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WHO Debunks 13 Dangerous Novel Coronavirus Myths

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Photo: Reuters

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But now, in an attempt to clamp down on these myths, the WHO has debunked 13 of the main rumors - including spraying yourself with alcohol and using hand dryers to kill the bug.

It comes as China's latest figures show 71,810 cases of the illness and 1,775 deaths - most of them in Hubei.

WHO's guidance follows warnings from a coronavirus expert - who said the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories could trigger more cases in the UK.

Professor Paul Hunter, of the University of East Anglia's (UEA) Norwich Medical School, said fake news leads to bad advice and people taking "greater risks" during health crises.

1. Hand Dryers Will Not Kill Coronavirus

Rumors had circulated that using hot air from a hand-dryer for 30 seconds could kill the virus if it was on your hands.

But, WHO says this isn't true and won't kill the new strain 2019-nCoV - now dubbed Covid-19.

"To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water," they said.

"Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer."

2. UV Lamps Should Not Be Used

WHO has urged people not to use UV lamps to sterilize hands or other areas of skin in a bid to beat coronavirus.

The organization said: "UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation."

3. Thermal Scanners Won't Always Detect Coronavirus

Thermal scanners are currently being used at airports, train stations and other public places to detect those with a high temperature.

But while these scanners after effective in detecting people who have developed a fever because of infection with the new coronavirus - it won't pick up those yet to display symptoms.

WHO said: "Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.

"However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever.

"This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever."

4. Spraying Alcohol over Your Body Won't Work

WHO has slammed people who claim spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will kill viruses that have already entered your body.

Instead, they say: "Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth).

"Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations."

5. Letters & Packages from China Are Safe

Contrary to assumptions, it is actually safe to receive packages from China.

"People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus," WHO said.

"From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages."

6. Pets Can't Get Coronavirus

Many people have been left worrying that their furry friends might also be at risk of getting coronavirus.

However, WHO said: "At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus.

"However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.

"This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans."

7. Pneumonia Vaccines Won't Protect You

According to WHO, it is false for people to say that pneumonia vaccines will protect you against coronavirus.

Vaccines for COVID-19 are still in the making and are unlikely to be finished in time to curb the current outbreak.

"Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus," WHO said.

"The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

"Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health."

8. Rinsing Your Nose with Saline Won't Prevent Infection

There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus, WHO said.

"There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold," the organization adds.

"However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections."

9. Gargling Mouthwash Won't Protect You

Mouthwash cannot protect you from infection with the new coronavirus.

WHO said: "There is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new coronavirus.

"Some brands of mouthwash can eliminate certain microbes for a few minutes in the saliva in your mouth. However, this does not mean they protect you from 2019-nCoV infection."

10. Eating Garlic Won't Prevent Infection

While eating garlic can help to treat the common cold, it won't stop you from being infected with coronavirus.

"Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties," WHO said.

"However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus."

11. Sesame Oil Won't Block the New Coronavirus

Sesame oil is a staple in Asian cooking - but that's about all it's good for.

"Sesame oil does not kill the new coronavirus", WHO warns.

"There are some chemical disinfectants that can kill the 2019-nCoV on surfaces.

"These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75% ethanol, peracetic acid, and chloroform.

"However, they have little or no impact on the virus if you put them on the skin or under your nose. It can even be dangerous to put these chemicals on your skin."

12. Young People Can Get Coronavirus

Young people are also at risk of COVID-19, despite patterns showing the elderly are struck more often.

"People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)," WHO said.

"Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

"WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene."

13. Antibiotics Won't Kill Coronavirus

COVID-19 is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

WHO said: "No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

"The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

"However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible."

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Programs 9/23/21