COVID-19: Facts and Fiction

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The best thing you can do during uncertain times is seek out reliable sources of information. That applies to the COVID-19 outbreak, so here are health alerts that we receive from our doctors, as well as myths we want to dispel about coronavirus.


COVID-19 – Health Update from the Experts:
Heart and Kidney Patients Should Keep Taking Their Medicines

An example of a potentially lethal misconception is patients who take renin-angiotensin system (RAS) blockers, particularly angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers (ARBs) are more likely to contract the virus. However, there is little credible or consistent evidence to back up this concern. Read more.


 

Myth: COVID-19 is just like a bad flu.

Truth: While it is true that the symptoms are very similar (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath), there are very important differences.  For instance, the mortality rate appears to be higher – the average flu season mortality rate is 0.1%, whereas COVID-19 is estimated to be between 1 to 3%.

Myth: COVID-19 only affects old people, so I don’t have to worry.

Truth: The US Centers for Disease Control advised that people who are 65 and older are considered at “higher risk” of experiencing a severe case of COVID-19.  However, people who have underlying health conditions are also at risk – these include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and lung disease.

Also, due to the contagiousness of the virus, it is incumbent on all of us to try to stem the spread of the disease by practicing good health habits like washing your hands and not touching your face.

Myth: I can go get tested for COVID-19 by just going to the hospital or doctor.

Truth: At this time, doctors are only testing people for the virus if they meet certain criteria. If you are concerned that you may have COVID-19, the best thing to do would be to call your doctor and they will instruct you as to what you should do next.

Myth: Children cannot catch COVID-19.

Truth: There is evidence that although children may get milder forms of COVID-19, they are just as likely to contract the disease and can still spread the virus.

Myth: Face masks protect against coronavirus.

Truth: According to the CDC, disposable paper masks do not protect you against the coronavirus. But, they do suggest the people wear them if they are ill in order to protect those around them.

As to specialty face masks such as N95s, experts request that people not buy them so there is not a shortage for those who need them like medical professionals who are taking care of COVID-19 patients.

Myth: Spraying chlorine or alcohol all over your body will kill the coronavirus.

Truth: No, it will not plus it can cause severe irritation to your skin. The best way to protect yourself from the virus is to wash your hands with soap and water (or use hand sanitizer) and clean surfaces with alcohol or chlorine if appropriate.

Myth: You are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 at Chinese establishments.

Truth: No, you can’t get the illness from Chinese businesses or from packages from China.   Although the virus was first reported in China, a person’s ethnicity does not make them any more likely to have the COVID-19.

Myth: Patients who are using ACE inhibitors and ARBs are at high risk of severe infection.

Truth: Not necessarily. Carlos Alfonso, M.D., interventional cardiologist at the University of Miami Health System, says that there is not enough data to say that patients taking an ACE inhibitor or ARB are at harm. “Based on multiple professional societies, including the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, the recommendation is for our patients to continue taking their medications and not stop their medications,” he says. “They should if they’re considering stopping, discuss it with their physicians first. But there is a clear benefit in our cardiovascular patients to continue with their medications for their heart disease.”

 


Written by Natasha Bright. Medically reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Robert Schwartz.


READ MORE

How to talk to kids about COVID-19

“Even at age two and three, they’re going to pick up their cues from their parent; so, I want to put pressure on parents to behave well,”  says Dr. Alan Delamater. Read more.