Overwhelmed by all the information and sometimes contradictory advice on COVID-19 every day? Not all that you read is true. Unverified “facts” are doing the rounds and could put you at risk. Here’s what you should take with a pinch of salt:
Myth #1: Wearing A Mask Is Enough To Protect You
While a visible form of protection, masks on their own are not enough to protect against COVID-19. As the World Health Organization (WHO) maintains, masks may also create a false sense of security or even be the source of an infection if used incorrectly.
To do it right, make sure you combine mask use with:
- Washing your hands well
- Practicing respiratory hygiene: sneezing into your elbow, throwing out used tissues right away
- Ensuring physical distancing from other people
Myth #2: Temperature Scanning Is Enough To Identify COVID-19
Thermal scanning is being used at airports, offices, and supermarkets to check for infected individuals. But it isn’t a foolproof line of defense.
While fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, symptoms may show up on average anywhere from 2 to 14 days after a person is infected. So if you haven’t yet started showing symptoms but are already infected you could still pass a temperature check.
Myth #3: COVID-19 Can’t Survive If It’s Very Hot (Or Very Cold)
Much as we’d like this to be true, so far the evidence suggests COVID-19 survives even in hot and humid weather.
Likewise, even if the outside temperature is freezing, your body remains a favorable host for the virus with its stable temperature of 36.5–37°C.
Myth #4: Chinese Goods Are All Contaminated
Goods shipped from China take days, even weeks, to arrive at your doorstep. Long enough for any viruses to be gone. However, it could be contaminated once it arrives at a local warehouse or even by the person delivering it.
As a safety measure, discard the packaging and clean the product with a disinfectant to kill the virus. Do not touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. Clean your hands right after with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub.
Myth #5: Taking a Flu Shot Can Help
A flu shot can help prevent seasonal flu so you should do this anyway. But it will not offer any added protection against COVID-19.
Myth #6: Kids Don’t Develop Symptoms Of COVID-19
Kids are not immune to COVID-19 and have been infected, though the bulk of cases are still adults. Symptoms in children have been milder except in those with underlying health problems. As not enough is known, it is best to protect your children and ensure they follow all recommended safety measures.
Myth #7: Drinking Alcohol Helps
Wishful thinking! Downing a peg or two won’t protect against COVID-19. However, you could clean surfaces with an alcohol-based disinfectant (at least 70% alcohol) or clean your hands with an alcohol-based rub (at least 60% alcohol).
Myth #8: This is “Just Another Flu”
If you’re taking COVID-19 too lightly, it’s time to reset. While COVID-19 does belong to a family of coronaviruses that cause the milder common cold, this is certainly not “just a cold/cough or flu.”
Some symptoms overlap but the number of complications/severe cases is higher. Mortality rates are also far greater than seasonal influenza. While the crude mortality rate for COVID-19 is believed to average 3-4% by the WHO (as of March 2020), the mortality rate for seasonal flu is below 0.1%.
While there’s no need to panic, don’t take this lightly – be fastidious about hand hygiene and physical distancing to protect yourself and your families.