Misconceptions and myths fly around the internet every day, but they never quite impact the greater population quite like the ones surrounding that of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Before you go stress buy any more toilet paper to add to your already excessive mountain, take a few minutes to learn the facts. Grab your quarantine buddy, a can of SpaghettiOs and prepare for some major myth bustin’.
Read on for 10 facts even Kim K Should Know About COVID-19.
1. Wash Your Hands ‘Ya Nasty!
When it takes a global pandemic to get some of you to wash your hands more than once a week, that says a lot. But hey, now’s the time to use this state of quarantine to get our lives back on track, aka washing your nasty hands at least twenty times a day. Excessive? The CDC thinks not. The fastest way to contract this virus or any virus is touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands (twenty bucks about half of you immediately went to touch your face). With a vaccine still in the works, simply washing your hands and washing them properly is our best defense against this virus. So, don’t skip out! Take the full twenty seconds to scrub those fingers. Sing a song to help you count down. Happy Birthday not your thing? Try the chorus of Beyoncé’s “Love on Top” four times or the chorus of “Africa” by Toto and maybe some good ole “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo.
2. Save the Face Mask for Those Already Infected and the Healthcare Workers Treating Them
For those who stress bought that pack of fifty surgical masks off of Amazon.com a week ago, I’ve got some bad news for you. Face masks only aid in stopping the spread of your own germs via cough or sneeze. In other words, a mask doesn’t protect you from not getting sick. This virus spreads through respiratory droplets flying into the air; droplets so tiny that they can pass through a mask and enter your system. Now for those using them as a mental check to keep your hands from touching your face, that’s great. But instead of using a surgical mask, look for alternative options more so used for style rather than those used by patients and doctors. Keep in mind that there are still other diseases, operations, etc. occurring in these hospitals and healthcare professionals need these in their arsenal as a sanitary measure. So, stop hoarding all the masks, Karen!
3. Stay Home
From all of the memes about Netflix binging and reluctantly walking to class in full blanket burrito mode, you’d assume that this generation would be more than happy to stay quarantined at home for who knows how long. And yet, people decide to celebrate no in-person classes with parties and bar crawls. I think some of you missed the point…the government is enforcing restrictions that we’ve all been asking for since the moment we stepped on campus. Stay home. Hunker down and practice social distancing to flatten the peak of infected. In doing this, you can help lessen the stress on the healthcare system and save lives, all from the comfort of your couch.
4. No Home Remedies Can Cure COVID-19
We all love our home remedies, especially living in a country where going to the doctor means paying an equivalent to rent for the month. There’s a time and a place for all of that home good healing, but this is not one of those times. I’m sorry hot tea with a bit of honey. No thanks to gargling salt water and vinegar for thirty seconds. I know we all want to come out of this as the next Bill Nye the Science Guy, but let’s leave the experimenting to the professionals. The best preventative measures you can take include washing your hands, disinfecting your home, and practicing social distancing (aka quarantine). If you begin to develop mild symptoms, treat them like any other cold or flu with cough medicine, acetaminophen (for a fever), and lots of rest. If symptoms progress to become severe then call 911.
5. It Can be Transmitted in Both Hot and Cold Weather
If only we could all escape this thing by taking a government-mandated trip to Costa Rica for the next four weeks. I know I’d be on the first flight out there. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. No matter the weather, whether it’s warm enough to sunbathe or chilly enough for hot cocoa, the virus doesn’t care. Some have speculated that the virus may die down as the seasons change into some warmer days, but this is simply based on the trends of other forms of illness such as the flu–as in, flu season throughout late fall and winter. Regardless of the climate surrounding you though, your body remains at constant 98 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re on a tropical island or in the tundra known as Iowa, the virus still gets transmitted.
6. Garlic is for the Vampires, Not this Novel Coronavirus
Honestly, I don’t know where this myth started and never thought I’d need to debunk such a thing, but garlic and/or onions doesn’t nothing to protect you from COVID-19. The government didn’t call a national emergency to fight off an army of vampires–that sparkly war was left back in 2012 with the final installment of the Twilight Saga. Nothing that you ingest can kill off the virus once it’s inside you and nothing that you hang around your neck works as repellent. Respiratory particles aren’t just going to see/smell that garlic necklace and instantly take a beeline back into the mouth of the person you’re talking to. Leave the garlic for those who want to make a mean spaghetti sauce whilst quarantining it up.
7. No One is Immune
No matter how much you’ve pushed the boundaries of health at college, and no matter how invincible you think that makes you, no one is immune to this virus. Now, because of your young age, a healthy(ish) immune system and no underlying risk factors such as diabetes, a heart condition, respiratory illness, you’ll most likely feel like crap for a bit and slowly recover. The severity of symptoms and the time at which you develop them varies. For example, you may just experience a slight cough and that’s it. This doesn’t mean you can’t spread the virus onto others given your low-risk symptoms though. Enter the need for social distancing. So, for everyone who just bought a cheap plane ticket because this virus only goes after the boomers, don’t act surprised when your friend lets out a cough after takeoff.
8. A Hot Bath Fights Off Stress but Doesn’t Fight the Virus
Possibly one of the most effective stress relievers of our generation and beyond–the steaming bath with partnering bath bomb–can only do so much. Following the same thinking of a varied climate, you can’t steam this virus out of your body. Again, your body remains at a comfortable 98 degrees Fahrenheit no matter the external factors. Don’t cancel your bulk order from Lush just yet, though. Keep in mind that you’re about to enter at least 2-4 weeks of self-quarantine, possibly alone or with a roommate or family members that you love but shouldn’t see 24 hours of the day–for your own sanity. Enter the bath bomb. There’s no telling what this change will do to your mental health, so maybe a couple of extra destressing baths won’t be such a bad idea.
9. Dust Off Your Cleaning Supplies and Break Out that Disinfectant
As mentioned before, the only weapons we carry in our arsenal as of today include some mighty hand washing skills and some major top-down disinfecting of the environment around us. Now, let’s not lie to ourselves. The last time you picked up that Clorox disinfectant spray was probably Parents’ Weekend last October. This is a safe space, no need to feel ashamed. Today though, you need to grab your roommate, some paper towels and that Clorox spray because it’s time to go to battle. You don’t know what you’ve come into contact with over the past couple of weeks and thus brought into your home. So, take to the doorknobs, the countertops, refrigerator door and toilet seat. Leave no man behind in your sterilizing endeavors. And most importantly, stay safe out there, fellow soldier.
10. It’s Not About You
This goes out to all the people who didn’t cancel their Spring Break trip to Florida. To college kids making plans last minute to take advantage of those cheap flight tickets or even just continuing their weekend bar hops with friends. Yes, those our age with good health won’t experience extreme symptoms like the elderly. But you miss the point of social distancing. This isn’t about you. It’s about grandma and grandpa. It’s about your cousin that got diagnosed with diabetes last spring and your study partner that lives with a heart condition they’ve never told you about. By continuing your daily life, interacting with others out in the world, you put those closest to you at risk. More than that though, you actively take part in the increased spread of the virus that will leave the healthcare system overtasked, overworked and without enough lifesaving resources to go around. So, before you post your next #springbreak pic on Instagram, think about the nurse that will be forced to make the decision of which patient should receive the final respirator in the hospital; all because you wanted to get a nice tan.