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COVID-19: Get the facts. Learn what's true.

reviewed 4/1/2020

6 facts & myths about COVID-19

There's a lot of misinformation on the internet and elsewhere about COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Some of the misinformation is about phony cures and who can get the virus. To stay healthy, you want to follow good advice coming from reliable sources.

Here are some myths and facts about the new coronavirus.

Fact: The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to keep your hands clean. The most effective way to protect yourself is by frequently washing your hands with soap and water or cleaning them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This will eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and help you avoid infections that could occur if you touch your eyes, mouth or nose.

Myth: The new coronavirus can be transmitted through mosquito bites. There has been no evidence to suggest that this virus can be transmitted by mosquitoes. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that spreads primarily through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes or through discharge from the nose or droplets of saliva.

Myth: Hand dryers can kill the new coronavirus. Not true. Hand dryers are good for drying your hands after washing them, but the warm air won't have an effect on the virus itself.

Myth: You should use an ultraviolet (UV) lamp to disinfect your skin. UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of the skin. UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

Fact: The new coronavirus may not cause symptoms right away. It can take anywhere between 2 and 14 days before people who are infected develop symptoms.

Myth: Spraying alcohol or chlorine on your body can kill the new coronavirus. Not true. Spraying alcohol or chlorine on yourself will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Both alcohol and chlorine can be useful, however, to disinfect surfaces like kitchen counters and doorknobs.

Fact: Vaccines for pneumonia and the flu won’t protect you against the new coronavirus. It's true that other vaccines don't offer protection. This coronavirus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 right now.

Myth: Regularly rinsing your nose with saline can help prevent infection with the new coronavirus. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline can prevent infection with COVID-19.

Fact: People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. While people of all ages can be infected by the virus, older people—and those with pre-existing medical conditions—appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

Wash your hands the right way

Learn how to wash your hands in the most effective way to prevent germs.

WASH YOUR HANDS

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; World Health Organization

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