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10 Myths About COVID-19, Debunked

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jul 24, 2020

10 Myths About COVID-19, Debunked

These days, you tend to hear a lot of fake news about COVID-19, especially on social media. In fact, fake news is so widespread these days that it can be very difficult to distinguish between myths and facts about COVID-19.

Believing the wrong information can potentially cause people to ignore the legitimate advice provided by experts, and can even cause more people to get sick.

Here are some of the important myths and facts about COVID-19 that you need to know.

Myths and Facts About COVID-19

Myth: You can do a self-check test for COVID-19

One of the more popular myths and facts about COVID-19 is about a post circulating on social media that says there’s a simple self-check test that you can do in order to check if you’re positive for COVID-19. The note says that if you can hold your breath for 10 seconds without coughing, or any trouble or discomfort, then you’re not infected.

At first glance, it makes some sense. After all, COVID-19 affects a person’s lungs, so if there are any infections, it is safe to assume that breathing and coughing would cause some discomfort.

Fact: The only way to check for infection is to take a COVID-19 test

However, the reality is that there’s really no self-check test for COVID-19. The only way to confirm the presence of infection is to undergo a COVID-19 test at a hospital or a verified testing center.

If you experience any flu-like symptoms, and you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, it would be best to go to a hospital and get yourself checked. It’s also a good idea to self-quarantine, if you suspect infection.

myths and facts about covid-19

Myth: Bananas can cure COVID-19

This one actually caused some people to go out and buy bananas in bulk here in the Philippines. According to a recent viral post, bananas can help cure or prevent people from being infected with COVID-19.

But although bananas offer a host of health benefits, such as boosting the immune system, no studies have confirmed their potential as a cure for COVID-19.

Fact: There’s currently no cure for COVID-19

The best way to avoid getting infected is to stay at home and practice social distancing as much as possible. Washing your hands and keeping your home safe by disinfecting any contaminated surface can also help prevent infection.

Eating fruits such as bananas and oranges, can help strengthen your immune system. However, be sure to wash these fruits thoroughly before eating, to make sure that they are clean.

This is an example of why knowing the myths and facts about COVID-19 can help people avoid spreading wrong information, especially on social media.

Myth: Garlic helps prevent COVID-19

This one’s pretty similar to the banana myth. A recent viral post claimed that garlic has a lot of antioxidants and it also has antimicrobial properties, so eating raw garlic can help prevent COVID-19 since it basically kills the virus.

Fact: Garlic is good for you, but it’s not the cure

Just like bananas, garlic is indeed good for you. Garlic has been found to be able to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and it’s also an anti-oxidant and helps strengthen your immune system.

But it’s not a cure, nor can it prevent you from getting infected with COVID-19. It’s still important to follow the recommendations of social distancing and hand washing in order to avoid getting sick.

Myth: Coronavirus symptoms don’t include a runny nose

According to another Facebook post, the symptoms of COVID-19 does not include a runny nose. However, this isn’t necessarily true. This is one case where the myths and facts about COVID-19 can get blurred and cause confusion for people.

If you have a cold, or the flu, you can still acquire coronavirus. This means that you should not focus on a single symptom, but look at other symptoms of the virus as well.

myths and facts about covid-19

Fact: Symptoms can vary, and the best way to confirm an infection is through testing

The best thing to do if you get sick and unsure if it’s COVID-19 or not is to isolate yourself. If you can get tested, then that’s an even better idea since it can help confirm if you’ve been infected.

Myth: Once a patient with coronavirus is hospitalized, their lungs are damaged for life

Another Facebook post says that by the time a patient gets hospitalized for COVID-19, their lungs are already damaged by the virus as a result of fibrosis. 

This is another instance where the myths and facts about COVID-19 get confused.

Fact: Not all patients experience this symptom

It is indeed true that fibrosis is experienced by people who suffer from the critical symptoms of COVID-19.

However, over 80% of patients actually only experience mild symptoms. This means that even if they have been infected, they don’t necessarily experience fibrosis or any sort of irreversible lung damage.

Myths like these only serve to sow fear and anxiety and don’t really contribute to prevention and control of the virus.

Myth: You can make homemade hand sanitizer that’s just as good as store-bought ones

With the DIY (do-it-yourself) movement gaining traction online, it comes as no surprise to see people sharing recipes of how to make homemade hand sanitizer, especially after many stores have run out of stocks.

However, some of these recipes contain disinfectants that can be harmful to a person’s skin. Instead of helping clean your hands, some of these recipes can do even more harm in the long term.

Fact: You can’t make a strong enough hand sanitizer at home

Unless you’re a licensed chemist with the right tools and equipment, it’s going to be pretty difficult to make your own sanitizer, especially if it’s from a recipe found on the internet.

Store-bought alcohol and hand sanitizer are still ideal when it comes to killing off germs, and any homemade version probably won’t be as effective.

If you don’t have any alcohol or hand sanitizer, then washing your hands for at least 20 seconds would be sufficient to kill off the virus. It’s an effective, simple, and cheap solution that can help prevent the spread of the virus.

Myth: Heat can kill the virus, so taking hot baths and drinking hot water is effective

This myth is another example of how the myths and facts about COVID-19 can sometimes get mixed.

On the surface, it sort of makes sense. After all, some viruses such as chickenpox, and herpes can be killed through exposure to very high temperatures.

However, most people would think that a change in climate is enough to kill off COVID-19. The weather just doesn’t get hot enough for it to be able to kill off the virus.

We also don’t know how COVID-19 behaves depending on the changing temperature and humidity, so heat isn’t the solution.

Fact: Heat won’t do anything to the virus once you get infected

Once a person is infected with COVID-19, drinking hot water, taking hot baths, or even exposing themselves to the sun won’t kill off the virus since it’s already inside the body. Exposing yourself to heat will not raise your body temperature to kill off the virus.

However, some studies have found that heat can disinfect all kinds of masks, killing possible COVID-19 virus particles. Heat also did nothing to diminish the effective of masks. This means they were fit for reuse.

At the moment, there’s still no cure for COVID-19, so it’s still important to take the necessary steps in order to avoid getting infected.

Myth: You can disinfect face masks with gasoline or diesel

President Rodrigo Duterte recently said that wearing face masks is a crucial step when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID-19. He continued by saying that people can disinfect their masks by using lysol or alcohol, but for those who can’t, they should use gasoline or diesel instead.

Fact: Proper disinfectants should be used, and disposable masks can’t be disinfected

While it is true that face masks can be disinfected, using harmful substances such as gasoline or diesel should be avoided.

Face masks can be cleaned by washing them in warm water just like regular laundry. The key would be to wash them thoroughly and to use warm water to help kill off any virus particles. Afterwards, they can be placed in a drier, and dried on the highest setting.

Additionally, only reusable face masks can be cleaned and disinfected. Those who are using disposable face masks should dispose of their masks as soon as they are done using it.

Myth: Cold weather can kill the COVID-19 virus

Just like the myth about heat killing off the virus, this one is also untrue. There is currently no evidence that shows the weather having any significant impact on how quickly the virus spreads.

Fact: Just like heat, the cold won’t affect the spread of the virus

The only way to kill the virus would be to use disinfectants or through hand washing. But once a person is infected, it is largely up to the body’s immune system to help fight it off.

Myth: The virus was made in a laboratory

A conspiracy theory has been making the rounds online, saying that the disease was probably made in a laboratory, intended as a weapon of biological warfare and accidentally (or perhaps, deliberately) released to infect people, which caused the outbreak to happen in the first place.

Fact: Scientists have found no evidence that COVID-19 is man-made

There’s currently no evidence that shows it was a lab-grown virus, and all of the information that we have about COVID-19 points to it being a naturally occurring virus.

Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on some of the myths and facts about COVID-19. The best thing that we can do right now in order to prevent the spread of the virus would be to practice social distancing, and wash our hands as much as possible in order to halt the spread of the virus. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jul 24, 2020

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