With new information about COVID-19 bubbling up through the news cycle and into your Instagram feed every single day, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and a little scared. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of misinformation surrounding the virus propagating online and it can be difficult for the average person to separate fact from fiction.
Pediatric infectious disease specialist from American hospital Cleveland Clinic Frank Esper, M.D., stresses that the old adage ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is’ rings true when it comes to the many “miracle” methods of protecting yourself — like eating garlic or taking steaming hot baths – that are circulating.
Here, Dr. Esper debunks five other common myths you may read online:
Myth 1: Hair dryers can kill the novel coronavirus
“People are thinking hot air kills this virus and are using blow dryers or somehow increasing the room temperature to help prevent the spread, but that will not happen,” Dr. Esper says. “That type of heat is not necessarily going to cause a change in the infectiousness of this particular virus.”
Myth 2: Hot, humid climates protect you from COVID-19
Think those in tropical or desert areas are in the clear? No. Evidence to date actually shows that COVID-19 can be transmitted in all areas, Dr. Esper says. Climate is not a factor.
Myth 3: Mosquitoes can spread coronavirus
Some people believe mosquitoes can spread the virus, but that’s not the case.
“This is a respiratory virus and honestly we’re doing just fine passing it amongst ourselves,” Dr. Esper says. “We don’t need mosquitoes’ help.
“Mosquitoes can transmit disease only by sucking your blood and transferring that blood into someone else,” he notes. So, yes, mosquitoes can transmit diseases like West Nile virus and malaria. But, he says, this virus doesn’t stay in your blood very long so mosquitoes aren’t a threat for transmitting it.
Myth 4: Ibuprofen can make a COVID-19 infection worse
While there was a report from the French Ministry of Health that made headlines recently suggesting ibuprofen can exacerbate a coronavirus infection, Dr. Esper says the evidence doesn’t support that. “We have not seen this in any of our experience here in the United States,” he says.
Myth 5: Only older people are at risk for the novel coronavirus
Guess again, says Dr. Esper. “Younger adults can get infected and can get severe infection — although not nearly as often as in older adults. We are really recognizing that young adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s should still be very vigilant to make sure that they don’t get this virus.”
What’s NOT a myth? Dr. Esper says the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection is by frequently washing your hands, using hand sanitizer and practicing social distancing.