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The fear and uncertainty around COVID-19 have given rise to a lot of rumors, half-truths, and myths that are doing the rounds on social media and elsewhere. Here we dispel some of this false information.
Do All People Suffering From Fever Have COVID-19?
No. Fever is a common symptom of a lot of infectious conditions, which include bacterial, viral, and mycobacterial infections, and of non-infectious causes as well.
Although fever is the most common symptom in most of the patients with COVID-19, studies in China showed that fever was present only in 44% of admissions. Similarly, a study in New York showed that only 31% of the patients who were admitted for COVID-19 had a fever. (1)
If you have been exposed to people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, having a fever should prompt consideration for testing for COVID-19.
The novel coronavirus has an incubation period of about 14 days following exposure, with most cases occurring within 4–5 days after initial exposure.
Does COVID-19 Affect Only the Elderly People?
No. COVID-19 affects all age groups. However, middle-aged and older adults are most commonly affected, and older adults are more likely to have severe disease. Several studies have shown that the median age of patients who required admission to the hospital ranged from 49 to 56 years. (2)(3)
In a report from the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 87% of the patients with a confirmed infection were between 30 and 79 years old. (4)
As per current data, the need for hospitalization due to COVID-19 increases with age. Older adults are more likely to develop breathing difficulties, chest pains, and other severe symptoms that may require critical medical assistance, as opposed to the younger lot. (5)
Moreover, a majority of the COVID-19 related hospitalizations are due to the presence of preconditions which are more prevalent in the older populations. (5) Children are just as likely to contract it as adults, but their symptoms tend to be less severe.
Can the COVID-19 Virus Sustain High Temperatures?
It is not yet known whether high temperatures and humidity can affect the spread of COVID-19. What is known is, viruses such as the common cold, and influenza viruses spread more rapidly during the cold weather.
However, the effect of high temperature on the COVID-19 virus is unclear as of now. (6) There is much more to learn about the impact of temperature on the transmissibility and severity of COVID-19, and investigations are ongoing.
Can Drinking Hot Beverages Kill the COVID-19 Virus?
No, there is no evidence to support it. Drinking hot beverages to kill COVID-19 should not be done as it can cause serious injury to the oropharyngeal mucosal layer, leading to ulcerations and burn injuries.
Is It True That Washing Hands With Soap for More Than 20 Seconds Can Kill the COVID-19 Virus?
Yes. Hand hygiene is one of the most important safeguards against contracting any kind of infection, including COVID-19. Experts recommend washing your hands frequently with soap and water for more than 20 seconds, especially after:
- Returning home from a public place
- Using your hands to cover a cough or sneeze
- Using your hands to wipe a nasal drip
- Using your hands to blow your nose
Your hands pick up germs and dirt without you even realizing it, so it is important to sanitize them from time to time when a virus is on the loose. Soap is strong enough to penetrate the walls of the virus and destroy it from within when used long enough.
If you are on the move and do not have a handwashing facility available nearby, you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer instead. The sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol for it to be strong enough to kill the virus.
Using a hand sanitizer may be a convenient alternative when you do not have soap and water available, but it is not a replacement for traditional hand washing, which should be your mainstay intervention against COVID-19.
Can Chloroquine Cure COVID-19?
No. Currently, available evidence suggests that hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine is ineffective. (7) Chloroquine should not be used for either treatment or prophylaxis unless it is taken as a part of trials.
Chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine can affect the heart rhythm (prolong the QT correction), which can lead to life-threatening arrhythmias.
Will Taking Ibuprofen Worsen COVID-19 Symptoms?
No, there is minimal data informing the risk of NSAIDs in the setting of COVID-19. Patients who have been taking NSAIDs for other medical conditions should continue taking these medications unless recommended by their doctor to stop.
The current consensus is using acetaminophen/paracetamol as the preferred medication for fever. However, if ibuprofen/NSAIDs are needed, then it is recommended to use the lowest effective dose.
Can Ginger, Lemon, Honey, and Spices Be Used to Treat COVID-19?
Will Catching COVID-19 Means You Will Have the Infection for Life?
No. Recovery time appears to be around 2 weeks for mild infections and 3–6 weeks for severe disease.
Is Wearing Face Masks Enough Protection Against COVID-19?
No, wearing a face mask alone is not enough to protect against COVID-19. It should be done along with:
- Washing the hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick or confirmed/suspected COVID-19 positive.
- Staying at least 6 feet from other people.
- Avoiding gatherings and crowded places.
- Daily cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, which include tablets, cell phones, desktops, tables, faucets, and doorknobs.
Can COVID-19 Be Transmitted Through Mosquito Bites?
No, the possibility of mosquito transmission of COVID-19 is “nil.”
Are Hand Dryers Effective in Killing the COVID-19 Virus?
No, they are not effective. It is recommended to washing the hand with soap for more than 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Can Vaccines Against Pneumonia Also Protect Against COVID-19?
Vaccines against pneumonia protect against streptococcal pneumonia, which is the most common bacterial pneumonia. COVID-19 is caused by a virus. Therefore, the vaccine against pneumonia will not offer any protection against COVID-19.
Can Taking a Hot Bath Prevent COVID-19?
No, there is no benefit of bathing with hot water compared with using cold water on COVID-19 prevention.
If One Can Hold One’s Breath for More Than 10 seconds, Does It Mean They Do Not Have COVID-19?
No, it is not true. It will not rule out a COVID-19 infection.
Can Consuming Non-Vegetarian Food Increases Your Risk of Contracting COVID-19?
No, you are unlikely to contract the novel coronavirus through the intake of meats and other non-vegetarian products as it is not a foodborne pathogen.
However, food can be contaminated with dirt, germs, and other impurities that can invite various illnesses and infections. So, it is important to wash the food thoroughly before cooking to remove any surface-level grime.
Moreover, you must cook the food at the proper temperature so that the heat reaches to its very core and destroys any amount of virus/ bacteria inside it. This is particularly true for meat items.
The recommended cooking temperature for different categories of meat are:
- 145°F: Whole cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
- 160°F: Ground meats, such as beef and pork
- 165°F: All poultry, including ground chicken and turkey
For How Long Can the COVID-19 Virus Survive On a Surface?
Current evidence shows that the novel coronavirus may survive for several hours to days depending upon the surface it is occupying. The COVID-19 virus can live for: (11)
- 3 days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces
- 4 hours on copper surfaces
- 4 days on wooden surfaces
- 5 days on glass surfaces
- 1 day on cardboard surfaces
Do All People Suffering From COVID-19 Succumb to Death?
No. According to data available from China, Europe, and the United States, only 2%–3% of people who are infected with COVID-19 succumb to death. (12) The majority either have no symptoms or have minimal symptoms, which include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and a change in smell or taste.