News Rubbing oil and patting pets: Busting the biggest coronavirus myths
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Rubbing oil and patting pets: Busting the biggest coronavirus myths

Myths about the coronavirus are spreading quickly. Photo: Getty
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Believe it or not, you can’t catch coronavirus just by visiting Chinatown. It’s not carried by pets, caused by vaccines or cured by hand dryers.

Eating garlic won’t ward it off. Neither will rubbing sesame oil into your skin. And please, for heaven’s sake, put down the UV lamp.

Bonkers theories (like the above) about the coronavirus are in abundance – they spread faster than the disease itself, and have infected thousands across the globe.

Symptoms can include anything from gullibility to the inability to use Google properly and, well, racism.

The World Health Organisation has confirmed the only antidote the myth epidemic is the correct information.

To help steer us toward that information, WHO has put together a list debunking the most common myths about the coronavirus (nCoV).

Myth 1: Packages from China are unsafe

Receiving packages from China is safe.

WHO stressed that there is no risk of contamination from the virus when ordering from ASOS or receiving mail from your pen pal.

“From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages,” it wrote.

So go for gold with the online shopping.

Myth 2: Pets spread nCoV

Sunny and Bo are safe in their retirement. Photo: Getty

There is no scientific evidence to show that coronavirus is spread by animals or pets at home.

If you’re patting a furry friend, you should be more worried about E. coli.

“It is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets,” WHO wrote.

“This protects you against various common bacteria, such as E.coli and salmonella, that can pass between pets and humans.”

Myth 3: Pneumonia vaccines and antibiotics work against the virus

Researchers are working hard to develop a vaccine for the virus, but as yet, it isn’t available.

Vaccines against pneumonia do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

“The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts,” WHO wrote.

Myth 4: Alcohol will stop the virus spreading

Spraying alcohol over your body won’t kill the virus, and there are far better ways to enjoy a drink.

“Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth),” WHO wrote.

“Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.”

Myth 5: Hand dryers and ultra-violet lamps kill the virus

Hand dryers are not effective in killing the virus. Neither are UV lamps.

In fact, there is absolutely no need to get creative when it comes to personal hygiene.

For best protection, embrace conservatism and wash in the traditional way.

“You should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water,” WHO wrote.

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

Myth 6: Only old people get sick

Despite what some may say, the virus isn’t ageist. People of all ages can become infected.

Though older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.

Myth 7: Garlic will prevent infection

The new coronavirus is not synonymous with vampires.

Although good for you, garlic will not ward it off.

Myth 8: Rubbing sesame oil over your skin will stop you from becoming infected

It might make you smell nicer, but rubbing sesame oil into your skin won’t stop you from getting sick.

A good general rule is to stay clear from putting anything on your skin that you wouldn’t normally.

Gargling mouthwash also doesn’t help.

“There are some chemical disinfectants that can kill the 2019-nCoV on surfaces. These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75 per cent ethanol, peracetic acid and chloroform.

“However, they have little or no impact on the virus if you put them on the skin or under your nose. It can even be dangerous to put these chemicals on your skin.”

And finally for good measure …

Myth 9: You can catch coronavirus in Chinatown

You will not get coronavirus from eating in Chinatown. Photo: Getty

You cannot catch the virus just by visiting Chinatown, you won’t get infected by shopping in Box Hill or while tripping to Hurstville. 

This cannot be stressed enough.

NSW Health said: “While four cases have been diagnosed in NSW to date, patients have been isolated until no longer infectious and there is no evidence that community transmission is occurring.”

So get out and enjoy the Xiao Long Bao.

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