Coronavirus myths & reality

The world is right now under the grips of an unprecedented crisis – the SARS-COV-2 virus pandemic has spread to more than 180 countries and till date, killed close to 13000. Along with coronavirus, what has also spread as fast if not more is misinformation and false facts, primarily through WhatsApp. This article is an attempt by IPD to bust certain covid19 myths and spread real facts. All information is from World Health Organisation (WHO) and can also be accessed at WHO’s website.

Myth 1: coronavirus can only spread in cool climates.

Reality: Till date, there is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus only spreads in cold climates. It can and has spread to areas with hot and humid weather conditions.

Myth 2: extreme cold/snow can kill coronavirus

Reality: the temperature of a normal human body is between 35° & 37°C, regardless of external temperature. Even if it’s very cold outside, the virus can still survive inside the body.

Myth 3: taking hot water baths can kill the coronavirus

Reality: same as myth 2. Exposure to hot/warm water or temperature is not known to impact virus inside a human host

Myth 4: coronavirus can be spread through mosquito bites

Reality: covid19 spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. Till date there is no evidence that the new virus is transmitted through mosquitoes or any other animal vector.

Myth 5: hand dryers can kill coronavirus

Reality: till date, there is no evidence to suggest the above is true. The only thing that removes the virus from your body is washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and then drying properly.

Myth 6: ultra violet disinfection lamp can kill the coronavirus

Reality: no evidence so far to suggest it can. Moreover exposure to UV light could harm your health due to radiation.

Myth 7: thermal scanners can detect coronavirus

Reality: thermal scanners can detect people who have fever (higher than normal body temperature). But it cannot detect people who are infected but not yet showing symptoms. That is because the coronavirus takes 2-10 days to fully manifest symptoms.

Myth 8: spraying alcohol or chlorine on your body can kill the coronavirus

Reality: again, no evidence is present to support the above. Moreover, alcohol or chlorine can harm your eyes. Alcohol or chlorine may disinfect surfaces but should not be directly applied to human skin.

Myth 9: pneumonia vaccine can kill the coronavirus

Reality: the SARS Cov2 is a new strain of coronavirus that has as of now, no known vaccine that can kill it.

Myth 10: regular rinsing of nose with saline water helps protect you from coronavirus

Reality: while rinsing nose with saline water has been known to help patients recover quickly from common cold, it is not known so far to have any effect on the coronavirus.

Myth 11: consuming garlic helps ward off coronavirus

Reality: garlic is a natural remedy that is known to have positive effect on human immunity. However, there is no evidence from the current pandemic to suggest that garlic consumption can protect one from getting infected with coronavirus.

Myth 12: coronavirus only affects older people

Reality: while it is true that older people are found to be more vulnerable to the new coronavirus due to weaker immunity system, there is no reason to think that young people are immune to the virus. The new coronavirus can affect young and old equally.

Myth 13: antibiotics can cure coronavirus

Reality: antibiotics can treat and cure bacterial infections i.e. infections caused by bacteria. They have no effect on viral infections.

Myth 14: medicine has been discovered to fight coronavirus

Reality: clinical trials on humans of medicine to counter coronavirus has started in the US. However, we are in all probability several months away from commercial availability of such vaccine. In the meanwhile, vaccines of other respiratory diseases are likely to be somewhat effective in countering the coronavirus.

The ways of protecting yourself and your loved ones from the new coronavirus are following:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and then dry properly
  • Do not touch your face, eyes, mouth, nose with unclean hands
  • Clean objects of daily use like mobiles, keys, glasses, door handles etc with regular disinfectants or soap water. Research has shown that the new coronavirus can survive up to 72 Hours on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel
  • Stay at home as much as possible. Do not step out unless absolutely necessary
  • Do not spread false facts/rumors. If you want to know real facts, visit the website of the WHO or your central or state government
  • Follow government directives
  • If you show symptoms like dry cough, high fever, breathing difficulty etc. immediately seek medical attention

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