Accra, Ghana, July 6, 2020//-It has been more than seven months since China reported the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan. Since then, the entire globe has been affected by the virus and the effect now comes in diverse ways; one of them is the oversupply of information.
Much of that information is false. Finding and sharing correct information in a timely manner is one of the purposes of this Diary, which is why we have joined with other fact checkers to provide you with checked facts.
The following facts are adapted from the World Health organisations Myth busters.
Should people wear masks while exercising?
Q: People should NOT wear masks when exercising as masks may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably. Sweat can make the mask become wet more quickly which makes it difficult to breathe and promotes the growth of microorganisms. The important preventive measure during exercise is to maintain physical distance of at least one meter from others.
Can shoes spread the COVID-19 virus?
The likelihood of COVID-19 being spread on shoes and infecting individuals is very low. As a precautionary measure, particularly in homes where infants and small children crawl or play on floors, consider leaving your shoes at the entrance of your home. This will help prevent contact with dirt or any waste that could be carried on the soles of shoes.
Q: Is the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a virus or bacteria
The virus that causes COVID-19 is in a family of viruses called Coronaviridae. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. Some people who become ill with COVID-19 can also develop a bacterial infection as a complication. In this case, antibiotics may be recommended by a health care provider.
There is currently no licensed medication to cure COVID-19. If you have symptoms, call your health care provider or COVID-19 hotline for assistance.
Q: Can prolonged wearing of medical (surgical masks) cause CO2 intoxication or oxygen deficiency?
The prolonged use of medical masks can be uncomfortable. However, it does not lead to CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency. While wearing a medical mask, make sure it fits properly and that it is tight enough to allow you to breathe normally. Do not re-use a disposable mask and always change it as soon as it gets damp.
* Medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are flat or pleated; they are affixed to the head with straps or have ear loops.
Q: Do thermal scanners detect COVID-19?
Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature). They cannot detect people who are infected with COVID-19. There are many causes of
fever. Call your healthcare provider if you need assistance or seek immediate medical care if you have fever and live in an area with malaria or dengue.
Q: Are there are currently any drugs licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19?
While several drug trials are ongoing, there is currently no proof that hydroxychloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent COVID-19. The misuse of hydroxychloroquine can cause serious side effects and illness and even lead to death. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop and evaluate medicines to treat COVID-19.
Q: Does hot pepper 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.
Q: Can COVID-19 be transmitted through houseflies?
To date, there is no evidence or information to suggest that the COVID19 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.
Q: Will Spraying and introducing bleach or another disinfectant into your body protect you against COVID-19?
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. 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.
Can COVID 19 be prevented or cured by exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees?
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.
Q: Can a person ever recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or does it last 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.
Q: Is it true that if you are able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort it means 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.
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.
By Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, former Chairman, National Media Commission (NMC), Ghana
This article is supported by the Media Foundation for West Africa Fact Checking Project.