Coronavirus: Myths and realities
With the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus, there are many myths circulating among people that need to be debunked. Myths only contribute to increasing panic and misinformation that leads to crises. It is rightly being called an ‘Infodemic’. From Whatsapp forwards to Facebook posts, from drinking Rasam to saying that Coronavirus is a death sentence, there is a lot of misinformation.
Some of the myths and facts of Coronavirus are:
- Vaccines for pneumonia are effective against coronavirus. However, the truth is Pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenza vaccines will not give protection against Coronavirus. The virus needs its own vaccine that’s being researched.
- Antibiotics can hold off Coronavirus. Antibiotics only work against bacteria. Taking antibiotics does not in any way help cure the disease.
- Specific medicines in Ayurveda or homeopathy can be used to treat Coronavirus. Since the virus is very new, doctors and scientists are still trying to find a cure. While eating a healthy diet is great advice, there is no truth to the claim that garlic is a cure for COVID19.
- Regularly rinsing your nose with saline water helps prevent Coronavirus infection. Rinsing the nose with saline helps people to recover from the common cold, there is no such evidence whether it helps against Coronavirus.
- Pets spread Coronavirus. Coronavirus is not spread by pets. Although it is always better to maintain hygiene. Washing hands with soap and water after playing with pets should always be practiced. It helps protect against various common bacteria that can pass between humans and animals.
- Hand dryers are effective in killing the virus. To have protection against the Coronavirus, one should frequently clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand wash. Warm air dryer or paper towels should be used to dry the hands after washing.
- New coronavirus only affects elderly people. People of all ages can be affected by the virus. However elderly people and people suffering from asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are more susceptible to Coronavirus infection.
- Thermal scanners can detect Coronavirus. It can detect a fever but not the virus itself.
- Spraying alcohol or chlorine over one’s body kills the new coronavirus. Spraying these substances can be harmful to clothes and mucous membranes. Alcohol and chlorine can be used to disinfect surfaces but does nothing once the virus has entered the system.
- Eating garlic prevents Coronavirus infection. Garlic is a healthy food that has many antimicrobial properties but there is no evidence that it is effective against Coronavirus.
With the WHO declaring the COVID19 outbreak a pandemic, it is now upon everyone to exercise precaution.
We request everyone to self-quarantine if they feel sick or see flu-like symptoms. Check with your employer about precautions that you can take to make the workplace safer including the use of sanitizers when you enter and exit the building.
Avoid hugging and kissing when you are feeling sick. While these are general precautions one must take even during a regular flu, in the face of a global pandemic, it becomes all the more important.