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COVID-19 - Common Questions and Misconceptions

Published on May 16, 2020 and last reviewed on Dec 31, 2021   -  4 min read

Abstract

COVID-19 is the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). As is a newly emerged virus, several misconceptions are revolving around it, and the article aims to shed light on the incorrect data and provide correct information.

COVID-19 - Common Questions and Misconceptions

COVID-19 was reported as a pneumonia-like illness on December 31st, 2019, detected in Wuhan city, China. Since then, this disease has progressed to be a global pandemic. It is under investigation around the globe to understand the virus better and work on vaccine and drug development. This article focuses on the common questions regarding the new coronavirus COVID-19.

As it is a newly emerged virus, several misconceptions are revolving around it, and the article aims to shed light on the incorrect data and provide correct information based on CDC and WHO operational guidelines and SPRP.

We live in an era of abundance knowledge, information (correct and incorrect), and connectivity. Fear has escalated during the last few months regarding the new coronavirus due to a lot of rumors and spread of false information via social media platforms. In this article, I will focus on the common questions and concerns about COVID-19. I will also address some common questions and misinformation regarding the disease.

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

The main symptoms include high-grade fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and body pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or even diarrhea.

It is possible that one might get infected with the virus but may not show any visible symptoms initially but eventually begin exhibiting the symptoms. 80% of people recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Whereas, 1 out of 6 infected with COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty in breathing.

How Does the Virus Spread?

The novel coronavirus disease can spread via an infected person through small droplets from the nose or mouth when they cough or exhale. It can also spread by touching infected objects or surfaces such as keys, door handles, etc., and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person infected with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. Hence, keep more than 1 meter (3 feet) distance from a suspected case or an infected person.

Mask and COVID-19:

One important question that everyone has been asking is regarding wearing masks for protection. The World Health Organization recommends wearing a mask only if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after an infected person or in a susceptible environment. There is no need to wear masks at home or in a safe environment.

There is a worldwide shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), including masks for even healthcare providers at the moment, so WHO urges people not to waste masks. To protect yourself and others, it is recommended that you frequently wash your hands and maintain a safe distance of at least (3 feet) 1 meter from people who might be infected. You can also use a tissue to cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing.

Pets and COVID-19:

Since the outbreak is of zoonotic origin (originated from animal source), many people are now concerned whether pets can cause COVID-19. No, at this moment, no cases or evidence has suggested transmission of the COVID-19 virus via pets. Just make sure you take care of the personal hygiene of your pets.

Temperature and COVID-19:

There have been rumors that there is a connection between COVID-19 and temperature. Currently, it is unknown if weather and temperature have any relationship with the spread or prevention of COVID-19.

How Long Does the Virus Survive on Surfaces?

WHO has not confirmed an exact time duration for it till now but here is a close enough approximation:

  1. Metal door knobs, jewellery - Up to 5 days.

  2. Plastic bottles, bags, seats - 2 to 3 days.

  3. Glass utensils, windows - Up to 5 days.

  4. Paper books, newspaper - Up to 5 days.

  5. Ceramic utensils, decorative items - 5 days.

  6. Wood furniture, decorative items - 4 days.

  7. Stainless steel bottles, handles - 2 to 3 days.

  8. Aluminum cans, bottles - 2 to 8 hours.

  9. Food or drinks - No evidence of transmission through food.

Can We Use Antibiotics for Prevention and Treatment Against COVID-19?

No. Antibiotics work against bacterial infections only; hence they are useless against COVID-19 as it is a viral disease.

If Antibiotics Cannot Be Used for Treatment of COVID-19, Is There a Vaccine or Treatment Available?

No. To date, there is no vaccine or antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected should receive immediate care to relieve symptoms. People with serious symptoms should be hospitalized. Most patients recover from the disease with supportive care and symptomatic treatment. However, possible vaccines and specific drug treatments are under investigation.

How Long Is the Incubation Period of the Disease?

The incubation period is the time period between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms. For the COVID-19 infection, it ranges from 1 to 14 days, most commonly about five days.

As COVID-19 Virus Can Survive on Surfaces, Is It Safe to Receive Packages From COVID-19 Infected Areas?

Yes. The risk of getting infected via a package that has traveled and exposed to different countries, conditions, and temperatures is very low. However, make sure you maintain a distance of 1 meter from the person delivering the package.

Is It Safe to Breastfeed If a Woman Is Infected With COVID-19?

Yes, if a mother wishes to do so, she can breastfeed, but make sure to practice respiratory and hand hygiene and wear a mask.

Is It Possible to Get Infected With Coronavirus via a Blood Transfusion?

Currently, there is no evidence suggesting that it can be transmitted while donating or receiving blood. As long as both individuals feel healthy and basic hygiene protocols are followed.

As the Symptoms of the Virus Are Similar to Flu, How Do I Know If It Is COVID-19 or Just the Common Flu?

The symptomatology of COVID-19 infection is similar to flu or common cold; hence it is necessary to confirm the results using a laboratory PCR test. However, several factors help to assess your risk of being infected by the virus. There are several online risk assessment resources that can help you to get a better idea before visiting a hospital directly.

How Can I Get Tested for COVID-19?

If you are well with no apparent symptoms, no testing is recommended. If you are experiencing symptoms, you must isolate yourself from friends and family and use separate utensils also if possible. Inform your local COVID-19 designated medical facility regarding your symptoms as well as your travel history and contact list. The medical team will then advise you regarding the procedure and whether to get tested or not.

Last reviewed at:
31 Dec 2021  -  4 min read

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Indhu Priyadharshini
Indhu Priyadharshini
General Practitioner

Coronavirus disease (COVID -19) is a new viral disease, which is shaking the world and the medical field with a lot of challenges. As a lot of myths and rumors are revolving around this disease, I have tried to clear some basic things. We have some preventive measures that can help us and others fro...  Read Article

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