5 Dangerous Myths About Coronavirus

With there being enough dangers, threats (and now a killer virus too!), the last thing needed is misinformation on how to protect ourselves and the ones we love

During unprecedented time such as these, it’s no wonder that there are endless speculations and conspiracy theories about COVID-19.

Whilst some are fairly harmless, others – like thinking you are immune due to age or another factor- are a lot more dangerous when taken as gospel.

 

 

Myth 1: Wearing a face mask protects you from getting infected

There is a coming misconception that face coverings protect the people that wear them, when really they protect those around you. They do this by preventing infected people from spreading the virus through droplets they’d release through sneezing, coughing etc.

They help to reduce the spread of the virus from infected people who are still contagious, including those who have no symptoms (or haven’t developed them yet). Robert Redfield, MD, said that as many as 25 percent of people with the coronavirus show no signs of infection in an NPR interview on March 30.

 

Dr. Lee also suggests that you:

  • Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser before and after putting on the mask
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly (facial hair can interfere with this)
  • Avoid touching the mask while wearing it, even though it may be uncomfortable
  • Routinely wash fabric face coverings

 

Myth 2: Products imported from China can infect you

The coronavirus’s origins in Wuhan, China, has given rise to many misconceptions, concerning everything from Chinese citizens to Chinese imports. One of those that was widely spread is that Chinese imports can carry the virus. There have even been questions about whether it was safe to eat Chinese food!

 

Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it’s unlikely to be spread from products or packaging. From knowledge we have about other coronaviruses (such as SARS and MERS), experts have concluded that due to the poor survivability on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of contraction from products or packaging. These items are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures

The World Health Organisation says: “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”

 

 

Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 from imported goods, and there have not been any known cases of the disease linked to the contact of imported goods.

Dr Todd Ellerin, an expert in infectious diseases, made an interesting point, writing on the Harvard medical school Blog: “Remember, this is a respiratory virus similar to the flu. We don’t stop receiving packages from China during their flu season. We should follow that same logic for this novel pathogen.”

Myth 3: Ibuprofen can make Coronavirus symptoms worse

The Commission on Human Medicines has now confirmed that there is no clear evidence that using Ibuprofen to treat symptoms (such as a high temperature) can make coronavirus worse. You can take Paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat the symptoms of coronavirus.

Many people prefer paracetamol as it has fewer side effects than ibuprofen and is the safer choice for most people, regardless of the current pandemic. Always follow the instructions that come with your medicine.

As studies have shown, ibuprofen could have increased a certain type of receptor on human cells. The world health organisation originally recommended against its use, as the change in that particular receptor could theoretically strengthen the ability of coronavirus to cause infection or worsening symptoms.

However, because there is no evidence that ibuprofen -other anti-inflammatory painkillers (e.g. aspirin) make coronavirus worse, WHO no longer recommend against ibuprofen’s use for coronavirus.

Myth 4: Once you recover from Coronavirus you can’t get it again

Our immune system’s memory is not dissimilar to our own, meaning it remembers some things better than others. For example, measles is highly memorable (one bout -or vaccine- should give lifelong immunity). And then there are some which are pretty forgettable, like the common cold which you can get multiple times in the same winter.

The new coronavirus -meaning COVID-19 as opposed to MERS or SARS- has not been around long enough for it to be established how long immunity lasts.

A recent study led by Public Health England (PHE) shows most people who have had the virus were protected from catching it again for at least five months. the full extent is unknown as that is the duration of the analysis so far). However some were reinfected, and even those who were asymptomatic could be infected with high levels of the virus which can be passed on to others.

Myth 5: Young people can’t get Coronavirus

There is enough confusion with all the information out there, the last thing this post aims to achieve is to add to that. By young people, this includes people 16 and above. Different rules and information apply to children and babies.

But yes. All age groups can catch coronavirus. Currently, data suggests that children under the age of 18 years have few deaths compared to other age groups and usually suffer from a mild form of the disease. However, although they are less likely to be hospitalized or die from it, people in their 20s, 30s and 40s can catch the virus.

Even though statistically less common, some infected people who fall into this demographic develop severe and lasting symptoms. There have been reported cases of critical illnesses. This particularly applies if they are suffering from any underlying health conditions (e.g obesity, diabetes, lung problems, asthma or high blood pressure).

Click here for NHS Coronavirus advice

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