Don’t believe everything you read about coronavirus in the media or on your social feeds. Let’s separate fact from fiction to help keep you & your loved ones safe

As quickly as COVID-19 (coronavirus) has spread around the world, so too have the whispers and rumours about how to stop it in its tracks. We’re all reading and seeing a huge amount of COVID-19 information on a daily basis, and not all of it is reliable. To keep ourselves and others safe, it’s important for us all to cut through the confusion and get clued up on the facts.

Let’s run through six common COVID-19 beliefs to see if there’s any truth in what’s out there.

If you have COVID-19 you'll always have a cough – Wrong

Let’s set this one straight ASAP. Yes, a new, continuous cough is an important COVID-19 symptom to watch out for, but not everyone who’s infected will develop a cough. Different people may develop different symptoms and some people will have no symptoms at all. A COVID-19 test is the only way to know for sure if you have coronavirus. If you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) you should have an NHS COVID-19 test.

Only old people can get seriously ill from COVID-19 – Not a fact

This is an important one to remember. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill. But people of all ages can be infected by and get ill from COVID-19. Everyone has a responsibility to take the necessary steps to keep themselves and those around them safe.

Eating garlic can help prevent COVID-19 – Fiction

Probably the strangest myth out the bunch, but (sorry to break it to you) this isn’t true.

There’s no evidence that eating garlic has protected anyone from the new coronavirus. No single food alone is enough to keep us healthy. Eat a healthy, balanced diet with a range of foods, to make sure you’re giving your body the goodness and nutrients it needs.

Having a hot bath can help prevent COVID-19 – Not true

Who doesn’t love a bath to switch off from the day? Us too, but a hot soak will only help with relaxation and won’t help prevent you catching COVID-19. No matter how steamy you like your bath, your normal body temperature will stay around 36.5°C to 37°C. Bathing in extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to help protect yourself against COVID-19 is by washing your hands often, maintaining social distancing and following your government guidelines.

If you can hold your breath you don't have COVID-19 – Definitely not

One of the most popular shared social media myths about COVID-19 suggests that if you can easily hold your breath for 10 seconds, you don't have coronavirus. This is wrong on so many levels. A breathing exercise is not a test for the virus. Being able to hold your breath without discomfort doesn’t mean you don’t have coronavirus. Holding your breath for a long time can be dangerous. A COVID-19 test is the only proven way to find out if you have the virus.

Using mouthwash containing alcohol helps kill COVID-19 – False

Mouthwash usually contains an antiseptic to kill germs that can live on your teeth, gums and on your tongue. It hasn’t been tested against the coronavirus and shouldn’t be used to try and prevent or treat COVID-19.

There you have it – mysterious COVID-19 myths debunked. Remember to focus on the facts to help you stay safe. If you’re ever in doubt about what you’re reading or seeing, follow the latest government advice.


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Information correct at time of publication (12.01am 17/03/2022)