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7 COVID-19 Myths Debunked

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The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted plenty of discussion about questionable treatments and “must-try” preventive measures. With so much misinformation and difference of opinion out there, how can you know what to trust? We recommend doing thorough research and following the advice of the experts and your own your health care provider.

To help debunk some of the more common myths surrounding COVID-19, UAB Medicine Infectious Disease Specialist Molly Fleece, MD, answers some of the most frequently asked questions.

The flu vaccine interfere with the body's ability to fight off COVID-19.

The seasonal influenza vaccine will not interfere with the body’s ability to fight off COVID-19. Both the SARS-CoV-2 virus and influenza virus will be circulating in our communities this fall and winter. We strongly recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older (with rare exceptions) receive the influenza vaccine this fall. This is to prevent either acquiring the influenza virus or developing severe influenza, which may lead to hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions, or death.

Answered by Dr. Molly Fleece, MD.

Hydroxychloroquine effective in treating COVID-19.

Several studies have evaluated the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19. Current best available evidence does not show clear benefit of hydroxychloroquine. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) treatment guidelines for COVID-19 recommend hydroxychloroquine use only in the context of a clinical trial.

Answered by Dr. Molly Fleece, MD.

I am less susceptible to getting COVID-19 based on specific diet regimens, i.e. Keto or Whole 30.

No specific diet regimen, like Keto or Whole 30, has been shown to make someone more or less susceptible to getting COVID-19. A well-balanced diet is best to help support one’s immune system.

Answered by Dr. Molly Fleece, MD.

CBD help with coronavirus.

There are no studies showing that CBD (cannabidiol) has any effect on COVID-19. CBD products have not been proven to be safe or effective for preventing or treating COVID-19.

Answered by Dr. Molly Fleece, MD.

Facial coverings other than traditional masks (gaiters, bandanas, etc.) aren't effective.

Wearing a face covering helps prevent the spread of infectious respiratory droplets from one person to another. Cloth masks reduce the spread of droplets when the mask completely covers the nose and mouth. Alternative face coverings to cloth masks, like neck gaiters and bandanas, can help reduce the spread of respiratory droplets if worn correctly. People should avoid masks with exhalation valves on the front, as this releases unfiltered air, including respiratory droplets.

Answered by Dr. Molly Fleece, MD.

You can't catch coronavirus by smoking after somebody.

The COVID-19 virus is spread person to person, among people who are in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets. If these droplets enter someone else’s mouth and are inhaled into the lungs, then that person may become ill. It is important to remember that COVID-19 may be spread by people who do not show symptoms.

Answered by Dr. Molly Fleece, MD.

Wearing sunblock is a bad idea during the coronavirus pandemic because UV rays can kill viruses.

There are three types of UV light that come from the sun: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C, with almost all the UV radiation that reaches the earth’s surface being UV-A or UV-B. UV-C is what can act as a disinfectant at medical facilities using sophisticated technology, operation systems, safety protocols, and expertise in this area. There is no evidence that sun exposure will kill the coronavirus. We continue to recommend sunscreen to protect oneself from the harmful effects of sun exposure on the skin.

Answered by Dr. Molly Fleece, MD.

Diffusing essential oils help deflect COVID-19 airborne germs.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent warning letters to companies selling essential oils that are marketed specifically with misleading claims offering COVID-19 protection. There is no evidence that essential oils are safe or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.

Answered by Dr. Molly Fleece, MD.

Click here for even more frequently asked questions answered from UAB Medicine experts.