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5 Myths vs. Facts About COVID-19
Source: Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Healthline, Cleveland Clinic, Healthline, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Harvard Health
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With the abundance of information about COVID-19 widely circulating and rapidly changing, it is important to be aware of the myths vs. the facts. Here are five common myths about COVID-19 and the scientific facts.
- Myth: COVID-19 is just like the flu.
Fact: While COVID-19 and the flu share similar symptoms, several major factors differentiate the two. First, the mortality rate for the seasonal flu is approximately 0.1% while the mortality rate for COVID-19 is approximately 3% to 4%. Second, an annual vaccine is available for the seasonal flu, and antiviral medications are available to help lessen the severity and duration of symptoms; however, neither a vaccine nor an antiviral medication is currently available for COVID-19. Third, the novel coronavirus spreads more easily than the typical seasonal flu. These three factors demonstrate that COVID-19 is more alarming and threatening than the seasonal flu.
- Myth: COVID-19 can be prevented or treated by swallowing, injecting, or bathing in bleach, disinfectants, or rubbing alcohol.
Fact: Bleach and disinfectants should never be ingested, injected, or placed on the skin. These substances are highly toxic to the body and irritate the skin. Although hand sanitizers contain alcohol, they are specifically formulated for safe use on the skin. Bleach and disinfectants should only be used to disinfect surfaces.
- Myth: COVID-19 was created in a lab and released by people.
Fact: The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is new to humans, but the virus most likely originated from an animal. Occasionally, common viruses in animals, such as bats, pigs or birds, undergo changes that allow them to be passed to humans. Other coronaviruses that have “made the jump” from animals to humans include the viruses that cause Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
- Myth: COVID-19 only affects the elderly.
Fact: While those over the age of 60 are at a higher risk for complications than the general population, anyone at any age can get COVID-19, and even young people can experience complications and become critically ill. COVID-19 does not discriminate; everyone should be vigilant in protecting themselves from the virus.
- Myth: Ibuprofen should not be taken to help treat symptoms of COVID-19.
Fact: Some French physicians initially advised against using ibuprofen to treat COVID-19 symptoms (fever and body aches) because it appeared to cause complications in otherwise healthy individuals. However, this was based on observations, not scientific studies. Similar observations have not been made in the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that either acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to treat COVID-19 symptoms.