Coronavirus myths explored – Facts and Myths

1. Spraying chlorine or alcohol on skin kills viruses in the body

Applying alcohol or chlorine to the body can cause harm, especially if it enters the eyes or mouth. Although people can use these chemicals to disinfect surfaces, they should not use them on skin.

These products cannot kill viruses within the body.

2. Only older adults and young people are at risk

SARS-CoV-2, like other coronaviruses, can infect people of any age. However, older adults or individuals with preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, are more likely to become severely ill.

3. Children cannot catch COVID-19

All age groups can become infected. Most cases, so far, have been in adults, but children are not immune. In fact, preliminary evidence shows that children are just as likely to become infected, but their symptoms tend to be less severe.

4. COVID-19 is just like the flu

SARS-CoV-2 causes illness that does, indeed, have flu-like symptoms, such as aches, fever, and cough. Similarly, both COVID-19 and flu can be mild, severe, or, in rare cases, fatal. Both can also lead to pneumonia.

However, the overall profile of COVID-19 is more serious. Estimates vary, but its mortality rate seems to be between about 1% and 3%.

Although scientists are working out the exact mortality rate, it is likely to be many times higher than that of seasonal flu.

5. Everyone with COVID-19 dies

This statement is untrue. As we have mentioned above, COVID-19 is only fatal for a small percentage of people.

In a recent report, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that 80.9% of COVID-19 cases were mild.

The WHO also report that around 80% of people will experience a relatively mild form of the disease, which will not require specialist treatment in a hospital.

Mild symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness, and shortness of breath.

6. Cats and dogs spread coronavirus

Currently, there is little evidence that SARS-CoV-2 can infect cats and dogs. However, in Hong Kong, a Pomeranian whose owner had COVID-19 became infected. The dog did not display any symptoms.

7. Face masks protect against coronavirus

Healthcare workers use professional face masks, which fit tightly around the face, to protect them against infection. However, disposable face masks are unlikely to provide such protection.

As these masks do not fit neatly against the face, droplets can still enter the mouth and nose. Also, tiny viral particles can penetrate directly through the material.

However, if someone has a respiratory illness, wearing a mask can help protect others from becoming infected.

The WHO recommend that people who are caring for someone with suspected COVID-19 should wear a mask. In these cases, wearing a mask is only effective if the individual regularly washes their hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Also, when using a mask, it is important to use it and dispose of it properly.

8. Hand dryers kill coronavirus

Hand dryers do not kill coronavirus. The best way to protect yourself and others from the virus is to wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

9. SARS-CoV-2 is just a mutated form of the common cold

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, all of which have spiky proteins on their surface. Some of these viruses use humans as their primary host and cause the common cold. Other coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, primarily infect animals.

Both Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) began in animals and passed into humans.

10. You have to be with someone for 10 minutes to catch the virus

The longer someone is with an infected person, the more likely they are to catch the virus, but it is still possible to catch it in less than 10 minutes.

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