Centuries back, patients with schizophrenia were thought to be possessed by the devil. However, as science discovered mental illnesses, the demon-thinking was left behind. Today, scientists are baffled by the coronavirus and there’s only much that they can tell. Amidst this crisis, several researches have proven to be false and misconceptions regarding the widely spread respiratory infection are common. Here are some things that you might have been told which certainly aren’t true.
1. Only aged people and babies are at risk of dying
That’s not true. Anyone with pre-existing health conditions that can worsen with the virus infection, can die. It depends on your body’s ability to fight off the virus and recover. Babies and elder people can have low immunity so their mortality rate is higher, but any aged individual’s body can collapse. However, according to BBC News, recently a 21-year-old woman, Chloe Middleton has died after contracting the virus. Supposedly she had no underlying health issues so the virus continues to surprise us. In the UAE, the mortality rate is 0.6% whereas in Italy, the USA and China it is 10%, 1.48%, and 4.04 % respectively.
2. Covid-19 can be spread through cats and dogs
This is false. There was news circulating earlier that a dog in Hong Kong has tested positive to coronavirus but according to WHO, even if an animal tests positive, which is still under research and not yet proven, it cannot pass the virus onto its owners. So wash your hands and keep snuggling with those furry creatures for emotional support!
3. If I wear a face mask, I can’t get the virus
The cotton and surgical masks provide no value because they’re loosely fitted, and also because the virus particles can enter the body through the eyes. However, Business Insider says that an N-95 mask if worn correctly can block at least 95% of the airborne particles but, the UAE Ministry of Health has warned the public against wearing the N-95 mask as reported by Arabian Business. This is because the sales have skyrocketed and there’s a shortage. The masks are made for healthcare workers who are at the risk of contracting the virus from diseased patients.
4. Antibiotics kill the virus
False! According to Medical News Today, antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. "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,” says The World Health Organization.
5. If I order something from China, I’ll get the virus
Parcels and packaging from anywhere can contain the virus. Contrary to popular belief the virus can stay on the surface for 9 days, however, the probability of it infecting you reduces significantly after 72 hours as reported by BBC. So no, a package from China will most likely not give you coronavirus.
6. If I don’t diet and the right vitamins, I won’t get the virus
You will get the virus if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face without washing your hands. You will get the virus if you come in contact with an infected person, no matter what you’re eating and drinking. According to Medical News Today, essential oils, Vitamin C and garlic won’t reduce your chances of getting the virus. However, healthy food can build your immunity to help your body battle the virus.
7. The rising spring temperature will kill the virus
Initially, when the virus spread, people had hope: the virus will die in humidity, they said. This is untrue. No research has proven the effect of hot weather on the virus. Unlike the flu, coronavirus is not yet known to slow down during the spring months.
8. The vaccine for flu and pneumonia can protect against the coronavirus
There is no vaccine for the virus and we aren’t sure of when and how the coronavirus will end. “Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.” – The World Health Organization.
9. Hand dryers and hot showers can kill the virus
If the virus has entered your body taking a hot shower won’t kill it and a hand dryer won’t protect you against the virus. The best way to prevent the disease is to wash your hands as often as you can and if you can’t, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill the germs.
10. If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds you don’t have the virus
This message has been making rounds on social media platforms and people who can hold their breath for 10 seconds without difficulty (which they tend to practice every morning in front of the mirror), have a spark of hope that they don’t have the virus. Sigh. Unfortunately, this activity does not signify that you don’t have the virus.
11. Drinking cow urine can ward off the disease
In India and some other parts of the globe including the UAE where Hindus exist, drinking cow urine has been known to ‘purify the body of any illnesses’. People have been consuming the urine and even feces of cows thinking that this will ward off the virus. There’s absolutely no research that supports this.
12. Drinking water every 15 minutes will not let the virus infect you
If you have the virus, drinking water won’t flush it out of your system. Sure, you’ll stay hydrated and that’s great for supple skin and removing toxins but alas, you’ll need more to battle off the virus.
The best way to stay protected is to practice good hygiene habits. Wash your hands at all times, stay indoors and practice social distancing. We hope that our country and the world will be virus-free in the future, however, for now, it is important to be free of false health advice.
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