COVID-19: Myths and Precautions
Over the last year and a half, the world has faced a global pandemic. The pandemic has changed the very way we all function. SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 is a viral infection responsible for the current pandemic that has invaded every continent except Antarctica. The virus continues to spread and remains a tangible threat to all human society. This state of affairs will continue until we can ensure that as many people as possible are vaccinated against the virus.
As of the 26th of July 2021, over four million deaths have happened due to COVID-19. The total number of cases worldwide stands at over 194 million! New deaths and cases are reported worldwide as the disease continues to infect people. In this atmosphere, countless myths and false facts are spreading over the internet. These myths create a false sense of fear and wariness amongst the populace. We need to fight these falsehoods and take steps to verify both the facts and the contexts they exist in to ensure that we can arm ourselves with correct information. The pandemic is a real problem, but it is not a faceless demon without any legitimate solutions and precautions against it which are available to us. This is not the first coronavirus infection; the current iteration is just a mutated form of other SARS infections.
In this article, we will revisit some rumours and myths and dispel the misrepresentations surrounding them.
Verified Facts, Do's, and Don'ts About Coronavirus:
- Hydroxychloroquine is not a viable treatment or precaution for COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) has monitored various independent clinical trial reports regarding hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19. All these trials have confirmed that the drug makes no difference in preventing someone from contracting COVID-19 or preventing hospitalization or death among patients. The drug is generally a treatment for malaria, lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis, not for SARS-CoV-2 and related infections. There is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine can help mitigate the effects of COVID-19. And while the drug can help treat certain diseases, it is a prescription drug that can have serious side effects if taken without any consultation with a doctor. Hydroxychloroquine should not be used without medical supervision. Doing so can be dangerous to your health.
- Extra vitamin and mineral supplements cannot ensure health. While micronutrients can be indispensable for promoting a healthy and robust immune system, they do not guarantee that you will not get the virus or act as a cure in and of themselves.
- Similarly, eating food like peppers or garlic does not prevent COVID-19. They are good additions for flavour but do not carry any anti-viral properties which can benefit your health when suffering from the Coronavirus infection.
- Dexamethasone is a valid treatment only for patients in critical conditions. There is no evidence that the drug has positive effects on patients who are presenting mild symptoms. The reason for this is simple. Dexamethasone is a heavy-duty drug. It is a corticosteroid that is used for its immunosuppressive effects and its anti-inflammatory properties. This fact means that the drug can is utilised when a person's immune system is causing more problems than it is solving. So, unless you are on a ventilator and your doctor has prescribed the drug to you, stockpiling the drug will not help you or anyone else. Taking the medication without a legitimate prescription and medical monitoring is likely to have detrimental and severe side effects on you that will endanger your life.
- Using face masks for extended periods does not have any unwanted side effects! Neither is there an oxygen deficiency nor is excessive carbon dioxide being breathed in by a person wearing a medical or surgical mask. The holes between the threads are much bigger than oxygen or carbon dioxide molecules. The face mask cannot obstruct airflow, but the cloth weave itself is small enough to catch pathogens and prevent you from breathing them in. Wearing a face mask can be uncomfortable for long periods, but most of the discomfort can be mitigated by ensuring that you change your face masks regularly, the face mask fits your face shape well, and is clean.
- The World Health Organization has recommended against exercising while wearing face masks. This recommendation is because sweat can cause a face mask to stick to your face, which can cause breathing problems in turn. However, it is still crucial to ensure a safe physical distance from other people. You should maintain at least a meter of space between you and any others in the area.
- Anti-biotics are not an effective preventative or treatment for COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2, like other coronaviruses, is a viral disease and not a bacterial infection. Therefore, using anti-biotics will do you no good as they are completely ineffective against viruses. However, doctors can prescribe antibiotics to COVID-19 patients as bacterial infections are an observed complication of the virus. The fact remains that unless a doctor prescribes antibiotics to you, they will not improve your health.
- More people can recover from COVID-19 than those who cannot. The disease is dangerous, but recovery is the more likely outcome. It is crucial to seek medical help to prevent you from developing complications. Many symptoms of the virus can be flu-like (cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, etc.), but it is better to be safe than sorry. COVID-19 can have serious long-term effects on your throat and lungs. To prevent any complications, you should seek out medical tests and care as soon as possible.
