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Coronavirus rumors: Debunking some viral myths about COVID-19

Many false claims made on social media

Coronavirus -- SARS-CoV-2
Coronavirus -- SARS-CoV-2 (AP)

DETROIT – There has been a lot of false information about coronavirus (COVID-19) making its way around the internet.

From posts claiming ibuprofen will make symptoms worse to posts suggesting ways to treat or prevent the virus, there are plenty of rumors out there.

Here are some COVID-19 rumors debunked:

RUMOR: Taking ibuprofen will make symptoms worse

There is no data that suggests ibuprofen (Advil) is dangerous with COVID-19.

However, in other diseases, ibuprofen isn’t completely harmless. For example, there’s evidence that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, could increase the risk of having a stroke or a heart attack.

The WHO initially said to use acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead of ibuprofen to help with fever and pain related to COVID-19. While there is no firm data showing ibuprofen is dangerous when taken for coronavirus, Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge suggests taking acetaminophen for a fever if you are concerned.

RUMOR: Taking a hot bath prevents COVID-19

According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that hot baths and showers will prevent the illness. Instead, wash your hands, avoid touching your face and practice social distancing.

RUMOR: The Henry Ford Health System is passing out letters stating doctors will decide who gets treatment and who does not

A letter from the Henry Ford Health System making its rounds on social media states that doctors will decide who receives treatment depending on a number of factors.

According to officials, the letter is in fact real, but it is not actively being distributed and the content of the letter is not currently being practiced. Instead, it is part of an “absolute worst case scenario” plan.

RUMOR: Mosquitoes and ticks can transmit the virus

According to the WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread by mosquitoes and ticks. It is a respiratory illness that can be passed to others through droplets from the nose and mouth.

RUMOR: You need a pass to drive to work in Michigan under the stay-at-home order

If you are deemed an essential worker, you do not need a pass to drive to work. Police will not be stopping citizens to verify they are on their way to an essential job.

MORE: Answers questions about Michigan’s stay-at-home order

Additionally, the order does not confine people to their homes. They can leave to get food, medications and other essential supplies. Exercising outdoors is also allowed.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here, and read the answers to more frequently asked questions here.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Read more about coronavirus here.


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