The one thing certain people love to do when something of huge significance happens is spread fake news through social media! And such practices have been rampant during the COVID pandemic. This has resulted in common people developing many misconceptions about the virus and some of these myths can actually be very dangerous.
Let us look at some prevalent misconceptions about COVID-19 –
Myth 1: Vitamins and Minerals are COVID-curing medicines
Fact: Vitamins and mineral supplements can help to boost your health in many ways. They facilitate many of your physical functions. But there is no proof that popping vitamin or mineral tablets will cure COVID quickly.
Myth 2: Ayurveda has a cure for COVID
Fact: Many Ayurvedic plants such as Ashwagandha, ginger, or turmeric can help to increase your immunity. But this cannot happen instantly. Besides, immunity is a complex system with multiple parts. The ingredients present in these plants improve some parts of your immunity over many months of consumption when taken with a healthy diet. So Ayurveda does not have a miracle cure for COVID.
Myth 3: Wearing a mask in a gym is safe
Fact: Ever since gyms opened their doors again, in many places it is mandatory to wear a mask while working out. But this could pose a serious threat to your health. Masks limit the amount of oxygen you take in and as you know, we get out of breath while exercising and need more air than usual. Masks may not even protect you from COVID in the gyms because they get wet from all the sweat. Micro-organisms grow on sweat-drenched masks and could give you serious skin infections.
Myth 4: Shoes are not likely to spread COVID
Fact: Since people visualize the coronavirus floating in the air before entering our noses and mouths, many believe that shoes are safe because they are far away from the line of a sneeze or a cough. But actually, if you step on someone’s spittle and that person has COVID then your shoes will get infected. Washing or disinfecting shoes is a must before taking them into the home.
Myth 5: Taking antibiotics can help against COVID
Fact: Though there is some evidence that certain kinds of antibiotics can help against some symptoms of COVID, self-prescribing can be dangerous. Antibiotics are harsh on your body and should only be taken when recommended by a physician. Remember, COVID is caused by a virus and antibiotics kill bacteria. So they cannot cure a COVID infection.
Myth 6: Gargling with warm water can cure COVID
Fact: No reputed health agency anywhere in the world has confirmed this claim. The coronavirus on entering the respiratory tract immediately attaches itself to our cells and uses the cells to replicate itself. It does not hang around inside your throat that it can be killed by warm water, vinegar or cough syrup. At most gargling can bring relief when you are suffering from a sore throat.
Myth 7: The COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe because they were prepared in a hurry.
Fact: A common rumor going around is that since it takes years to prepare a vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine must be unsafe because it was created in less than a year. The real reason why so many pharmaceutical companies have been able to invent COVID vaccines so rapidly is that governments across the world funded and supported them. That is why they were able to proceed on a war-footing. Earlier, scientists had to constantly struggle to receive funding, and often their research would be shut down by indifferent governments and hospitals.
Besides, every COVID vaccine has been tested on millions of people and only when the reports came back satisfactory, was the decision to launch taken.
Myth 8: The coronavirus vaccine is dangerous because it will inject the virus into our bodies.
Fact: This is how vaccination works and we have already been vaccinated against killer diseases like TB, Hepatitis, tetanus, polio, measles, etc. A very small dose of the virus will be injected into your bloodstream so that your immunity is able to produce antibodies. These antibodies will remember the virus and if you are exposed to it in the future, your immunity will be able to immediately destroy the virus. Fever after receiving the COVID vaccine is a good sign, it means your body is learning to fight the virus.
Myth 9: Once you are administered the coronavirus vaccine, you won’t need masks.
Fact: It will take quite some time for the entire population of India to get the Coronavirus vaccine. We don’t know when vaccination will create herd immunity. We also don’t know how long the immunity will last. So it is safe to assume that we will have to continue wearing masks for many months to come.
Myth 10: You don’t actually need 2 shots.
Fact: Every coronavirus update has stated the need of 2 doses. In fact, Most of the COVID-19 vaccine producers have said that their vaccines reached more than 95% effectiveness only after 2 doses were administered in a span of a few weeks.
Myth 11: The COVID vaccine will change your DNA.
Fact: It takes thousands of years of evolution for DNA to be changed. The coronavirus vaccine utilizing the mRNA technology provides your cells with instructions on how to recognize the Coronavirus and destroy it.
Myth 12: The coronavirus vaccine immunity will last a lifetime.
Fact: Unfortunately, not enough is known about how long the immunity from these vaccines will last. It could be yearlong like pneumonia shots, or life-long like polio or TB vaccines. Once vaccination is rolled out, more data will be collected.
Myth 13: COVID-19 vaccine side effects are more dangerous than COVID symptoms and may make women sterile.
Fact: These are baseless rumors spread on social media sites and a little bit of fact-checking shows that none of the numerous reports on the vaccines or any coronavirus update mention a link between the COVID vaccine and sterility. And symptoms like fever and weakness after a vaccine jab are normal.
Why misconceptions are dangerous
If people begin to believe COVID myths, then they will not take the right action at the right time. If they test positive, instead of seeking a doctor’s advice or opting for hospitalization, they may want to try medicines or methods that can’t actually cure them. Valuable time will be wasted and lives could be lost.
Draw your information and knowledge from reputed sources. If you receive random COVID information in the form of messages from unverifiable sources, do not share or forward without confirming the news first. We all have to play a proactive part in preventing this menace.