Busting myths about Coronavirus

In lieu of COVID-19 being declared as a Pandemic by the WHO, social media is abuzz with WhatsApp myths and rumours. Here is a list of ‘myths and truth’ which one should be aware of. busts a few WhatsApp myths that have been circulating about this virus.

Myth 1: Drinking water frequently will flush out the virus, and stomach acids will kill the virus.

Truth: Absolutely no truth.By this logic anyone with a sore throat or flu can wash out the virus and will not get it. Drinking water constantly cannot wash out the virus from the throat. Once the virus has entered the body, no amount of water consumption will aid in getting rid of it.

Myth 2: “ Take a deep breath and hold your breath for more than 10 seconds.If you complete it successfully without coughing, without discomfort, stiffness or tightness, it proves there is no fibrosis in the lungs , basically indicates no infection.”

Truth :There is no scientific evidence, and is not correct. Many people with COVID 19 infection are asymptomatic. At the same time having a cough while taking a deep breath does not indicate fibrosis but may be because of airway is irritated. It can happen in any airway infection.

Myth 3: By the time you get cough from taking a deep breath and holding it or a patient with COVID 19 is hospitalised , there is 50% fibrosis of lungs and too late.

Truth : Absolutely no truth. A very small % of patients with COVID 19 infection will develop lung fibrosis, 80% patients have no or mild symptoms, 15 % have severe symptoms and 5% are critical needing intensive care or ventilator support.

Myth 4: If you have a runny nose and sputum, you have a common cold.Corona Virus pneumonia is a dry cough with no runny nose.

Truth : A running nose also can be from causes other than flu. Yes , while many patients with COVID 19 infection have dry cough, some can have productive cough

Myth 5: Spraying alcohol over body can prevent COVID 19

Truth : There is no scientific evidence. But frequent hand washing and sanitising your hand with alcohol based sanitiser ( with atleast 60% alcohol content ) will help reduce infection.

Myth 6: Drinking alcohol can kill the virus

Truth: Consuming alcohol does not help to prevent or treat the virus. However, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers will surely help protecting against the virus.

Myth 7: It takes just 10 minutes for the virus to get transmitted from an infected person.

Truth: One can get infected within a few seconds or minutes of a brief encounter with an infected person. There is no fixed time period for the virus to get transmitted.

Myth 8 : Wearing mask will protect you

Truth: Medical masks should not be used by healthy people with no symptoms . Only those who are diagnosed or suspected and those looking after infected patients or suspected patients should wear a mask.

Myth 9: Non-veg consumption will lead to the infection.

Truth: Consumption of non-veg food does not cause coronavirus and is perfectly safe. No evidence proves that food can transmit the virus. However, it is essential to thoroughly wash and cook the meat and egg properly before consumption.

Myth 10: Bathing in cow dung and consumption of cow urine can prevent COVID-19

Truth: There is no biochemical or scientific basis to support this claim of combating against this respiratory infection.

Myth 11: Eating garlic helps preventing infection with the new coronavirus

Truth: There is an antiseptic property in garlic but there is no scientific proof that it protects the body from the virus. WHO says that 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.

Myth 12: Blowing hot air in the nostrils will help in getting rid of the virus

Truth: There is no evidence to support this claim. Once contracted, the virus does not just stay at the surface. It enters the body and the virus particles invade the cells.

(Disclaimer: The writer is Dr Vijay D’silva, Director – Medical Affairs & Critical Care, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai. Views expressed are a personal opinion.)

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