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Brandt’s Rants: Drinking Urine and Other Tales of Misinforma… : Emergency Medicine News


medical misinformation, social media


We may disagree on the medical details, but we can all agree that the best way to treat the disease is to watch random posts on Facebook and Twitter. OK, maybe not, but we know that the onslaught of overconfident misinformation whistleblowers has grown exponentially since social media entered the fray. Whether we turn to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the first eight spaces of your Myspace account, misinformation spreads around the world before the truth can remember its password.

I’d hazard a guess that pandemic stress and a continued influx of work into your lives haven’t given you enough time to scour Twitter for current home treatment healing trends. I’m here for you, and after hours of what I’ll call searching, I’ve found the answer that’s been hiding in plain sight this whole time.

This miraculous panacea will leave you speechless (that’s a word). It softens the skin, soothes indigestion and eliminates migraines. Not only that, it relieves asthma, crushes cancer and can even relieve arthritis. It slices, it dices, and it even makes julienne fries. More importantly, according to users, it can completely cure and prevent anyone from getting COVID-19. Yes, this amazing therapy is a preventive and curative wonder. I may feel skeptical there, but you can’t argue with the results! So what is this phenomenal treatment hiding in plain sight?

You guessed it: urine! Good old-fashioned peeing is the key to good health. Well, at least according to a terrifying number of participants on social media. What is that? Thought diet and exercise could improve your health? Pssh, no. My urea-conscious friends have informed me that the answer lies not in what you put in yourself, but in what you push out. Then after it’s out, you put it back in again. I did not invent. You may not know that I’ve been recommending Dr. B’s Curative Golden Sunshine for years at $50 a glass, but no one has bought it. (It’s actually just orange juice, you weirdos.)

Urinary luck

People have fallen in love with urine. The current trend is for aged urine, where you leave your pee for a period of time before consuming it. Yes, it sounds gross, but I decided I shouldn’t judge until I looked deeper to see if it could actually have any benefits. I looked for definitive proof. So… I couldn’t find any definitive proof. I have however found many personal testimonials of how it has helped.

So what’s the point? First, some people can’t be convinced that drinking a week’s urine isn’t a magic cure for every known disease. Second, misinformation is dangerous.

Many thought at the start of the pandemic that hydroxychloroquine was a possible treatment. We didn’t have much to do at the time and little to lose by trying. We found over time, practice and research that it did little. Science disproved its effectiveness, so we moved on, right? Ha, of course not! Doctors tried to explain that taking massive doses of this would be nothing more than a placebo, but the misinformation train kept on rolling.

Ivermectin seemed to have healing properties. This also turned out to be wrong. Unfortunately, and predictably, a lot of misinformation has flooded the internet about this drug, and online arguments about its effectiveness continue. The vaccine was eventually proven to have a significant benefit in reducing morbidity and mortality, but the anti-vaccine movements quickly spread lies.

People have also claimed that the vaccine causes magnetism. Others said it contained microchips, while some suggested Big Pharma created a COVID-19 hoax as a marketing ploy to sell more hand sanitizer. I have heard people say that no one should ever wear a mask due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Yes, monoxide. Yes I know.

Calling out misinformation

Remedies for online misinformation vary from garlic to cocaine to coconuts. It is deeply rooted and the scientific community has been a confusing hodgepodge of disconnection and fury while trying to pick up the pieces. This breeds frustration for everyone except those who sell placebos and cure-alls at exorbitant prices.

We now have frustrated doctors trying to educate annoyed patients trying to decipher what the truth is from a multitude of sources. Some sources contain the truth, some are mixed up, and some are blatantly false and potentially dangerous.

How to fight misinformation? Unfortunately, with great difficulty. Consistent, well-informed messaging helps. Double-check to make sure what you’re explaining (and posting online) is actually factual. Call out misinformation. Also try not to engage with trolls who just like to piss people off. This is all easy to say and often hard to do, but if it doesn’t work, maybe you could offer a glass of Dr. B’s Curative Golden Sunshine.

Dr Brandtis an emergency physician currently working in New Zealand (after 12 years in Michigan). Read his blog and other articles on, follow him on Twitter@brandtwriting, and listen to his ED comedy podcast, “EpineFriends,” which can be found on read his past REM columns to