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Myths About Coronavirus: From 5G Network To Exposure To High Temperature, Here Are Some COVID-19 Mythbusters From WHO

One factor making it difficult for medical experts in tackling the pandemic of novel coronavirus is misinformation and myths surrounding this outbreak which has claimed over one lakh lives worldwide

There are more than 400 scientists working across the globe to find correct information on COVID-19, says WHO
Highlights
  • Coronavirus has infected over 1.5 million people globally
  • WHO declared it a global pandemic and also termed it an infodemic
  • Misinformation about COVID-19 is a big challenge all over the world

New Delhi: Ever since the first case of Novel Coronavirus was confirmed in China’s Wuhan on December 31, 2019, the deadly virus has claimed close to one lakh lives globally as of April 10 (5 pm). Scientists and medical experts have repeatedly stressed on the fact that since it is a new virus, we may have limited information available to combat its consequences and more importantly new information may alter things that we do know currently. However, the one factor that has gone on to become a major challenge in fighting the COVID-19 according to the experts is – misinformation. Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, World Health Organization’s (WHO) Head of Outbreak Investigation Task Force, noted in a recent Instagram live Q&A session with actor Priyanka Chopra,

There is just way too many myths and misinformation floating around making it difficult for us to explain to people that there’s still no medication and all they can do right now is practice social distance and wash their hands regularly. There are more than 400 scientists working across the globe to find relevant information on this pandemic and then there’s misinformation being spread, making it difficult for us to get the correct information across.

To combat myths and misinformation, WHO has a dedicated webpage that precisely busts myths that are widely being spread about the novel coronavirus.

Here are some Myths vs Facts About Coronavirus From WHO:

Myth: 5G mobile networks do not spread COVID-19

Fact: Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks. COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then immediately touching their eyes, mouth or nose, without washing their hands.

Also Read: No Need To Panic Over Availability Of Personal Protective Equipment: Health Ministry

Myth: Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25°C degrees prevents the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Fact: You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19. To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

Myth: Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort means you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or any other lung disease.

Fact: The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you are infected with the virus causing COVID-19 is a laboratory test. You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.

Myth: Drinking alcohol protects you against COVID-19

Fact: Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of health problems.

Myth: COVID-19 virus cannot be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates

Fact: From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in all areas, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

Also Read: 1 COVID-19 Patient Can Infect 406 People In 30 Days If He Doesn’t Follow Lockdown, Social Distancing Norms: ICMR Study

Myth: Cold weather and snow can kill the new coronavirus.

Fact: There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

Myth: Taking a hot bath prevents the novel coronavirus infection

Fact: Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

Myth: The new coronavirus can be transmitted through mosquito bites

Fact: To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

Also Read: Google To Publish User Location Data To Help Governments Tackle Coronavirus

Myth: Hand dryers are effective in killing the new coronavirus

Fact: No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

Myth: Ultraviolet disinfection lamp kills the new coronavirus

Fact: UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

Myth: Thermal scanners are ineffective in detecting people infected with the novel coronavirus

Fact: Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus. However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

Myth: Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body can kill the new coronavirus

Fact: No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

Also Read: More Than 30,000 Doctors Volunteer To Join Fight Against COVID-19

Myth: Vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus

Fact: No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts. Although these existing vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

Myth: Regularly rinsing your nose with saline helps prevent COVID-19 infection

Fact: No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from getting infected with the new coronavirus. There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

Myth: Eating garlic can help prevent the new coronavirus infection

Fact: Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.

Also Read: Chhattisgarh Self Help Groups Make Face Masks, Sanitisers To Tackle Shortage Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Myth: Novel Coronavirus infects older people than younger people 

Fact: People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

Myth: Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus

Fact: No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

Myth: There are medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus

Fact: To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range of partners.

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