Fake news about Covid-19 is spreading quickly online, and it is a massive hindrance in the global fight against the new coronavirus. In fact, some false news stories are getting more views and shares than vital public health messages posted by the NHS. And when important medical advice is missed, undermined or buried under misinformation, it puts millions of lives at risk.
That’s why last month, the UK Department for International Development pledged £500,000 in support of the H2H Network, which challenges fake news about Covid-19. To help you sort the fact from the fiction, we’ve called out the top five myths that are currently circulating about Covid-19.
1) If you don’t have symptoms, you don’t have the virus.
You could have Covid-19 despite not showing any symptoms. Indeed, research conducted in China in January found that 86 per cent of Covid-19 cases were either asymptomatic or exhibited only very mild symptoms. It’s therefore entirely possible that you could have the virus and not even know it.
Importantly, if you have Covid-19, you are still contagious even if you have no symptoms. As such, you could unknowingly pass it on to someone else, too. This is one of the reasons why the Covid-19 pandemic has spread across the globe so rapidly. It’s also why it’s important to follow current UK government advice and stay indoors whether you’re experiencing symptoms or not.
2) Covid-19 only affects older people.
Young people are not immune to Covid-19. In March 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made it clear that people of all ages can catch the virus. It is true that Covid-19 tends to cause serious medical problems in older people or those with underlying health problems.
Sadly, however, deaths of babies, as well as people in their teens, twenties and thirties, have been reported across the world. Many have been described as fit and healthy prior to infection. So no matter how invincible you feel, you need to be aware of the risks that this virus poses to all of us.
3) Antibiotics are effective against Covid-19.
Antibiotics do not kill viruses. They are only effective against bacterial infections. That’s why viruses such as the common flu are not treated with antibiotics. Likewise, because Covid-19 is a viral infection and not caused by bacteria, it cannot be prevented or cured by antibiotics. If you do require hospitalisation for Covid-19, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
However, antibiotics are only used to treat any accompanying bacterial infection you may have or may be at risk of. They are not used to treat the virus itself. Currently, there is no specific medicine recommended for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19.
4) Drinking alcohol protects you against Covid-19.
While it would be nice if Covid-19 could be cured by a pint or a nice glass of red, unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, research has shown that binge drinking and frequent alcohol consumption can actually weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses.
This means overindulging in your favourite tipple is more likely to do more harm than good during the pandemic.
5) Heat can kill the virus.
Rumours have circulated that Covid-19 can’t survive in temperatures higher than 25 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, even if the British weather surprises us with the hottest of summers, there’s no evidence that sun exposure or humid conditions prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Indeed, many countries that experience hot, humid climates or endless sunny days have fallen victim to the new coronavirus.
How to protect yourself from Covid-19
While antibiotics, alcohol or heat won't help us win the war against Covid-19, there are some ways we can fight the virus. Regularly washing your hands is one of the most effective. Public Health England also recommends using a hand sanitiser if you’re out and about with no access to soap and water.
Hand sanitisers are one of the most simple and convenient ways to protect yourself and others from Covid-19. Your Sanitiser is an affordable and super effective way of defending yourself against virus cells. It’s packed full of skin-loving ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, too. Pick up your bottle and protect yourself today.