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All captions taken from the WHO website are as of May 4, 2020. The organization is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share new findings.
Adding pepper to your soup or other meals DOES NOT prevent or cure COVID-19
Hot peppers in your food, though very tasty, cannot prevent or cure COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is to keep at least 1 metre away from others and to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. It is also beneficial for your general health to maintain a balanced diet, stay well hydrated, exercise regularly and sleep well.
COVID-19 IS NOT transmitted through houseflies
To date, there is no evidence or information to suggest that the COVID-19 virus transmitted through houseflies. The virus that cause COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. You can also become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands. To protect yourself, keep at least 1-metre distance from others and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces. Clean your hands thoroughly and often and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19
Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.
COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.
Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees DOES NOT prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19. To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or any other lung disease
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you have the virus producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test. You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.
You can recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Catching the new coronavirus DOES NOT mean you will have it for life
Most of the people who catch COVID-19 can recover and eliminate the virus from their bodies. If you catch the disease, make sure you treat your symptoms. If you have cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early – but call your health facility by telephone first. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.
Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous
Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of health problems.
or another disinfectant into your body WILL NOT protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous
Do not under any circumstance spray or introduce bleach or any other disinfectant into your body. These substances can be poisonous if ingested and cause irritation and damage to your skin and eyes.
Bleach and disinfectant should be used carefully to disinfect surfaces only. Remember to keep chlorine (bleach) and other disinfectants out of reach of children.
Drinking methanol, ethanol or bleach DOES NOT prevent or cure COVID-19 and can be extremely dangerous
Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are poisons. Drinking them can lead to disability and death. Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are sometimes used in cleaning products to kill the virus on surfaces – however you should never drink them. They will not kill the virus in your body and they will harm your internal organs.
To protect yourself against COVID-19, disinfect objects and surfaces, especially the ones you touch regularly. You can use diluted bleach or alcohol for that. Make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by maintaining physical distance of at least 1 metre from others and frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus
There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C (97.7°F) to 37°C (98.6°F), regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.
Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease
Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C (97.7°F) to 37°C (98.6°F), regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.
To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.
Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?
No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. 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. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.
Ultra-violet (UV) lamps should not be used to disinfect hands or other areas of your skin
UV radiation can cause skin irritation and damage your eyes. Cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing your hands with soap and water are the most effective ways to remove the virus.
How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?
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.
Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?
No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus. 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.
Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.
Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). 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.
Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?
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.
Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.
For more information on prevention measures and guidelines on the virus, visit the WHO website.
A new study has found further evidence of a correlation between severe cases of COVID-19 and brain complications, but researchers say they still aren't sure whether those complications are directly caused by the disease.
The preliminary study, billed as the first nationwide survey of the neurological complications of the disease, was published in The Lancet Psychiatry this week.
Over the course of three weeks in April, researchers surveyed 153 hospitalized patients in the U.K. who had both a new confirmed or probable COVID-19 diagnosis and a new neurological or psychiatric diagnosis.
Researchers found that, among the 125 patients with complete medical records, 57 had a stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain and 39 had an altered mental state. Among the patients with an altered mental state, 10 of the patients had developed psychosis – a "break with reality" – and seven had encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.
The patients ranged from 23 to 94 years old. While strokes were more common in older patients, researchers reported that patients experienced an altered mental state across age groups.
"Whilst an altered mental state was being reported by some clinicians, we were surprised to identify quite so many cases, particularly in younger patients, and by the breadth of clinical syndromes," Dr. Benedict Michael, who led the study for the University of Liverpool, said in a press release.
19, said Dr. Babak Jahromi, a neurosurgeon at Northwestern Medicine.
"While we’ve learnt over the past few months that hospitalized COVID-19 patients have a higher risk of suffering ischemic strokes, the current study adds to that picture by also showing neuropsychiatric disorders in hospitalized COVID-19 patients The study, though small, helps paint a larger picture of the many types of neurological effects of COVID-," Jahromi said.
The study is the most recent in more than 300 published works looking into a possible connection between COVID-19 and neurological conditions. Several of the studies, including one in China and one in France, found that coronavirus patients frequently reported neurological symptoms. In other reports, autopsies on coronavirus patients in Germany found inflammation in the brain, and autopsies on patients in Massachusetts detected low levels of the virus in the brain.
In the U.S., news of a possible link between severe COVID-19 and brain complications gained momentum in April, when New York City doctors reported a surge in strokes in younger patients. Over a two-week period, Mount Sinai doctors reported five patients under the age of 50 who suffered large vessel strokes, according to a letter they published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Given the prevalence of the coronavirus worldwide, it's possible that the correlation between severe COVID-19 and brain complications is merely coincidental, said Dr. Robert Stevens, who specializes in neurological critical care at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
"We're seeing this interesting association, but it’s very difficult to say, based on this type of result, that COVID causes or explains these neurological symptoms," Stevens said. Especially with regard to the patients that developed psychosis, "it's really, really important, especially in these times when people are living in isolation and social distancing, there are plenty of reasons for people to lose it."
Stevens said the new Lancet study was valuable in that it marks the first systematic effort to characterize neurological and psychiatric conditions in patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. It also sparks more questions for future studies, Stevens said. Who is most susceptible to neurological or psychiatric complications? If the coronavirus is causing brain complications, how is that happening – through direct invasion of the cells, or by triggering a harmful, inflammatory immune response?
If the coronavirus does cause brain complications, that wouldn't be surprising, Stevens said. Other viral diseases, such as Zika and HIV, are also known to cause brain complications. Several studies have also documented that diseases caused by other coronaviruses – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – caused brain complications.
"It would not be unexpected," Stevens said. "But I think that’s going to turn out to be a relatively rare occurrence."
Stevens said he and his team at Johns Hopkins is working with 80 sites worldwide to enroll patients in observational study on the effects of COVID-19 over time.
"If there is indeed a link between COVID and serious complications like stroke and brain hemorrhage, the bigger question is – what are the longer-term effects?" he said. "In the next six to 12 months, we should know a lot more."
The authors of the study said their work should alert clinicians to the possibility of patients with COVID-19 developing neurological and psychiatric complications.