FACTS ABOUT COVID-19 Coronavirus: Separating the Facts from the Myths
Despite the fact that scientists are still learning about COVID-19, there are few myths they can clearly debunk when it comes to the novel virus. Here are some basic myths about COVID-19 that have been debunked by the World Health Organization (WHO):
- Claim: Drinking alcohol protects you from COVID-19
Fact: Drinking alcohol does not protect you from COVID-19. Drinking alcohol can be dangerous. The harmful use of alcohol increases your risk of health problems.
- Claim: There are licensed drugs for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19
Fact: There are currently no drugs licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. The WHO states that there are several drugs undergoing clinical trials. However, there is no proof that any of them can prevent or treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine or any other drug for that matter has no proof in the cure and prevention of the virus. Misusing hydroxychloroquine can cause serious side effects and illness and may even lead to death. WHO is working at efforts to develop and evaluate medicines to treat COVID-19.
- Claim: COVID-19 can be transmitted through flies
Fact: Presently, there is no proof to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted through houseflies, because COVID-19 causing virus primarily spreads through the droplets that are generated from an infected person who sneezes, coughs or speaks. Touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands can cause you to become infected. Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
- Claim: Thermal Scanners can detect COVID-19
Fact: Thermal Scanners do not detect COVID-19 or people infected with COVID-19, but rather, are effective in detecting people who have fevers (higher than normal body temperatures). Fevers may have many causes and not necessarily be caused by COVID-19.
- Claim: Spraying and introducing bleach or other disinfectants into your body can protect you against COVID-19
Fact: Under no circumstances should you spray or ingest bleach or any other disinfectant into your body. These disinfectants can be poisonous if and when ingested and can cause irritation and damage to your skin or eyes. Bleach and other disinfectants should be used carefully and always kept out of reach of children.
- Claim: Drinking methanol or ethanol can prevent or cure COVID-19
Fact: Drinking methanol or ethanol are poisonous and can lead to disability or death. These chemicals are used in cleaning products which can kill the virus on surfaces, however they should not be drunk because they can be extremely dangerous. These chemicals will not kill the virus in your body but rather harm your internal organs.
- Claim: Exposing yourself to the hot, humid temperatures, sun or to temperatures higher than 25°Cdoes prevent the spread of COVID-19
Fact: You can catch COVID-19 no matter the weather condition. Countries with hot or humid temperatures or weather have reported cases of COVID-19.
- Claim: Holding your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort means you are free from the virus
Fact: Holding your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort does not mean you are free from the coronavirus or any other lung disease for that matter. Common symptoms of COVID-19 are a dry cough, tiredness and fever. Severe forms of the disease may manifest in the form of pneumonia in individuals; however, the best way to confirm if you have contracted the virus is through a lab test. Breathing exercises cannot confirm if you have contracted the disease.
- Claim: Taking a hot bath prevents you from catching COVID-19
Fact: Taking a hot bath does not prevent one from catching COVID-19, this is because the normal human body temperature ranges between 36.5°C to 37°C. This does not change no matter how hot or cold the temperature of your bath or shower water is, your body temperature remains within the above range and taking an extremely hot bath can be harmful.
- Claim: COVID-19 can be transmitted through mosquito bites
Fact: COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites.There is no scientific evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted through mosquitoes. It is rather a respiratory viruswhich according to the WHO are spread by infected person through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when they cough or sneeze. It is important to avoid close contact with anyone who has a cough or is sneezing.
- Claim: Hand dryers are effective in killing COVID-19
Fact: Hand dryers are not effective in killing COVID-19.Once you wash your hands clean, you are advised to dry them by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.
- Claim: Ultra-violet (UV) lamps can be used to disinfect hands or other areas of your skin
Fact: Ultra-violet (UV) lamps should not be used to disinfect the skin.This is because the light may damage your eyes and can cause skin irritation.
- Claim: Vaccines against pneumonia protect you against COVID-19
Fact: Pneumonia vaccines do not provide protection against the contraction of COVID-19. This is because COVID-19 is a new virus and researchers with the support of the WHO are now trying to develop such a vaccine. It is however recommended that one is vaccinated against other respiratory illnesses to protect one’s health.
- Claim: Regular rinsing of your nose with saline can prevent being infected with COVID-19
Fact: There is no evidence that regular rinsing of your nose with saline will protect you against COVID-19. Limited evidence shows that rinsing your nose with saline can help recover from the common cold but this does not prevent respiratory infections.
- Claim: Eating garlic can help prevent you from being infected with COVID-19
Fact: Garlic, though is a healthy food, there is no proof that eating garlic has protected anyone from contracting the virus.
- Claim: COVID-19 affects older people more than younger people.
Fact: People of all ages can be infected by COVID-19.However, people with pre-existing medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more vulnerable to the virus. The WHO asks that people of all ages should take steps to protect themselves from the virus.
- Claim: Antibiotics are effective in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19
Fact: Antibiotics are not meant to work against viruses but rather bacteria. COVID-19 is a virus and thus antibiotics cannot be used in the prevention or treatment of it. If you however, succumb to the virus and are hospitalized they may administer antibiotics to you because you may have a bacterial co-infection.
A Media Foundation for West Africa COVID-19 response project. Supported by STAR Ghana with funding from the UKAID and the European Union.