COVID-19 Myth Busters

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In the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a wave of misinformation related to the virus. Here at CDHF, we’re committed to doing our part in promoting facts and science and helping to debunk the misinformation that is spreading around the globe. We have gathered some myth busting facts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Canada to help get you the information you need to stay safe.  We will be updating as we learn more about this virus and the situation evolves.  

FACT: You cannot “boost” your immune system by suddenly changing your diet or adding any particular food.

There is no supplement, vitamin or natural health product that will prevent you from catching COVID-19. Making sure you’re keeping up with handwashing, good hygiene practices and social distancing is the most effective way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 .

FACT: You cannot take a microbiome test to tell you what supplements to take to help boost your immune system.

You DO NOT need a microbiome test to tell you what to eat or what supplements to take. There is no evidence to support that the test recommendations can improve your immunity. Health Canada has not approved any product to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. Selling unauthorized health products or making false or misleading claims to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19 is illegal in Canada. Health Canada is taking this matter very seriously and are taking action to stop this activity.

FACT: People of ALL AGES can be infected by COVID-19.

Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. HOWEVER, people of all ages should take steps to protect themselves from the virus. To truly flatten the curve, everyone should be following good hand hygiene and practicing social distancing.

FACT: Gargling with saltwater, taking vitamins or heating your nasal passage will NOT eliminate the virus or keep it from reaching your lungs.

Let us be clear, there is NO known cure for coronavirus. Scientists are trying to find treatments and vaccines for the virus, and health care professionals are working to stop the spread of misinformation. Learn more at:

FACT: Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.

There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other viruses. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently washing your hands and social distancing. Learn more at:  

FACT: COVID-19 can be transmitted in ALL areas, including areas with hot and humid weather.

Research to date suggests that regardless of climate, you should be adopting protective measures if you live in or travelling to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently washing your hands, and social distancing. By keeping good hygiene, you can eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Learn more at:

FACT: The WHO recommends you should only be wearing masks in specific cases.

If you have a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, you should wear a mask and seek medical care. If you do not have these symptoms, you do not need to wear a mask. There is no evidence that they protect people that are not sick. HOWEVER, If you are healthy and are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection – then you SHOULD wear a mask, whenever you are in the same room as that person. Masks are effective ONLY when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly. Learn more at:

FACT: COVID-19 is NOT airborne!

The virus the causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces.

You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within 1 metre of a person who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands. Protect yourself by social distancing (keeping 6ft apart!), disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently, and regularly clean your hands thoroughly!

FACT: Getting the coronavirus DOES NOT mean you will have it for life.

Most of the people who get COVID-19 can recover and eliminate the virus from their bodies. If you have a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early – but call your health facility by telephone first. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

FACT: Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or any other lung disease.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you have the virus producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test.  You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.

FACT: Cats and Dogs cannot spread the Coronavirus

There is little evidence to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can infect cats and dogs. However, in Hong Kong, a Pomeranian whose owner had COVID-19 also contracted the virus. The dog did not display any symptoms.

Scientists are debating the importance of this case to the outbreak. For instance, Prof. Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, says: “We need to find out more, but we don’t need to panic — I doubt it could spread to another dog or a human because of the low levels of the virus. The real driver of the outbreak is humans.”

Fact: Parcels from China cannot spread coronavirus

From previous research into similar coronaviruses, including those that cause SARS and MERS and are similar to SARS-CoV-2, scientists believe that the virus cannot survive on letters or packages for an extended period of time.

The CDC explain that “because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.”


References:

Health Canada, 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html#f

World Health Organization, 2020. When and how to use masks. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

Medical News Today, 2020. Coronavirus myths explored. Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/coronavirus-myths-explored


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