10 Coronavirus Health Myths, Fact Checked

Dr. Amir Petrus Dawood

Myth 1: Wearing a medical mask can cause CO2 intoxication or oxygen deficiency

Truth: Medical face masks have been in use since at least the 1890s, and disposable masks since the 1930s. In that time, face masks have not been shown to restrict the amount of oxygen your body gets or increase the amount of carbon dioxide you breathe in.

Myth 2: 5G caused COVID-19

Truth: 5G is not responsible for causing coronavirus.

Coronaviruses have been around for decades, long before the advent of the wireless networks we have today. Neither is there any documented link between cellphones, including 5G phones, and cancer -- they do not produce the kind of energy that directly damages cells.

Myth 3: The coronavirus was created by humans and deliberately released into the world

Truth: Scientists say there is no legitimate proof of this theory. They acknowledge that SARS-CoV-2 (the official name of this virus) is similar to SARS-CoV, the virus that caused the SARS outbreak from 2002 to 2003.

Myth 4: You should not go to the ER for an emergency medical issue because you might contract the coronavirus

Truth: If you have an emergency medical issue, going to the ER is safer than not going.

Myth 5: Using a face mask will completely protect you from getting the coronavirus

Truth: From what we know right now, face masks and facial coverings are primarily to prevent the aerosol spray created by your coughing or sneezing from getting into someone else’s nose and mouth. The current wisdom is to wear a face mask to protect others around you from getting the virus.

Myth 6: If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds, you do not have a coronavirus infection

Truth: While it’s possible for the coronavirus to cause fibrosis, holding your breath is not a suitable at-home “test” to determine if you have lung damage. To get a proper diagnosis, you’d need a variety of tests performed by your doctor. And, if you’re having difficulty breathing, from coronavirus or anything else, you should call your healthcare provider.

Myth 7: Drinking water will flush the virus from your mouth

Truth: It is always smart to stay well hydrated, whether you are sick or not. But, according to the WHO, there’s no evidence that drinking water can protect you from getting the coronavirus. Neither will gargling with salt water or vinegar. And in the same vein, flushing your nose with saline spray won’t protect you either.

Myth 8: Warm weather will get rid of the coronavirus

Truth: According to the WHO, the coronavirus can be transmitted in all areas of the globe, including hot climates. It won’t just go away in the Northern Hemisphere as the weather gets warmer in spring and summer, experts say. We do not yet know if COVID-19 is a seasonal virus like influenza is, meaning it loses the ability to infect cells as the temperature rises.

Myth 9: Garlic or herbs will cure or protect you from the coronavirus

Truth: While garlic is good for your immune system, it can’t protect you from being infected with the coronavirus, according to the WHO. The same goes for DIY herbal tea.

Myth 10: Drinking, injecting or spraying alcohol or bleach on your body will protect you from getting coronavirus

Truth: The WHO says that not only can ingesting or spraying bleach, ethanol or methanol on your body harm your mucous membranes, it won’t protect you from getting the coronavirus. Furthermore, you should never drink or inject rubbing alcohol or bleach to protect yourself -- doing either can cause serious health problems and even death

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