Now that we are nine months into the COVID-19 Pandemic in Westchester and Fairfield County, health professionals have a better understanding of how the virus is spread from person to person in respiratory droplets. We can also debunk some of the circulating misinformation and myths about prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
We have heard about foods, dietary supplements, cleaning agents or drugs that claim to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. While it might be tempting to use a questionable product or rumored method to stay healthy during the pandemic, it's extremely unlikely to help and can cause serious harm and even death. For an extensive list of coronavirus myths, check out COVID-19 Mythbusters, posted by the The World Health Organization (WHO).
According leading health experts and medical centers, here are a list of COVID-19 myths to be busted.
1. Pneumonia and Flu Vaccines
While researchers are currently developing a vaccine to prevent the COVID-19 virus, it is not available yet. Vaccines against pneumonia and the flu don't provide protection against the COVID-19 virus. However, to avoid getting the flu AND COVID-19 during colder months this year, it is imperative to get your annual flu vaccination.
2. Saline Nasal Wash
There is no evidence that rinsing your nose with saline protects against infection with the COVID-19 virus.
3. High Temperatures
Excessive exposure to the sun or to temperatures higher than 77 F does not prevent the COVID-19 virus or cure COVID-19. You can get the COVID-19 virus in sunny, hot and humid weather. Raising your body temperature by taking a hot bath will also not prevent you from catching the COVID-19 virus.
4. Low Temperatures
Likewise, cooler temperatures and colder weather also can't kill the COVID-19 virus.
Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria and viral infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotic drugs usually kill bacteria, but they do not kill viruses. However, when people are infected by a virus like COVID-19, they can develop a secondary bacterial infection - meaning the virus initiated the process but a bacteria followed. Antibiotics will be given for a bacterial infection.
5. Disinfectants with Alcohol and Chlorine
Drinking methanol, ethanol or bleach, which are poisonous substances sometimes used in cleaning products, DOES NOT prevent or cure COVID-19 and can be extremely dangerous.They will not kill the virus in your body and if ingested, will harm your internal organs. When applied to disinfect surfaces only - never applied to your skin - disinfectants can help kill germs such as the COVID-19 virus on a surface like a sink or counter. In addition, DO NOT wash produce with disinfectants. Remember to keep chlorine bleach and other disinfectants out of reach of children.
6. Drinking Alcohol
Drinking alcoholic beverages doesn't protect you from the COVID-19 virus.
Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence that eating garlic protects against infection with the COVID-19 virus.
8. Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection Lamp
Ultraviolet light can be used as a disinfectant on surfaces. But don't use a UV lamp to sterilize your hands or other areas of your body as UV radiation can harm you and cause skin irritation.
9. 5G mobile networks
Avoiding exposure to or use of 5G networks doesn't prevent infection with the COVID-19 virus. Viruses can't travel on radio waves and mobile networks.
Many people take vitamin C, zinc, green tea or echinacea supplements to boost their immune systems. But these supplements are unlikely to affect your immune function or prevent you from getting sick from COVID-19. The supplement colloidal silver, which has been marketed as a COVID-19 treatment, isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease. Oleandrin, an extract from the toxic oleander plant, is poisonous and should never be taken as a supplement or home remedy.
11. Holding Your Breath for 10 Seconds
Holding Your Breath for 10 Seconds without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from COVID-19. According to the WHO, 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 - Link here to read STEPS Home Care blog on COVID-19 Testing.
COVID-19 Testing in WESTCHESTER
- Contact your health care provider to find out if they offer testing.
- Call the NY State COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 364-3065 to make an appointment at the drive-through COVID-19 testing center at Glen Island in New Rochelle, or at walk through testing sites in Mount Vernon and Yonkers . West Med in West Harrison also offers walk-in testing with no referral.
- You can also use the New York State Online Screening Tool to share your symptoms and pre-register for testing.
- Call (914) 202-4530 to make an appointment at the COVID-19 drive through testing site at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
COVID-19 Testing in CONNECTICUT
- Contact your own health care provider to find out if they offer testing.
Yale New Haven Health is currently providing diagnostic testing for patients who may have COVID-19 or have been exposed. Outdoor COVID-19 Specimen Collection Stations are operating at Bridgeport Hospital, Greenwich Hospital, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and Yale New Haven Hospital.
Because COVID-19 testing is not appropriate for every patient with respiratory symptoms, you must have an order from a healthcare provider to receive a test.
To be tested, you must complete the following steps:
- Call your doctor immediately if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or develop a fever and other symptoms Covid-19.
- Once your doctor has submitted the lab order, you will call 203-688-1700, YNHHS central scheduling, where staff will provide you with an appointment date and time and the location of the Specimen Collection Station where you will have your test. Please arrive only at the location and time you were given. Proceed as directed by signs and hospital staff.
- Obtaining your results: Your physician will call you with the results of the test. You may also review your test in MyChart. If you have not received a call, call 203-688-1700. For any concerns and questions, please call the YNHHS COVID-19 Call Center at 833-ASK-YNHH (833-275-9644).
For more information on scientifically based prevention and treatment methods for COVID-19, please go to science-based sources such as WHO, Mayo Clinic, Harvard University Health, Duke University. For more information on how to keep your loved one safe at home during the pandemic, please give us a call at 914.618.4200 or email our Director of Patient Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.