Covid-19 myth busters

Below are the novel coronavirus myths taken from the National Department of Health whatsapp group. The whatsapp group number is 060 0123 456 and the emergency hotline number is 080 002 9999.

Taking a hot bath does not prevent COVID-19.

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.

Can eating garlic help prevent infection with COVID-19?

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 COVID-19.

COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting COVID-19 cases.

Even though COVID-19 can stay on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (depending on the type of surface), it is very unlikely that the virus will persist on a surface after being moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures. If you think a surface may be contaminated, use a disinfectant to clean it. After touching it, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill COVID-19.

There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill COVID-19 or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill COVID-19?

No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against COVID-19?

No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against COVID-19.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against COVID-19, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

COVID-19 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.

Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill COVID-19?

UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with COVID-19?

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with COVID-19.

However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are 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.

Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat COVID-19?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19.

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. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.

Does COVID-19 affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?

People of all ages can be infected by COVID-19. 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, for example by following good hand-hygiene and good respiratory-hygiene.

COVID-19 CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.

To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that COVID-19 could be transmitted by mosquitoes. COVID-19 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. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with COVID-19?

No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with COVID-19.

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing 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.

Are hand dryers effective in killing COVID-19?

No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing COVID-19. To protect yourself against COVID-19, 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.

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