By now, everyone is feeling the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the situation evolves, new information comes out that can help you protect yourself. But with all the information swirling around, it can be difficult to separate fact from myth. It’s important to arm yourself with the right information to make it easier to protect yourself and your family until things get better. Here are a few facts about the virus that can give you some extra protection and help you stay safe.
Disposable Masks Don’t Work the Way You Think
We know the virus is spread from infected body fluids (usually discharge from infected coughs and sneezes), so some people take the precaution of wearing disposable face masks to filter germs as they breathe. However, face masks don’t work that way; they really work by keeping your droplets from spilling out and releasing germs, not by keeping them out of your respiratory system. Ideally, most people should stop buying masks and save them for people who need them most (i.e. healthcare workers taking care of patients).
Younger Patients Are Also at Risk
In a pandemic, it’s usually the elderly or those with preexisting health conditions considered to be most at risk. That is true (those demographics will be hit hardest if they get sick), but people of any age can contract coronavirus. According to the New York Times, nearly 40% of hospitalized patients in North America are below the age of 54. It’s important everyone in your family, regardless of age, stay at home and minimize the risk of infection.
You Might Still Be Contagious, Even Without Symptoms
Not showing any symptoms is definitely a good thing, but it’s vital you stay vigilant all the same. Up to 70 or 80% of people may show mild or even no symptoms, but might still be infectious. To avoid putting yourself or others at risk, minimize going out, and maintain social distancing when you have to. It’s also important to wash your hands regularly to keep yourself clean and help stay safe.
Warmer Weather Won’t Do Much
Some people are hoping that once the weather shifts, the pandemic might slow down. Unfortunately, warmer temperatures won’t do much to kill off the virus. The spread may slow down once it gets a little warmer, but that’s mainly due to there less coughing and sneezing in the warmer months. With that in mind, be mindful of social distancing even as the seasons change to give yourself more protection when you have to leave the house for errands.
Over-the-Counter Meds Don’t Hurt
There are some rumours going around that OTC medicines (for example ibuprofen) can make the virus worse. The truth is that there’s no evidence to back up that claim, and over-the-counter medication can be one way of dealing with any symptoms that pop up. Use whatever medicine works to help relieve symptoms. For example, ibuprofen can help deal with aches and pains, while acetaminophen helps with fevers.
Avoid Home Remedies
You may also have heard that certain home remedies (like gargling hot tea) can have a hand in fighting off the virus. At best, these remedies soothe some of the symptoms, like sore throats, but don’t actually do anything to fight the virus. Another home remedy you may have heard is spraying yourself with disinfectants like alcohol or chlorine to kill the germs. These substances are useful as surface disinfectants, making them an instant no-no as a remedy.
The most important thing is not to panic. Use these insights to help take care of yourself while COVID-19 remains a threat. Eventually, the pandemic will run its course and life will resume; knowing these facts can be a great way to protect yourself until then.