Debunking Covid-19 myths
Debunking Covid-19 myths
Mindfulness has taken the form of paranoia and is contributing to the current infodemic related to the Coivd-19 outbreak. An infodemic is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as, “too much information including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak.” In this article, we attempt to discuss some common myths related to Coivd-19 infection and provide actual facts.
As the Coivd-19 positive cases surge in India, there is an influx of information on the web and social media for its containment. Fake information like freshly cut onion can make a person Coivd-19 negative instantly or taking antibiotics will help in preventing Coivd-19 infection are being forwarded on social media. People have developed strong notions against some food items such as chicken, eggs, meat, and ice cream and they believe that eating them can cause Coivd-19 infection.
Myth: Let’s start with a very common myth. You won’t have a Coivd-19 infection if you can hold your breath for 10 seconds or more.
Fact: At the starting stage, dry cough, fever, tiredness are the most common symptoms of Coivd-19, and in some cases, there are no symptoms. So being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without any discomfort does not mean you are not infected by the virus. If you have the above symptoms you must opt for a laboratory test for Coivd-19 and don’t just blindly follow what the social media or forwarded messages say.
Myth: If women take Coivd-19 vaccinations 8-10 days before or after their ovulation or during periods, they might face fertility issues.
Fact: Many gynecologists have come forward and clarified that this claim has no scientific backing.
Myth: Eating garlic and onion (with Himalayan Salt) helps in the prevention and treatment of Coivd-19 infection.
Fact: It’s true that onion and garlic have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties but to date, there is no scientific evidence that they can prevent or cure Coivd-19. Consumption of too much of garlic can cause heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, and many other problems.
Myth: Antibiotics can prevent and treat Coivd-19 Infection.
Fact: Antibiotics work against bacteria, and not viruses. And we all know that Coivd-19 is caused by a virus. Therefore, antibiotics cannot cure or prevent Coivd-19 infection. When Coivd-19 positive patients are hospitalised, they are given antibiotics to prevent any other bacterial infection that might occur due to the hospitalisation. If you consume antibiotics without a doctor’s consult, you might develop anti- microbial resistance.
Myth Consuming alcohol can kill the Coronavirus.
Fact: The myth stems from the fact that alcohol in the sanitizers is effective in killing the COVID-19 Virus. Consuming alcohol will not destroy the virus or prevent your body from getting infected from it. Rather, consumption of alcohol weakens the immune system and thus reduces the ability to cope with infectious diseases.
Myth: Poultry products such as egg, meat cause Coivd-19.
Fact: There is no evidence to date that consuming poultry products are unsafe or can transmit COVID-19. Therefore, the consumption of poultry and related products may be considered safe. But to be preventive from other food-borne illnesses, meat should be thoroughly washed and cooked at the right temperature before consumption.
Myth: It is not safe to breastfeed your baby if you are infected with Coivd-19
Fact: As per WHO guidelines, it is safe to breastfeed your infant if you are infected by the virus, and the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the potential risk of transmission. Also, you must wear a medical mask while breastfeeding the baby. Wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub before feeding.
Myth: Exposing yourself to sun or temperature higher than 25 degrees Celsius will protect you from the disease and hand dryers can kill the Covid-19 virus.
Fact: No studies or evidence preach this. Therefore, exposing yourself to a higher temperature is not going to protect you from Covid-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is you can still get infected by the virus. And staying in the sun for too long can lead to age spots, precancerous skin growths, and skin cancer. Similarly, using the hand dryer frequently can cause adverse effects to the skin.
Myth: Ultra-violet (UV) lamps (some can even fit into your pockets) can be used to sanitise the surfaces and your hands to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Fact: Ultra-violet (UV) lamps can be used to sanitise the surfaces but should NOT be used to disinfect hands or other areas of your skin. You must be very careful while using it. Exposure to UV radiation can cause skin irritation and damage your eyes. Using an alcohol-based sanitiser (minimum 70 per cent alcohol) or washing your hands with soap and water are the most effective ways to remove the virus.
Instead, here are some activities we should actually be doing to contain the spread of Covid-19 infection, and nurture our mental and physical wellbeing. For example:
- Wear masks whenever you go outside. Wear surgical masks (layered masks) whenever it’s not possible to maintain the social distance.
- Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Follow guidelines by WHO to wash hands properly.
- Avoid touching your facial area when you are in a public place.
- Eat healthy meals and stay hydrated.
- Do some physical activity on daily basis. Practice deep breathing exercises.
- Get plenty of sleep (minimum 7-8 hours). Remember that it boosts your immune system and ability to fight infections.
- Stay connected with your friends and family and share your feelings.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol, cigarettes, and tobacco.
- Take a break from Covid-19 news, including social media.
- Watch your screen time.
Staying informed with the right facts in one of the most effective ways to fight the Covid-19. There are several other myths related to Covid-19 which could negatively impact our health as well. Let us decide to be mindful and act only on science-based facts and stop forwarding any misleading information. Specifically, the ones that indicate magical recovery or support the idea of excessive consumption of something. Let us act mindfully! Let us break the chain.
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