Be the one to stop these health myths going viral!
By Ashima Sethi and Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
When diseases go viral, so do the misinformation memes. In these trying times where we’re haunted by paranoia and fake news, who you gonna call? The Masala Mythbusters of course! We’re here to set the record straight.
1) FACE MASKS WILL PROTECT YOU
Debunked: The BTS may be bristling with face masks, but what do they do besides blocking your Face ID? Johns Hopkins Medicine says that surgical masks are mostly ineffective as they’re too loose. However, it’s recommended you wear them if you’re sick as they can prevent transmission to others. Tightly-fitting N-95 masks are a better option but make sure to dispose of them after use. Regardless, wear your mask the right way – that WhatsApp image going viral about wearing your mask inside-out won’t protect your face and will, in fact, make you lose face in front of those in the know.
2) PETS AND OTHER ANIMALS CAN SPREAD COVID-19
Debunked: Love in the time of coronavirus is tough – not only do we worry about our friends and family, but our furry family members as well. Recently, a rumoured story surfaced about a dog in Hong Kong testing ‘weak positive’ for COVID-19 but the situation remains under investigation. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) pets and animals can’t be infected with the same strain of coronavirus that affects humans, so the disease can’t be passed on from us to them or vice versa. However, just to be safe, always wash your hands before and after interacting with your pets.
3) THERMAL SCANNERS CAN DETECT COVID-19
Debunked: Electronic thermal scanners may give us a warm feeling of comfort (without that actual warm feeling) but all they do is detect people with high temperatures. According to the WHO, it takes between 2-10 days for those infected to develop a fever, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that many infected have shown “little to no symptoms.” The lesson is, always take proper precautions and avoid crowds if possible.
4) IT’S NOT SAFE TO RECEIVE LETTERS OR PACKAGES FROM CHINA
Debunked: the WHO have declared that receiving letters or packages from a COVID-19 hot zone will not put you at risk of contracting the illness. From their analysis, the virus cannot survive long on objects, so no, you do not have to overthink your online orders from platforms like Lazada, Shopee, and Alibaba.
5) HOME REMEDIES CAN HELP PREVENT INFECTION
Debunked: Do not believe the Whatsapp blasts you’ve received from paranoid relatives with ‘scientifically proven home remedies’ that can fight COVID-19. Although raw garlic has antimicrobial properties, there’s no evidence that this pungent herb will protect you. Similarly, slathering sesame and coconut oil on your skin will not kill the virus, and rinsing your nose and gargling with salt water isn’t going to help either. Sorry!
6) ANTIBIOTICS ARE EFFECTIVE
Debunked: Antibiotics only work against bacteria and are ineffective against viruses of any kind. As COVID-19 is a virus, antibiotics are useless as a means of prevention or treatment. There is currently no over-the-counter medication available that can treat the illness, so those who experience severe symptoms should visit the hospital for appropriate care. Clinical trials for a vaccine are currently underway, but experts have yet to announce when we can expect one.
7) COVID-19 IS A DEATH SENTENCE
Debunked: Despite the scaremongering being carried out by mainstream media, it’s estimated that 81 percent of people infected with the illness will only experience mild symptoms and only 2.3 percent of people will die from the virus. People most at risk remain those with underlying health condition that can lead to complications.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- If you’re falling sick, isolate yourself and seek medical care early
- Be critical of the news you hear and read, a lot of the information can be easily misinterpreted
- The worst thing to come out of the outbreak is the rise in racism and xenophobia. Remember, fear of COVID-19 is no excuse to discriminate