Novel Coronavirus: Common Myths Debunked!


A forwarded WhatsApp message is going viral for its claims regarding Coronavirus. It says that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India has released a notification that states if you hold your thirst and leave your throat dry, the Novel Coronavirus will invade you within 10 minutes. The message reads:

“Most Urgent, Very Serious, Important Information.

The Ministry of health’s emergency notification to the public that the Coronavirus influenza outbreak this time is very serious & fatal. There’s no cure once you are infected. It’s spreading from China to various countries. 

Prevention method is to keep your throat moist, do not let your throat dry up. Thus do not hold your thirst because once your membrane in your throat is dried, the virus will invade into your body within 10 mins. Drink 50-80cc warm water, 30-50cc for kids, according to age. Everytime u feel your throat is dry, keep water in hand. Do not drink plenty at one time as it doesn’t help, instead continue to keep throat moist. Till end of March 2020, do not go to crowded places, wear mask as needed especially in train or public transportation Avoid fried or spicy food and  load up on vitamin C. The symptoms/ description are

1.repeated high fever
2. prolonged coughing after fever
3.Children are prone
4.Adults usually feel uneasy,*headache and mainly respiratory related
5: highly contagious
Pls share if you care for human life


Is it true? Well , the answer is a BIG No!

The health ministry has not released any such advisory. Moreover, there’s no evidence which suggests that keeping your throat moist all the time will protect you. With such baseless notions becoming viral, it has become vital to address the doubts people may have about Novel Coronavirus.

Let’s Reason With These Notions

Notion: It takes just 10 minutes for the virus to get transmitted from an infected person.

Reality: One can get infected with the coronavirus within a few seconds or minutes of a brief encounter with a COVID-19 positive person. There is no fixed time such as 10 minutes or 30 minutes timespan for the virus to get transmitted. Hence, the best way to prevent transmission of the virus is to follow social distancing, follow hand hygiene and wear a safety mask while visiting outside .

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Notion: Take deep breaths to improve your lung function.

Reality: A whatsapp that is doing rounds is “Take a deep breath and hold your breath for more than 10 seconds. If you complete it successfully without coughing, discomfort, stiffness or tightness, it proves there is no fibrosis in the lungs. This basically indicates there is no infection.” However, there is no scientific evidence to prove this. Moreover, having a cough while taking deep breaths does not indicate fibrosis but can be a sign of an airway infection, says Dr. Vijay D’silva, Director – Medical Affairs & Critical Care, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai.

Notion: Dry cough with no runny nose means coronavirus infection.

Reality: There is a common misconception that if you have a runny nose and sputum, you have a common cold and if it is a dry cough with no runny nose then it indicates pneumonia caused by coronavirus infection.Just because someone has a dry cough does not mean they have the coronavirus. Likewise, people with wet coughs could still be symptomatic for COVID-19.If you suffer from flu-like symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor  and do not self-speculate .

Notion: Shaving my head will protect against Novel Coronavirus.

Reality: Coronavirus doesn’t spread through hair. However, having long hair may increase the chance of the hair coming in contact with contaminated droplets. Touching the hair and then touching the eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands may spread the infection. This does not mean that going bald can prevent you from getting infected.

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Notion: Gargling with a mouthwash/rinsing your nose with saline can protect from coronavirus

Reality: No, there is no proof that gargling with mouthwash or regularly rinsing your nose with saline can protect from coronavirus infection or any other respiratory illnesses.

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Notion: Common antibiotics can prevent and treat coronavirus.

Reality: Antibiotics do not work against viruses as they only treat bacterial infections. Since the novel coronavirus is a virus, antibiotics will not be an effective means of treatment.

Notion: Applying sesame oil/chlorine/alcohol on the body kills coronavirus.

Reality: No, applying any of these on the body won’t kill the novel coronavirus. In fact, using alcohol or chlorine on your body may harm your skin. However, you may use bleach or chlorine-based disinfectants to sanitize the surfaces.

Notion: Eating garlic can prevent infection with COVID-19.

Reality: Garlic is known to be packed with antimicrobial properties, however, there is no evidence that proves its ability to protect against coronavirus.

Notion: Non-veg consumption will lead to coronavirus infection.

Reality: Unlike popular belief, consumption of non-veg food does not cause coronavirus. Also, there is no scientific evidence that food can transmit the virus. However, it is essential to thoroughly wash the meat with enough water and cook the meat (as well as eggs) properly before consumption. Make sure you eat healthy to boost your immunity and stay safe during this period.

Still don’t know how the infection with novel coronavirus spreads? Read the article to know more on how to protect yourself & your family. Click Here!

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)

Recommended Reads:

How Well Do You Wash Your Hands? Learn The Right Way!

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1. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters. Advice for public. Coronavirus disease 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO).

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