinson of Novant Health Clemmons Family Medicine.

VERIFY PROCESS

Dr. Robinson said, "This story circulates on social media every year! Many of these types of remedies have been passed down through oral tradition in families. To be clear, there is no reliable data that shows either ingestion of raw onion or presence of sliced onion will prevent the cold and flu."

She said she doesn't want to diminish the role culture and tradition play in illness prevention but reminds you to check with your primary care physician about home remedies before using them. 

Dr. Robinson acknowledged there is likely no harm in trying the onion trick, but it shouldn't be an alternative to evidence-based prevention, like the flu shot.

VERIFY CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we verified there is no reliable evidence to suggest putting an unpeeled onion in your room will fend off the flu. 

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Copyright 2017 WFMY


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