With misinformation running rampant, it’s important to know fact from fiction.
With West Feliciana schools reopening and area businesses preparing for the busy fall season against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, knowing which health precautions you should (and should not) take to limit the spread of COVID-19 is more important than ever.
“People should absolutely still be taking precautions to avoid contracting or spreading the virus, including wearing a mask in public, observing social distancing, and washing or sanitizing your hands often,” says Dr. Brandon Tilley, a practicing primary care physician at St. Francis Cypress Rural Health Clinic.
However, even as scientists learn more about how the novel coronavirus spreads, false or misleading claims continue to circulate. To best protect yourself and your loved ones from contracting the virus, make sure you’re aware of these common COVID myths as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Myth #1: Hot weather can prevent the transfer of COVID-19.
FALSE: While it’s true that some viruses, like the seasonal flu, tend to be more widespread during the colder months, you can catch COVID-19 in hot, sunny climates like Louisiana’s, too. Plenty of countries report high rates of coronavirus transmission during the summer season, when temperatures are at or above 77° Fahrenheit (25° C). Louisiana’s hot, humid summer is no exception. Similarly, you can NOT kill the virus by taking a hot bath or using a hair dryer to disinfect your skin (two other common myths).
Myth #2: Mosquitoes can transmit the virus.
FALSE: While mosquito bites are no fun, there is no evidence to suggest that mosquitoes are a carrier for the virus. SARS-CoV2 is the virus that causes COVID-19, which is a respiratory illness. This type of virus spreads primarily through droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria are caused by a parasite spread when a mosquito feeds on an infected person’s blood. The novel coronavirus rarely gets into the bloodstream.
Myth #3: You can get COVID-19 from the soles of your shoes.
MOSTLY FALSE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a study suggesting that the coronavirus can be carried on the soles of your shoes. However, the report also concluded that the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading via footwear is extremely low. To err on the side of caution, leave your shoes outside or by the door when you get home. This applies particularly if you have young children playing or crawling on the floor.
Myth #4: Only elderly or immunocompromised people are at risk.
FALSE: While older people and people with pre-existing conditions are more vulnerable to developing serious symptoms if they contract coronavirus, people of all ages are equally susceptible to infection. Everyone, regardless of their age or health, should take the same basic precautions. These include wearing a mask in public, maintaining a six-foot distance from others, and washing your hands frequently.
Myth #5: Taking Ibuprofen worsens COVID-19 symptoms.
FALSE: In March, the French health minister warned people with coronavirus against taking common painkillers/fever reducers, such as Ibuprofen and Aspirin. The WHO has since said it is not aware of any evidence to support this recommendation.
* Bonus Myth: Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating COVID-19.
FALSE: Antibiotics are designed to combat various bacterial infections, but have no effect against viruses. Antibiotics work by attacking the mechanisms that bacteria use to reproduce. The structure and method of reproduction of viruses is completely different from that of bacteria. Therefore, antibiotic treatments will have no effect against COVID-19 or any other virally-spread illness. In fact, using them improperly can actually make you sicker in the future.
To see the World Health Organization’s complete list of coronavirus myths and misconceptions, visit the WHO Coronavirus Mythbusters page HERE.