- Drinking cleaning chemicals like chlorine, bleach, ethanol, or methanol (spirits) is dangerous and will not protect you against the Coronavirus. All of these chemicals, specifically in their concentrated forms, are dangerous to your health. They can be poisonous to you and will not kill any viruses in your system. Even regular drinking alcohol (ethanol) in large doses and concentrations can lead to alcohol poisoning and cause long-term health problems. Methanol (spirits) is toxic to humans and is not digestible by the human body. Chlorine, on the other hand, if not properly diluted, is very corrosive and can cause chemical burns if you touch it, let alone consuming it. You must not drink such chemicals under any circumstances. Bleach is also very corrosive to the human body - the fumes alone can cause severe damage to your breathing and your eyes. Using them to clean surfaces is recommended but is significantly harmful to your body. Putting them in your body will hurt your organs and not kill the virus.
- Temperature rise alone is not a good metric for determining whether or not someone has COVID-19. Thermal scanners can only determine if someone has a fever or not. They do not hand you a diagnosis. Moreover, fever has many explanations, and you don't need to develop a high temperature as soon as you contract COVID-19. Many people are asymptomatic and do not show any symptoms of the disease but can still spread it. It is a good idea to contact a health care provider to ensure your safety and ensure that COVID-19 or other sources are not causing temperatures higher than normal.
- Houseflies or other insects are not a vector for the disease. There has been no evidence gathered which shows that insects can transmit COVID-19. The only recognized method of transmission is through the water droplets spread by an infected person when they cough, speak or sneeze. Social distancing, sanitizing surfaces, and medical face masks are most effective in preventing disease spread.
- Mobile networks, 5G or otherwise, do not spread Coronavirus. Radio waves and mobile networks cannot carry viruses. The presence, or lack thereof, of 5G networks play no role in the spread of disease, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The virus is spreading in countries that do not have access to 5G networks, and it is spreading in regions that do not have access to any mobile networks. The only proven method of COVID-19 amongst humans is through respiratory droplets that hang in the air when an infected person speaks, sneezes, or coughs in the vicinity of another person.
- Sun exposure plays no role in preventing disease spread. Sunny and tropical places are suffering from the virus just as much as any other place. UV radiation is a sterilizing agent, but the sun is not a concentrated enough source of it. Too much direct exposure to UV radiation can cause skin irritation, burns and even lead to cancer. So, the sun will not help you, get vaccinated, practice social distancing and wear face masks.
- Just like the sun and humidity play no role in preventing spread, the cold and snow will not kill the Coronavirus. There is no evidence that a virus will be killed by cold weather. Even if the cold would not simply preserve a virus, the normal body temperature remains at a temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius - which is a perfect temperature for viruses to thrive.
- Being able to hold your breath for any period without discomfort or coughing is not a surefire method of testing for the presence of the virus. Breathing exercises will not tell you if you have a disease. The only accurate test is done in a laboratory by a medical professional. COVID-19 symptoms do not develop immediately. Having yourself tested by a medically qualified professional can prevent you from participating in unproven and unsafe tests. And also limit any complications (like pneumonia) that may develop.
- Hand dryers will not prevent COVID-19 and may even propagate it. A hand dryer does not run hot enough to kill viruses. The hand dryer uses air that has been in the room. What does this mean if someone with the virus had been in the bathroom? It means that the hand dryer would spit the same virus-carrying droplets in the air out on your hands. The only way to sanitize your hands is to wash them properly with soap or an alcohol-based sanitiser and dry them with a paper towel.
- Other vaccines do not protect against COVID-19. All vaccines protect against a specific pathogen. Similarly, the COVID-19 vaccine is only effective against the coronavirus pathogen - because it has been created. The current vaccine being used is an iteration of older vaccines and vaccine technology which has been in development and testing for decades. The flu vaccines are all ineffective against the Coronavirus. They only protect against the viruses they are designed to protect against, namely the flu and common cold viruses. This is also true of other vaccines like the pneumonia vaccines.
- The COVID-19 vaccines are not dangerous because they were made quickly. They are based on existing vaccines and were therefore easy to make. This is not even the first Coronavirus we have had to contend with! Additionally, any concerns of an allergic reaction are not microscopic. Allergic reactions only happen in very rare cases.
- Hot baths, saline through the nose, or simply warm water will not kill Coronavirus nor prevent it. Saltwater does not affect viruses; therefore, saline will not protect you. And warm water safe for humans to touch is not hot enough to kill viruses.
The list can go on. Verify every rumor you come across. Refer to the WHO website or reputable news sources before you believe the miracle cure or the stunning fact.
The COVID-19 virus can cause long-term damage to anyone. Everyone is vulnerable to the virus. Not just those with pre-existing conditions (like heart conditions or immunity problems) or those who are in the high-risk age brackets. Be vigilant and be smart with your health. Just because COVID-19 is not the deadliest virus does not mean it cannot leave you at high risk for respiratory infections or other serious complications.