Coronavirus myths and facts

31 Mar 2020 | 05:50

The following is a list of myths and facts regarding the coronavirus compiled by National Jewish Health, which is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to ground-breaking medical research and treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders.

Myth: Hand dryers kill the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: Hand dryers do not kill the virus. Only washing hands with soap and water or an at least 60% alcohol-based hand rub and drying with a paper towel will kill germs on your hands.

Myth: Ultraviolet lamps kill the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: No, UV lamps do not sterilize hands or skins areas, and can actually cause irritation.

Myth: Spraying alcohol or chlorine over my body will kill the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: No, spraying alcohol or chlorine over the body will not kill the virus if you’ve already been exposed to the virus. These substances can be harmful to your eyes, mouth, lungs, skin, etc. Use alcohol and bleach safely when disinfecting surfaces.

Myth: Packages from China will give me the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: No, people cannot get the coronavirus from packages mailed from China or other infected areas. Coronaviruses do not survive for very long on letters or packages.

Myth: My pet can give me COVID-19 virus.

Fact: There is no evidence that cats and dogs can be infected with this virus or spread it to humans. It is a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after all interactions with your pets to protect against common bacteria including E. coli and Salmonella that do pass between pets and humans.

Myth: I got the pneumonia virus so I can’t get the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: Vaccines for pneumonia do not protect against this virus.

Myth: Saline nasal rinses will protect me against the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: There is no evidence that nasal rinses offer protection against the virus.

Myth: Eating garlic will protect me against getting the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: There is no evidence that garlic can protect you against the virus.

Myth: Putting sesame oil on my skin will protect me against the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: Sesame oil does not kill this virus.

Myth: The COVID-19 disease only affects older people.

Fact: The COVID-19 disease can infect anyone at any age. People with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and heart disease appear to be more at risk.

Myth: Antibiotics can treat the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacterial infections. COVID-19 is a virus.

Myth: Face masks protect you from the COVID-19 virus.

Fact: When you are sick, regular, surgical or cloth masks help prevent droplets from coughs and sneezes from infecting others. The N-95 respirator mask requires fit testing and are only for health care providers to use. It is not necessary to wear a mask if you are not sick.

Myth: COVID-19 is just like the common cold.

Fact: No, it is in the same family as the common cold, but it is believed that the COVID-19 virus originated with bats and later transferred to humans. Common cold viruses utilize humans as their primary hosts.

Additional information can be found at NationalJewishHealth.org.