Every day, we’re bombarded by so much information regarding COVID-19 and often much of it is not totally accurate. These false reports range from laughable to downright dangerous. In this article, we sort through the information in order to debunk the most common myths surrounding COVID-19.
1. Can mosquitoes, flies and other insects transmit the virus that causes COVID-19?
No. While some viruses can be transmitted by various insects, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is transmitted by mosquitoes, houseflies or other insects. The virus is not spread in this manner, but rather through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. You can also become infected when you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.
2. Will ingesting bleach or rubbing alcohol prevent COVID-19 or kill the virus in the body?
No. This is one myth that is truly dangerous. While diluted bleach can be used to disinfect surfaces, introducing bleach or other disinfectants into your body can cause severe tissue burns, blood vessel damage, and can even be lethal. Likewise, while alcohol-based disinfectant can be used instead of soap and water to wash your hands, rubbing alcohol should never be used internally.
To protect yourself against COVID-19, disinfect objects and surfaces, especially the ones you touch regularly (cellphones, doorknobs, laptops) with recommended cleaning agents, such as diluted bleach.
3. Can exposure to the sun or high temperatures prevent COVID-19?
Early in the pandemic, various sources claimed that the virus did not spread as much in warm climates. Current evidence shows that COVID-19 can spread in all areas, including areas with hot and humid weather.
Likewise, cold weather and snow cannot kill the virus that causes COVID-19. The normal human body temperature stays around 37°C, regardless of the temperature or weather outside
Studies performed in labs have shown that the virus can survive up to a few days on certain surfaces in a controlled environment. However, most experts believe that the virus will not survive as long when exposed to the environmental elements. To be safe, you should disinfect all surfaces you come in contact with, including outdoor furniture.
4. Can pets transmit COVID-19?
There is currently no evidence to suggest that pets can spread COVID-19 to humans. While there have been a few case reports of pets contracting the virus from their infected owner, the reverse has not been proven.
Experts do not think that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread from the fur or skin of pets to humans. However, pets can carry other diseases that can be transmitted to humans. To be safe, avoid touching other people’s pets, or wash hands thoroughly afterwards you do.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms or are self-isolating due to contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, you should follow similar recommendations around animals as you would around people in these circumstances.
5. Does COVID-19 only infect older people and individuals living with chronic conditions?
One of the most common misconceptions about COVID-19 is that it only strikes the elderly and people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or a compromised immune system. In fact, while these groups may be more at risk of severe complications if they become ill, people of all ages can contract the virus. Children are also not immune. Preliminary evidence suggests that they are just as likely to contract it, but their symptoms tend to be less severe.
Sorting fact from fiction – your pharmacist can help!
Stay informed by referring to trusted sources such as federal and provincial websites. Avoid sharing information on social media if it does not come from a verified and credible source.
If you have a chronic condition, make sure to take your medication as prescribed and keep all your medical appointments. In many cases, measures have been put in place so that you can have your medical appointments remotely.
If you’re not sure about a claim regarding COVID-19, your pharmacist can help you sort fact from fiction!