There is nothing wrong with drinking water, but the advice that is circulating on how to protect against influenza is not from the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The advice, purportedly issued by MOH because "the influenza this time is serious", tells people to constantly sip water as "once your membrane in your throat is dried, the virus will invade into your body within 10 mins".
There is no truth to this, MOH said. "Keeping one's throat moist does not prevent influenza."
The poor grammar alone would have indicated that the message, which is making the rounds on WhatsApp and other platforms, is not from the ministry.
The message also says: "Till end of March, do not go to crowded places, wear mask as needed especially in train or public transportation."
It does not say why masks can be discarded from April.
When asked about the rest of the advice given in the fake message, MOH replied: Flu is spread mainly by droplets through an infected person coughing and sneezing.
The spokesman said there tends to be more flu going around from May to June, and November to January. She said: "It is therefore common to see an increase in influenza activity during these months, and we have seen an increase in influenza activity in the past four weeks."
To reduce the spread of the flu, people should:
• Wash their hands with soap before eating and after going to the toilet;
• Cover their mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away into a bin immediately;
• Stay home from work or school when sick, and wear a mask if going out; and
• Avoid sharing food and drinks, eating utensils, toothbrushes or towels with those who display symptoms of influenza.
The spokesman also advised that young children, pregnant women and the elderly be vaccinated against flu every year.