Coronavirus myths vs. fact: Popular theories on the novel virus debunked

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As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, so does misinformation about it on the web and social media. Unfortunately, eating garlic or rinsing your nose with saline will not protect you against the virus, known as COVID-19, nor will using a hand dryer kill it. Such rumors are circulating seemingly faster than the virus itself.

Read on for a look at some of the most popular myths that have been debunked by The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health experts.


Myth: Taking a hot bath will prevent me from getting the novel coronavirus 

False. While a hot bath may be a way to relax and ease stress related to the pandemic, it will not protect you from contracting the novel virus itself.

“Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C (97.7 °F to 98.6 °F) regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you,” warns the WHO. “The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands.”

Myth: I can get the coronavirus if a mosquito bites me 

Untrue. As the WHO states, “to date, there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.”

“The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose,” it adds.

Myth: Using a hand dryer will kill the virus 

Yet another falsity, as is a similar myth that claims hair dryers can do the same. Washing your hands with warm water and soap will help protect you against the virus, as will using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

“Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer,” adds the WHO.

But are you washing your hands correctly? Find out here. Also, if you are having trouble finding hand sanitizer, learn how to make your own here. 

Myth: Spraying alcohol and/or chlorine on my body will protect me from the virus 


False. Spraying these products on your body will not protect you from the virus.

“Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth),” warns the WHO. “Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.”

As panicked Americans wipe store shelves clean of hand sanitizer in an effort to stave off the novel coronavirus, others have been scouring their pantry for ingredients to make a concoction of their own. But those efforts can land you in a medical emergency unrelated to COVID-19 should you mix the wrong chemicals together. Read more on what products to avoid mixing here.

Myth: Rinsing my nose with saline will protect me against the virus 

Though rinsing your nose with saline solution may help recovery from a common cold, doing so will not protect you against the novel virus.

“There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus,” states the WHO. “There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing [the] nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.”

Myth: Eating garlic will help protect me against the coronavirus 


Garlic is indeed a healthy food, as it contains antioxidants and can improve cholesterol levels, among other benefits. But unfortunately, consuming this food will not protect you from being infected with the virus.

“There is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus,” says the WHO.

Myth: Essential oils will protect me from getting COVID-19 

There is no evidence of this. In fact, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent a letter to an essential oil company urging them to stop saying their products protect against COVID-19.