WHO: Coronavirus myths and facts

World

Published: 2020-07-04 11:09

Last Updated: 2020-07-04 11:15


WHO: Coronavirus myths and facts
WHO: Coronavirus myths and facts

The World Health Organization issued an article busting myths on COVID-19, and advising the public on the safest preventive measures.

Can people wear masks while exercising?

People should NOT wear masks when exercising as masks may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably.
Sweat can make the mask become wet more quickly which makes it difficult to breathe and promotes the growth of microorganisms. The important preventive measure during exercise is to maintain physical distance of at least one metre from others.

Can shoes spread the COVID-19 virus?

The likelihood of COVID-19 being spread on shoes and infecting individuals is very low. As a precautionary measure, particularly in homes where infants and small children crawl or play on floors, consider leaving your shoes at the entrance of your home, to help prevent contact with dirt or any waste that could be carried on the soles of shoes.

FACT: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus. NOT by bacteria.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is in a family of viruses called Coronaviridae. Antibiotics do not work against viruses.

Some people who become ill with COVID-19 can also develop a bacterial infection as a complication. In this case, antibiotics may be recommended by a healthcare provider.

There is currently no licensed medication to cure COVID-19. If you have symptoms, call your healthcare provider or COVID-19 hotline for assistance.

The prolonged use of medical masks* when properly worn, DOES NOT cause CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency.
The prolonged use of medical masks can be uncomfortable. However, it does not lead to CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency. While wearing a medical mask, make sure it fits properly and that it is tight enough to allow you to breathe normally. Do not reuse a disposable mask and always change it as soon as it gets damp.

* Medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are flat or pleated; they are affixed to the head with straps or have ear loops.

Most people who get COVID-19 recover from it

Most people who get COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms and can recover thanks to supportive care. If you have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Call your health facility by telephone first.

Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous

The harmful use of alcohol increases your risk of health problems.

Thermal scanners CANNOT detect COVID-19.

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting a high body temperature which can indicate a fever. They cannot detect people who are infected with COVID-19. There are many causes of fever.

There are currently no drugs licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.

While several drug trials are ongoing, there is currently no proof that hydroxychloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent COVID-19. The misuse of hydroxychloroquine can cause serious side effects and illness, and even lead to death. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop and evaluate medicines to treat COVID-19.

FACT: Adding pepper to your soup or other meals DOES NOT prevent or cure COVID-19

Hot peppers in your food, though very tasty, cannot prevent or cure COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is to keep at least one metre away from others and to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. It is also beneficial for your general health to maintain a balanced diet, stay well hydrated, exercise regularly and sleep well.

COVID-19 IS NOT transmitted through houseflies

To date, there is no evidence or information to suggest that the COVID-19 virus transmitted through houseflies. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. You can also become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands. To protect yourself, keep at least a one metre distance from others and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces. Clean your hands thoroughly and often and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

FACT: Spraying and introducing bleach or another disinfectant into your body WILL NOT protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous

Do not under any circumstance spray or introduce bleach or any other disinfectant into your body. These substances can be poisonous if ingested and cause irritation and damage to your skin and eyes.

Bleach and disinfectant should be used carefully to disinfect surfaces only. Remember to keep chlorine (bleach) and other disinfectants out of reach of children.

Drinking methanol, ethanol or bleach DOES NOT prevent or cure COVID-19 and can be extremely dangerous.
Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are poisons. Drinking them can lead to disability and death. Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are sometimes used in cleaning products to kill the virus on surfaces – however you should never drink them. They will not kill the virus in your body and they will harm your internal organs.

5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19

Viruses cannot travel on radio waves or mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.

Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees DOES NOT prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19.

You can recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Catching coronavirus DOES NOT mean you will have it for life.

Most of the people who catch COVID-19 can recover and eliminate the virus from their bodies. If you catch the disease, make sure you treat your symptoms. If you have cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early – but call your health facility by telephone first. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or any other lung disease.

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 have the virus producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test. You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates

The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by maintaining physical distance of at least one metre from others and 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.

Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus

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.

Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease

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 new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites

To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest the coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.

Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

Ultra-violet (UV) lamps should not be used to disinfect hands or other areas of your skin.

UV radiation can cause skin irritation and damage your eyes.

Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?

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 vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

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.

Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?

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.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

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.

Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

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.