SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – The COVID-19 outbreak is a global pandemic, and with that comes a lot of false information on the internet.
There are many myths about COVID-19 that have been circulating through social media. Here are some of the most common ones, according to the World Health Organization.
Myth #1: Cold weather kills novel coronavirus
Truth: The CDC and the WHO have said this from the start: the most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is with frequent handwashing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. The WHO says there is “no reason to believe cold weather can kill the new coronavirus,” or other diseases, for that matter.
Myth #2: COVID-19 cannot be transmitted in hotter, more humid climates
Truth: Protective measures, like proper handwashing and social distancing, need to be taken no matter where you live. COVID-19 can be transmitted anywhere, regardless of how hot or humid the air is.
Myth #3: Taking a hot bath prevents you from getting COVID-19
Truth: This myth has been stemming from the false idea that cold and hot temperatures can kill the virus. Just like the cold weather and hot and humid climate myths, this is not true. Your body temperature stays relatively stable even when you take an extremely hot bath. This just leaves you at risk for a burn. Still, the best way to prevent getting COVID-19 is to wash your hands often. This prevents viruses on your hands from infecting you when you touch your face.
Myth #4: Coronavirus can be transmitted through mosquito bites
Truth: As temperatures continue to warm as we dive into spring, mosquitoes will become more common again in Western Massachusetts. That typically brings a risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus, but the increasing population of mosquitoes does not create another channel in which you can get COVID-19. From the WHO, “there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.” This is because the new coronavirus is spread primarily through droplets when someone with the coronavirus sneezes or coughs. This is why social distancing and frequent hand washing is so important.
Myth #5: Hand dryers are effective in killing the new coronavirus
Truth: The heat from a hand dryer alone is not enough to kill the new coronavirus. However, in combination with washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, this method is very effective. You can also dry your hands after using paper towels, or instead use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Myth #6: UV lamps kill the new coronavirus
Truth: It’s too soon to tell whether UV light is an effective way to kill the new coronavirus, and the World Health Organization does not suggest its use. It should especially not be used on hands or your body as it can cause irritation. UV light has been known to kill the flu virus, however.
Myth #7: Thermal scanners can detect everyone who is infected with coronavirus
Truth: Thermal scanners, like thermometers, can detect people who have a higher-than-normal body temperature due to infection from COVID-19. But not everyone who is infected with the coronavirus has a fever yet. According to the WHO, “it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.”
Myth #8: Spraying alcohol and chlorine all over yourself kills the coronavirus
Truth: This will not cure you of COVID-19 if it has already entered your body. Spraying alcohol and chlorine all over your body can be harmful if it gets into your eyes or mouth. The World Health Organization says they both can be used to disinfect surfaces, however.
Myth #9: Getting a pneumonia vaccine protects against COVID-19
Truth: The WHO says, “Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.” COVID-19 is a respiratory infection, yes, but it requires its own vaccine, which is in the testing phase right now.
Myth #10: Rinsing your nose and gargling with saline solution helps prevent COVID-19 infection
Truth: The World Health Organization says there is some evidence that regularly rinsing your nose with saline can help you get over the common cold more quickly. But this does not apply to COVID-19 and other respiratory infections. The same applies to gargling with a saline solution.
Myth #11: Eating garlic helps prevent COVID-19 infection
Truth: There is no scientific evidence that eating garlic prevents you from being infected with the novel coronavirus. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, it does have some antimicrobial properties.
Myth #12: The coronavirus only affects older people, not younger ones
Truth: The World Health Organization says people of all ages need to take steps to protect themselves from COVID-19. The best ways are frequent hand washing, the use of hand sanitizer, and social distancing. However, people who are older are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the new coronavirus. People with preexisting conditions are also at an increased risk for more severe complications, such as people with heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.
Myth #13: Antibiotics prevent and treat COVID-19
Truth: Antibiotics are used to fight bacteria, not viruses, which is what COVID-19 is. This myth may have stemmed from the fact some people who are hospitalized for coronavirus have received antibiotics, but that’s because bacterial “co-infections” are possible with COVID-19, according to the WHO. The antibiotic does not treat the virus itself.
Myth #14: There are medicines to prevent and treat coronavirus
Truth: The World Health Organization is helping with research and development efforts to find treatments for coronavirus, however, they are still under investigation, and must be tested through clinical trials. Right now, there is no medication recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19. You can use medication to relieve symptoms, but those with severe symptoms from coronavirus should seek help from a medical professional.