Debunking Common Myths About COVID-19
With coronavirus making headlines almost every day, we have seen a lot of theories and cures for the virus, circulating around as well. It is crucial, however, to sift through them all to weed out the facts and potential cures from the myths.
The world has witnessed much panic and chaos over the rapid spread of COVID-19, bringing it with a multitude of infected persons, a considerably worrisome amount of deaths, and an even larger amount of myths about coronavirus.
As a certified medical cure is yet to be reported, numerous myths about the disease and potential “cures” have been making the rounds on the internet, and have been instrumental in creating much confusion among the public.
Everything from random antibiotics, to avoiding exposure to household pets, to getting vaccinated against pneumonia – we have witnessed a surge in many such opinions, and today we take a look at some of them to help you in separating the facts from the myths.
Myths about Coronavirus – Busted!
Most of the myths revolving around COVID-19 have been debunked by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Here are a few of them:
Use of Miracle Minerals
Miracle Mineral Supplements or Solutions (MMS) are mainly used for killing viruses and bacteria in water, and claims have been made that it can help in treating/preventing coronavirus. On the contrary, MMS can bring about adverse effects and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States, has advised against the consumption of MMS due to the lack of research about the effectiveness of these supplements.
Garlic As Cure
This is probably the most popular myth revolving around coronavirus today, making people believe that consuming more garlic can help in the prevention/treatment of the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that there’s no doubt garlic has amazing antimicrobial properties, but that no medical evidence proves its effectiveness in fighting COVID-19 specifically.
Another mythical cure for COVID-19, is the consumption of colloidal silver, which can supposedly kill certain strains of coronavirus in about 12 hours. This particular myth about coronavirus does not only lack medical evidence, but it can also do more harm than good, posing very serious risks to your body such as seizures and kidney damage. The US health authorities have severely warned against the consumption of colloidal silver.
Avoiding Frozen Foods
There have been various social media posts and WhatsApp forward messages advising against the consumption of ice-cold items that can increase one’s vulnerability to the virus. While it’s true that ice creams and cold foods amplify the risk of catching flu, there’s no proof currently that COVID-19 also behaves in the same way as the flu virus does.
Increased consumption of Water to Keep the Throat Moist
We are all aware of the fact that drinking enough water throughout the day is important in staying healthy. However, this particular one among many myths about coronavirus – the consumption of water once every 15 minutes to wash away the virus – is totally untrue. If the coronavirus has entered your body, maintaining a moist throat is not going to help flush it out no matter how hard you try!
Getting vaccinated against pneumonia
While the WHO does not advice against getting vaccinated because it is still useful in keeping you away from flu and pneumonia—which in turn weakens the respiratory system—vaccines to prevent pneumonia will not work in avoiding COVID-19. The current strain of the coronavirus is new and requires a customised, specific well-developed vaccine to protect you against the infection.
Exposure to Sun
Although flu viruses do not generally thrive well in high temperatures, there has been no specific research on COVID-19 to state the same. Exposure to the sun is not currently believed to be helpful in the prevention or killing of the virus. The use of UV lamps on the skin, as some of us have been led to believe, is not advised and can further lead to burns and/or irritations.
Making your Own Hand Sanitiser
Due to the shortage of commercial alcohol-based hand sanitisers, we have seen a surge in DIY home-made concoctions. These products, however, are not as effective as medical-grade sanitisers as ingredients found in your pantry won’t suffice in killing viruses, as stated by Dr Sally Bloomfield. Further, even if you use chemical compounds, there’s an added possibility of getting the concentration wrong, which can either be too harsh or too mild for use. Research more if you are interested in making your own sanitiser and make sure the concoction has been backed by a legitimate health authority.
Dousing your Body with Chlorine, Alcohol or Sesame Oil
While chlorine and alcohol are good disinfectants for surfaces, it is yet another one of those myths about coronavirus that spraying them all over the body can kill/prevent the virus. Further, doing so can also be harmful to you. The effectiveness of sesame oil, in this regard, is not proven.
Pets as carriers of COVID-19
The myth that pets can spread COVID-19 has also been doing the rounds. It is always good to wash your hands with soap after touching your pets to stay safe from common bacteria. There is however no proof that coronavirus can be spread by domesticated animals and pets who live indoors in your homes.
All packages and mail from China, South Korea and Other Infected Countries are Unsafe
This myth has been debunked by the WHO, who noted that coronaviruses cannot survive on objects like packages and letters. Such myths not only cause panic but can also lead to the isolation of specific sections of people, who might hide their health conditions and avoid medical help in order to still stay connected to the world. This will only amplify the existing problem and may contribute to a skyrocketing number of cases.
Older People are More Vulnerable to the Virus
It is not true that older people are more susceptible to the new virus and it is unfortunate that the virus can affect everybody. We need to further take into consideration that those with prior medical conditions like diabetes, respiratory illness, heart disease, and cancer, are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Antibiotics Work against Coronavirus
While antibiotics are useful in fighting common viruses and bacteria, the WHO says that they are not effective in treating or preventing the novel coronavirus. Therefore, rather than blindly consuming antibiotics, you must visit the doctor immediately to obtain appropriate treatment for COVID-19.
Prevention and Care – What You Need to Know
Here are a few proven preventive measures instead of myths about coronavirus, that the govt urges that you and your family take in order to help all of you in the fight against COVID-19:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap or an alcohol hand rub for more than 20 seconds and dry them well.
- Avoid mingling with infected persons.
- Practise social distancing, and avoid large crowds and travel.
- Avoid handshakes/hugs when you meet people, as it can be a mode for potential transmission of the disease.
- Wear masks if you are unwell, and shower upon reaching home.
- Spot-clean your hands, legs and exposed parts of your body thoroughly if you are unable to take a bath.
- Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitisers when it is not possible to wash your hands.
- Cough or sneeze into a handkerchief/tissue or into a flexed arm.
- Regularly clean and sanitise your smartphones, laptops and other commonly used personal items to avoid the spread of germs/viruses.
- Boost your immunity with healthy food, ample hydration, regular exercise, safe health supplements, less stress and an appropriate amount of sleep.
In addition to these preventive steps, always stay alert. When symptoms persist, get yourself tested if you suspect that you have contracted the disease.