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COVID-19 Myths vs. Facts

  • MYTH: Wearing a mask means you can continue doing everything you normally do without the need to practice social distancing. FACT: If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a health care provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing or one is unavailable), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. If you are not sick: Facemasks are in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers. The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, however surgical masks and N95 respirators should still be reserved for healthcare workers.
  • MYTH: Constant handwashing can lead to dry, cracked skin. Cracks on your hands make you more susceptible to the virus entering your system. FACT: The skin is not a portal of entry for COVID. However, if your hands touch virus droplets and then you touch your face, you can certainly spread it that way to the nose or the mouth or the eyes. Be careful about where you’re putting your hands and where you’re touching.
  • MYTH: Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kills the new coronavirus. FACT: Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.
  • MYTH: Regularly rinsing your nose with saline helps prevent infection with the new coronavirus. FACT: There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.
  • MYTH: Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus. FACT: Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
  • MYTH: Vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus. FACT: Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts. Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
  • MYTH: COVID-19 virus cannot be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates. FACT: From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
  • MYTH: The new coronavirus can be transmitted through mosquito bites. FACT: To date, there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.
  • MYTH: Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort means you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or any other lung disease. FACT: The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you have the virus-producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test.  You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.
  • MYTH: Opening your doors and windows allows the virus to enter your home. FACT: Spending time outside DOES NOT necessarily mean you will contract COVID-19. Always practice appropriate social distancing. Getting fresh air is good for the body and spirit.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO). Learn more by visiting the WHO website.

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