As new information about the Coronavirus continues to unfold, many in the community seem to be having more questions than answers. As your trusted primary healthcare provider, we are here to bring you some concrete answers that will leave you spending less time guessing about the unknown and hopefully provide more time to take care of yourself and your families during these unsettling circumstances.
- The new coronavirus only affects older people.
MYTH - People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
- The new coronavirus CANNOT 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.
- Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will kill the new coronavirus.
MYTH - No. 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.
- Vaccines that protect you against pneumonia can protect you against the new coronavirus.
MYTH - No. 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.
- Regularly rinsing your nose with saline can help prevent infection with the new coronavirus.
MYTH - No. 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 the 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.
- Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus.
MYTH - No, 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.
- There are no specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.
FACT - To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.
To learn more about Coronavirus facts vs. myths visit the World Health Organization website at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters