Coronavirus myth: Separating the facts from the fakes

Coronavirus Global File photo

Mon, 18 May 2020 Source: Frank Kwabena Adu

It seems the COVID-19 has taken over the newsfeed in the world since the outbreak in Wuhan, China. Wherever you look; social media, TV, radio and at home everyone is talking about it. The situation is very unpredictable so check regularly for the latest news, with so many coronavirus related health stories, myths and rumours we all need to be aware of what is true and what is not.

Remember to always check the facts from the fakes, go to trustworthy sources like Public Health authorities or the World Health Organisation (WHO) or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to check any stories that might come up over the next few weeks.

World Health Organization (WHO) advice for the public on Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): 10 MythBusters

1. There are currently NO DRUGS licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19:

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). While several drug trials are ongoing, there is currently no proof that hydroxychloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent COVID-19. Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials. The misuse of hydroxychloroquine can cause serious side effects and illness and even lead to death.

WHO is presently helping to accelerate research and development efforts to develop and evaluate medicines to treat the COVID-19. However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, moreover, those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care.

2. Can EATING GARLIC help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

NO! Drinking boiled garlic water, which some posts have suggested, or eating garlic will not protect you from 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.

3. 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 1 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.

4. 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 cause 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 1 metre distance from others and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Clean your hands thoroughly and often and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

5. 5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19:

Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks. COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.

6. Drinking alcohol DOES NOT protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous to your health:

Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of health problems. Your hands are one of the main routes that viruses make their way from surfaces to your respiratory system, so keeping them clean is one of the most effective things you can do top stop yourself from contracting the virus.

7. 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 best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by 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.

8. 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. To protect yourself against COVID-19, disinfect objects and surfaces, especially the ones you touch regularly. You can use diluted bleach or alcohol for that. Make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

9. Are HAND DRYERS effective in killing the new coronavirus?

NO! Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

10. Thermal scanners CANNOT detect COVID-19

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature). They cannot detect people who are infected with COVID-19. There are many causes of fever. Call your healthcare provider if you need assistance or seek immediate medical care if you have a fever and live in an area with malaria or dengue.

Written by: Frank Kwabena Adu

The University of Health and Allied Sciences – SPH, Hohoe

Public Health (Disease Control)

Email: freepotash@gmail.com

Columnist: Frank Kwabena Adu