Before you jump on your phone or laptop and search “coronavirus update” to get the latest facts about coronavirus, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. Each day, as the number of coronavirus cases in Ohio (and around the country) increases, you may be looking for additional information or new ways to prevent it. This is leading to a number of myths (mostly on social media) about the disease.
Before we get started dispelling the coronavirus myths, let’s review the facts. Coronavirus spreads when droplets from a cough or sneeze are passed between humans. They may land on you or something like a doorknob that you touch and subsequently touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
There is no treatment for coronavirus, but a vaccine is in the works. Your best defense, for the time being, is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. You should also continually wipe down surfaces with disinfectant.
Let’s debunk several myths that are circulating about coronavirus in Ohio and around the country.
Myth: Drinking Water Flushes The Coronavirus From Your System
You definitely want to make sure that you stay hydrated, especially during the coronavirus outbreak, because it will help to keep your immune system strong. But there is no proof that drinking water will flush it from your system or that keeping your mouth moist will prevent coronavirus.
Researchers at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say our bodies are 60% water, and when you’re well-hydrated, you’re doing your body a favor because water does things like:
- Keep your temperature normal
- Lubricate and cushion joints
- Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
- Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements
But keep this in mind: One of the symptoms of coronavirus is fever. Doctors recommend drinking water when you have a fever because your body is losing fluids. By drinking water, you’re replacing your lost fluids and helping your body recover.
Myth: Holding Your Breath For 10 Seconds Eliminates Risk
Another myth about the coronavirus sweeping the country is that if you hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or discomfort, you don’t have fibrosis — a sign of infection in the lungs. Fibrosis is a chronic condition where lung tissue becomes scarred or stiff.
When someone has an acute viral infection, it can be difficult to take a deep breath and not cough because the airways are irritated. Holding your breath for longer than 10 seconds does not mean you don’t have the coronavirus. The information is not true.
But keep this in mind, shortness of breath is a telltale sign that you may have the coronavirus. If you’re experiencing shortness of breath and have a fever and cough, you should call your physician. And before you go to see your doctor, you should try to wear a face mask to help prevent spread.
Myth: Children Can’t Get The Coronavirus
While adults make up most of the confirmed cases to date, some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19. It’s especially concerning when an infant has tested positive because their immune systems aren’t fully developed. The good news is that children who are diagnosed with coronavirus do not seem to be getting as sick.
The elderly and the immunocompromised are more likely to contract coronavirus because their immune systems aren’t as strong. But it’s important to understand that anyone can get it. Coronavirus is a respiratory illness that does not discriminate.
You may be also at a higher risk if you have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
If you fall into any of these categories, make sure you’re taking the proper precautions.
Myth: Coronavirus Recedes In Warmer Weather
Past research suggests that coronaviruses do seem to thrive in colder weather. A recent study out of China suggests that the pathogen appears to spread fastest at 8.72 degrees Celsius, or about 48 degrees Fahrenheit, which is right around the average temperature in Ohio in March. It’s also why countries in colder climates are being told to adopt the strictest control measures.
But scientists caution this novel coronavirus may not necessarily go away in warmer weather because it’s too early to tell. A few researchers are analyzing what kind of effect if any, the temperature has on coronavirus, but no findings have been published in scholarly journals yet. Research papers need to be vetted by experts working in the same field.
But researchers at the World Health Organization say there’s no reason to believe temperature will play a role in the outbreak but that the subject is worth investigating.
Typically, flu and the common cold spread more in colder temperatures because we’re all inside more often sharing germs. When the weather warms up, we go back outside and decrease the risk of a person-to-person transmission.
Your best bet to decrease your risk is to keep up with your handwashing, sanitizing and avoid touching your face.
Myth: You Can Get Coronavirus Through The Mail
Your mail carrier is handling lots of envelopes and packages that are coming from around the world, but the chances of the virus lasting on paper for very long are slim.
A recent study in “The Journal of Hospital Infection” found that coronaviruses last anywhere from a few hours to a few days on paper, depending on the strain.
If you’re really concerned about grabbing the mail each day, take a sanitized wipe or paper towel and swipe it over your mail. That will help to decrease the risk.
It looks like the coronavirus is going to be in the United States for at least a few months. In order to keep the number of deaths down, a number of precautions have already been taken. Social distancing will help keep us out of close contact with others, and as long as everyone does their part, we should be able to flatten the curve.
When you’re searching for coronavirus updates, we recommend three sites:
An At-Home Coronavirus Test
If you think you're experiencing coronavirus symptoms, MyLinks has created a patient self-assessment tool that you can use. This online coronavirus test is based on guidelines from The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. It will help you to understand what you should do next if you're showing signs of COVID-19.
The tool is free, but it should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other healthcare provider.
And if you’d like more information on how to keep from getting sick, our flu guide may help. Inside you’ll find prevention tips you can use today and every day.