As the novel coronavirus outbreak has progressed over the last few months, a lot of rumors about the virus have also spread via WhatsApp and other social media platforms. Wrong information added to the current anxiety we all have, can, in fact, lead to more damage than help; which is why we bust some of the top myths surrounding the virus!
1. Only Olders and Children Can Get Infected
There was a rumor on the internet about how the coronavirus attacks only the people in the older age bracket and children under 10 years of age. However, this claim is false. Just like any other virus, coronavirus too is capable of affecting people of any age group. But older people and children under 10 have to be extra cautious because due to their weaker immune system they might get severely ill when infected by the virus. Older people tend to have other comorbidities too which can complicate their recovery from COVID-19.
2. Cats and Dogs Can Spread Coronavirus
Several domestic cats and dogs all over the world have tested positive for coronavirus after coming in contact with their sick owners. But these pets are only able to transmit the infection among the members of their own specie. According to WHO, no evidence has been found which can prove that the viral transmission can take place from cats and dogs to humans. However, it is still recommended that if you or your pet is sick with coronavirus then you should stay away from other pet owners and their companions for safety purposes.
3. It’s Just Like the Flu
Many people have been undermining the effects of SARS COVID-19 and are calling the virus – a normal flu virus. However, this is not true. SARS COVID-19 does have symptoms similar to that seen in flu such as aches, fever, and cough. Both flu and SARS coronavirus can be mild, severe, or fatal in certain cases and can even cause pneumonia. But the difference between the two is in terms of mortality rates. The SARS COVID-19 has a higher mortality rate as compared to the flu virus and that’s been worrying health care providers all over the world. Scientists are still researching to find out the reason why the coronavirus has been causing higher deaths all over the world.
4. Face Masks For Ultimate Protection
There is a huge variety of masks available in the markets today i.e disposable face masks, cloth face masks, N95 respirators, surgical masks, and cloth face masks. Out of these, the N95 respirators and surgical masks offer most protection and are reserved for healthcare providers. The general public normally wear disposable face masks. But these offer protection only against droplets and not against aerosolized particles. Hence when you’re out in public, it is important to follow the social distancing guidelines provided by the government and the CDC.
5. Hand Dryers can Kill Coronavirus
Hand dryers do not kill the coronavirus. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds to get rid of the virus. If soap and water are not available, then use alcohol-based hand sanitizers or hand rubs.
6. Disinfect Your Skin with Chlorine or Alcohol
Chlorine and alcohol can be extremely harmful for your skin especially if they come in contact with your eyes or your mouth. They’re good alternatives for disinfecting surfaces but they do not help kill any viruses on your body. Refrain from using these chemicals on your body.
7. Coronavirus or Common Cold Virus
Coronavirus is a group of viruses which have some spiky proteins on their surfaces. Viruses of this group which reside in human hosts, generally cause the common cold. But other coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2 generally infect animals. The SARS-CoV-2 managed to break the species barrier and spread from bats to humans.
8. Thermal Scanners can Help Detect Coronavirus
Thermal scanners can only detect the temperature of your body. High body temperature can result from other conditions such as seasonal flu, malaria, dengue, etc. Therefore high body temperature is not a parameter to detect coronavirus. Moreover, it takes about 14 days for a person infected with coronavirus to show any symptoms. Hence such asymptomatic people can have normal body temperature and still be infected with the virus.
9. Garlic Offers Protection against Coronavirus
No evidence is there to prove that garlic can offer protection against the coronavirus. There are studies which suggest that garlic helps to slow down the growth of certain bacteria but it has no effect on viruses. That being said, garlic does stimulate your immune system and can help it grow stronger.
10. Drinking Alcohol Reduces Risk of COVID-19 Infection
This myth started doing rounds last month when people thought that alcohol can help kill viruses inside of their bodies. However, this is not true. Alcohol can be used to disinfect your skin but it cannot kill any viruses inside your body. In fact, heavy drinking of alcohol can weaken your immune system and your ability to ward off infections.
11. Coronavirus is the Deadliest Virus Yet
This fact is not true because coronavirus is not the deadliest virus known to mankind. Its mortality rates are much lower than that of Ebola, Spanish Flu, etc.
12. Home Remedies can Cure Coronavirus
Unfortunately, home remedies cannot cure coronavirus. Home remedies such as chewing vitamin C tablets, eating fish oil, garlic, ginger, ‘kadha’ etc., cannot help cure coronavirus. However, these remedies will definitely boost your immunity and help you fight the infection better if you catch it.
13. Can you hold Your Breath for 10 Seconds?
Holding your breath for 10 seconds without any discomfort is not a parameter to diagnose coronavirus. Many young children can hold their breath for longer periods whereas older people cannot hold their breath for so long due to comorbidities. The only way to know for sure whether you have the infection or not is to get yourself tested for it.
14. Don’t Eat Meat because it can Cause Coronavirus
The novel coronavirus does not spread through chicken, mutton or fish. Avoiding meat will not reduce your risk of contracting the infection. The only way to protect yourself is by adhering to the government and CDC guidelines and practicing social distancing.
15. Is Public Water Supply Contaminated?
This is another baseless rumor which has been scaring people all over the world. According to scientists, no evidence has been established which can prove that public water supply has been contaminated with coronavirus. Hence there is no need to panic.
This was all about the myths surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. It is important to stay clear of incorrect information and keep yourself and your family protected in these difficult times.