This article intends to address the common myths and misconceptions about COVID-19 in the country. Here are some common questions and their answers about COVID-19’s prevention, symptoms, treatment and transmission.
Q 1. Do people of all ages, areas or religion get infected by COVID-19?
No-one is immune to COVID-19. People of any age, religion, ethnicity, or gender have an equal chance of contracting and transmitting COVID-19. Older people or people with pre-existing health conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease seem to be more prone to becoming severely ill with the virus.
Do not hesitate to talk with your physician if you have any questions about your health. Watch the video titled ‘How to protect yourself against COVID-19’ to learn more about how COVID-19 spreads. Also see the YouTube channel of the World Health Organization to learn more about the Novel Coronavirus.
Q 2. Do people recover from COVID-19?
Most people who contract COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms and can recover with simple supportive healthcare in addition to the serious coronavirus cases. However, the transmission of virus can be slowed down if we follow the preventive measures. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash them with soap and water, wear a face mask and follow social distancing guidelines. For details you can refer the WHO guidelines here.
Along with the WHO, the Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services Regulations & Coordination has produced and updated an FAQ section on COVID-19 specific web portal. Click here to learn more.
Q 3. Does prolonged use of medical masks inflict harm?
The continuous use of a facemask can be uncomfortable, but it does not lead towards CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency. Visit this link for more information on prolonged use of medical masks.
Q 4. Does climate or cold weather affect the COVID-19?
COVID-19 can be transmitted in any climate including very cold, very hot or humid. There is no reason for us to believe that any climate or cold weather can kill COVID-19. As normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather therefore the only way to combat this virus is to follow the precautionary mechanisms. Learn more about hot and humid climates, sun exposure and cold weather and snow.
Q 5. Does taking bath with hot water ward off COVID-19?
No. Taking a bath with hot water will not ward off COVID-19. As mentioned above, your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands, and respecting other preventative measures. By doing this, you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Learn more about this myth and COVID-19 preventive measures.
Q 6. Do the products exported from China or other countries contain the virus?
The Government of Pakistan has clarified that it is perfectly safe to use products that are manufactured and then exported from China. People who receive letters or packages from abroad are not at risk of contracting COVID-19, as mentioned by the WHO, the virus does not survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels. As per scientific studies of WHO, the SARS-COV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard. See the detailed result of these studies on WHO’s website.
Q 7. Do vitamins and mineral supplements help cure COVID-19?
Vitamin and mineral supplements promote and nurture the immune system. The regular intake of vitamin and mineral supplements such as vitamins D and C and zinc will help boost your level of immunity however there is currently no guidance on the use of supplements as a treatment of COVID-19.
Q 8. Does drinking lemon-induced water prevent COVID-19?
We have seen viral posts on social media claiming that drinking warm water with lemon extract or turmeric prevents COVID-19. According to WHO, there is no scientific evidence that lemon/turmeric prevents COVID-19. In general, however, WHO recommends consuming adequate fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. If you have symptoms, call your health-care provider or COVID-19 hotline (1166) for assistance.
Q 9. Do the consumption of garlic, black pepper, honey and ginger prevent COVID-19?
The consumption of specific food items such as garlic, black pepper, honey and ginger do not protect from COVID-19. According to WHO, there is no scientific evidence that ginger, black pepper, honey and garlic protect from COVID-19 infection. In general, however, some spices are considered to have properties that may be beneficial for health.
Q 10. Does rinsing nose with Saline help prevent COVID-19?
People hold the belief that regularly rinsing the nose with saline or salt water can protect them from contracting COVID-19, however, this has not been supported by the scientific evidence. Learn more about this myth on WHO’s website.
Q 11. Does gargling with salt-water or mouthwash protect from COVID-19?
Gargling with salt-water does not stop COVID-19. While gargling is a popular home remedy for a sore throat, there is no evidence to suggest that it would prevent COVID-19. Also, there is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the virus as suggested by WHO.
Q 12. Do medicinal plants such as senna leaves help treat COVID-19?
WHO recognizes that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many benefits, however scientists have not yet supported usage of any medicinal plants such as senna leaves or sana makki treatment to cure COVID-19.
Q 13. Does drinking a lot of water prevent COVID-19?
For maintaining overall health and well-being, drinking sufficient amount of water matters, however, it does not protect from COVID-19. Learn more about this myth on World Health Organization Philippines’s twitter news feed.
Q 14. Does COVID-19 spread through the shoes we wear?
It is highly unlikely that COVID-19 spreads through shoes. However, WHO advices to take precaution in this regard to leave your shoes at the entrance of your home so that dirt or any other waste do not enter your home carried by the sole of your shoes. This advice is particularly beneficial for people having small children who crawl or play on the floors.
Q 15. Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you from COVID-19?
No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection from COVID-19. Learn more about this myth on WHO’s website.
Q 16. Does spraying disinfectant into your body protect you against COVID-19?
No. The usage of disinfectant spray or rubbing liquid bleach on your body will not protect you against COVID-19. In fact, these chemical substances can damage your skin. Bleach and disinfectant should only be used carefully to disinfect surfaces and floors only. Drinking disinfectant (or bleach) can be extremely dangerous for your health.
Q 17. Do pets at home or livestock help spread COVID-19?
As per the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is still under discussion. Therefore, it is better to wash your hands with soap and water after contacting with the animals. In the rural communities, many families raise dairy and beef cattle at their home, they should also follow the COVID-19 preventive protocols as published by WHO and Government of Pakistan. Treat pet animals or cattle as you treat other human family members and do not let animals interact with people outside the household. Learn more about this on WHO’s twitter account.
Q 18. Does COVID-19 transmit through houseflies and mosquito bites?
At present, there is no scientific evidence or information available to suggest that the COVID-19 virus transmit through houseflies or mosquito bites. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. You can also become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands. To protect yourself, we should follow the COVID-19 preventive measures.
Q 19. Do 5G Mobile networks help spread COVID-19?
5G mobile networks do not play any role in transmission of COVID-19. As we know that COVID-19 transmits through respiratory droplets when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or speaks. It should also be noted that COVID-19 or another virus cannot travel on radio waves or mobile networks. Learn more about this on WHO’s website.
Q 20. Do the thermal scanners detect COVID-19?
Thermal scanners are beneficial in detecting people who have a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature). However, these scanners cannot identify people who are infected with COVID-19. As there can be many reasons for running a fever. If you have been identified as having a high fever, consult your doctor immediately.
If symptoms become severe, you should immediately seek medical attention, preferably over the Government’s Sehat Tahaffuz's hotline, 1166. This number is active from 8 am to 12 midnight every day, and it is available in Urdu and Pashto languages.
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