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Coronavirus myths: Here are 12 most common misconceptions busted

WHO has now come out with several myth busters to break the chain of fake information and theories being built around the virus

Sukanya Roy  |  New Delhi 

Often you come across several messages on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, etc, informing you about the novel — what you should do and what not to stay safe. But are they all legit? There seems to be a lot of myth being floated around the pandemic. The recently busted some of those myths.

Let's look at some of the most common misconceptions...

1. Can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climate?

From the evidence so far, Covid-19 can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including hot and humid regions.

2. Does taking a hot bath prevent disease?

Taking a hot bath will not prevent catching Coronavirus. In fact, taking a very hot water bath may burn you. The best you can do to protect yourself is by frequently cleaning your hands. Also, avoid close contact with anyone has a cough and cold.

3. Can coronavirus be transmitted through mosquito bites?

To date, there has been no information or 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.

4. Are hand dryers effective in killing the coronavirus?

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

5. How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with coronavirus?

Thermal scanners are effective only in detecting people have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature).

They cannot detect people are infected but 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.

6. Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill coronavirus?

No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. On the contrary, spraying such substances can be harmful to your clothes and mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth).

7. Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against coronavirus?

No. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against coronavirus, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

8. Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent coronavirus infection?

No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from coronavirus infections.

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 the infection.

9. Can eating garlic be helpful?

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence that eating garlic has protected people from the infection.

10. Does coronavirus affect only the elderly or are the young also susceptible?

People of all ages can be infected by coronavirus. However, 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.

11. Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating coronavirus?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses; they are good only against bacteria. The Covid-19 infection occuers due to a virus, so antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalised for a Coronavirus infection, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

12. Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat coronavirus?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat coronavirus.

However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimised supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping accelerate research & development efforts with a range of partners.

First Published: Tue, March 17 2020. 19:21 IST
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