During these times of uncertainty and lockdown, thousands of pieces of information through countless sources comes to our attention each day. Many of it is verified and true but a majority of information is baseless and useless. COVID-19 has become the most devastating pandemic of all times and mixed pieces of news travel to us each day providing some kind of information about the virus, its transmission, its elimination, and the like.
We have spared this write-up today to take the most common of such information forward and analyze it from the perspective of its truthfulness. Read on…
- Breath-hold test for COVID-19: This test might test your lung capacity but not your infection status. The virus affects your lung’s capacity to exchange gases, so breath holding is of no use to determine the same. Also, people with different activity levels have different lung capacities. It is better to check your SPO2 using a pulse oximeter, if it is below 92% or falls by 6% or more while doing basic exercises or daily chores please consult your doctor.
- COVID-19 is manmade and is spread purposefully: The truth of this is probably never going to be known. There will always be conspiracy theories. It is unwise to comment unless the information is backed up by major approved agencies.
- Hot weather, hot bath kills virus: Scientists are still working on the analysis of the effect of hot weather on the COVID-19 virus, but statistics related to rapid viral transmission in hot continents begs to differ. A hot bath does not stop a person from catching the virus, however a soap water bath may remove the virus from any surface of the body it might exist on when applied in adequate quantity and for at least 20 secs.
- Masks can prevent virus transmission: This is true. Masks prevent and reduce virus transmission. Masks not only help the infected to reduce transmission but also reduce the risk of inhalation of infective quantities of the virus. Good quality triple layered proper masks worn correctly and hygienically can help prevent infection.
- Chinese packages are dangerous: Untrue. The virus survives on any surface for a few days. Packages from China may take more than that in transit and finally reach India.
- Hand washing only from antibacterial soaps: Again not necessarily. Any soap is capable of making your hands virus-free, provided they are washed for 20 seconds and with proper technique. Plus, antibacterial is not effective on the virus.
- The annual flu shot is effective for COVID-19: Untrue, the only help it might provide is to prevent secondary infection. It will also help your doctor formulate a better differential diagnosis due to the same symptoms.
- Hand dryers kill the virus on hand: Untrue, either soap water for 20 seconds or more than 70% alcohol rubs are the only proven deterrents apart from hypochlorite and bleach.
- Thermal scanners detect COVID-19: No; they just detect high temperatures. A person with a sub-clinical presentation may start to present symptoms within hours or a few days of them being infected.
- Pneumonia vaccine kills COVID-19: Untrue, the entire world is in the race of building a vaccine against SARS COVID-19. Most of them are in various phases of their making.
This list is and will remain endless. I suggest each piece of information that you see, need to be double-checked from reliable sources before you start to believe it or apply it conscientiously.
Dr. Gaurav Jain, Consultant – Internal Medicine, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi