COVID-19 myths clarified

There is so much information about COVID-19 on the internet that it has become overwhelming for some. It does not help that very little is known about this new virus, and there is new information discovered almost every day. Some of the information out there may also be simply not true. Here are some COVID-19 myths that have been disproven by the World Health Organization, or WHO:

An infographic from the World Health Organization provides information to counteract myths about COVID-19. Graphic courtesy of the World Health Organization.

There is circulation on the internet that COVID-19 cannot survive in hot and humid, snow or very cold weather. However, WHO states that the virus can survive and be transmitted in all types of weather.

Taking a hot bath does not prevent one from catching COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes. By doing this, viruses are eliminated from your hands as much as possible.

COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites. It is transmitted through droplets from coughs or sneezes, as it is a respiratory illness.

Hand dryers will not kill the virus, nor will ultraviolet light. The best defense is, once again, washing your hands frequently. Hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available. The Center for Disease Control, or CDC, recommends through scientific data that the needed concentration for hand sanitizer must be 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol, the active ingredients in CDC-recommended alcohol-based sanitizer, to kill viruses with similar genetic makeup as COVID-19.

Thermal thermometer scanners do not detect whether a person has COVID-19. They can only detect if a person has a fever, which is a symptom of COVID-19. Even then, someone infected may be asymptomatic or show no symptoms.

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. These substances can disinfect surfaces, such as countertops or doorknobs, when used properly. They can be harmful to humans, especially mucous membranes and skin.

- Advertisement -

Vaccines that protect against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not protect against COVID-19. This virus is new and requires a new vaccine, which is currently being developed, with the first human trial in Seattle, Washington.

Regular nose rinsing, such as with saline, has not been proven to protect against COVID-19. There is some evidence that nose rinsing helps recovery with the common cold, but not specifically COVID-19.

Garlic has not been proven to prevent or cure COVID-19. There is no evidence that garlic can prevent COVID-19. It is healthy food, however, and has antimicrobial properties.

People of all ages can be affected by COVID-19, and it is not just older people who are susceptible. Those with underlying health issues are especially at risk, such as people with diabetes, asthma or weakened immune systems.

Antibiotics do not prevent or treat COVID-19. If one is hospitalized with COVID-19 and a bacterial infection results, then antibiotics can be administered.

The CDC has key facts about COVID-19 that can help the public better understand it and the processes to prevent it.

COVID-19 can make anyone sick, regardless of race. Fear of the virus can cause people to avoid others due to incorrect preconceptions. COVID-19 does not discriminate against its host.

When someone has been released from quarantine or isolation, they do not pose infection to other people.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention makes use of easy to understand graphics to show was to prevent the spread of germs during the COVID-19 crisis. Graphic courtesy of the CDC.

There are very simple measures to protect against COVID-19, which according to the CDC, are:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, after going to the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

The CDC also states the signs of COVID-19 should be observed as they develop and can help to detect it early on. Seek medical guidance if these symptoms develop:

Fever, cough or shortness of breath

AND/OR

If you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or live in or have recently traveled from an area with an ongoing spread of COVID-19. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. *Community spread is now a concern in Alaska, as some non-travel related cases have emerged.

For more information about COVID-19, visit The Center For Disease Control, The World Health Organization, The State of Alaska Health and Social Services COVID-19 page and The Municipality of Anchorage COVID-19 Updates page for up to date information.