Myth-busting- COVID-19 edition
The recent spread of the global pandemic has caused a subsequent spread in tension, fake news, and lack of complete knowledge regarding the COVID-19 disease. In light of such widespread problems, it’s important to separate fact from fiction and discount some pervasive myths. Here are some clarifications regarding major factual fallacies:
1) A fixed cure is yet to be discovered
While it is true that some medicine cocktails have enabled people to recover, there is no drug/medicine that has been confirmed as a cure of this disease. While many international leaders have publicly stated that hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria, is 100% effective, this is verifiably untrue. WhatsApp forwards from non-credible sources have also misled the public.
2) High temperatures don’t prevent the spread of this disease
Similarly, many factual inaccuracies have been spread about the effectiveness of heat, drinking hot water, having hot showers, and so on. This has made people ignorant and reckless in their behavior with regards to the situation at hand.
3) Ultraviolet rays cannot kill the virus
UV emitting lamps are not effective in killing the virus and are, in fact, counterproductive, as UV radiation causes skin irritation and in large quantities could have major consequences.
4) Spraying disinfectant all over your body doesn’t make you immune
While it may be true that disinfectants like alcohol or chlorine (used in appropriate quantities) reduce the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, it doesn’t make you completely unsusceptible to the virus.
To instead hence reduce the probability of getting infected by this disease, here are some scientifically proven ways to increase immunity:
1) Meditate and Exercise (moderately)
Both these activities facilitate the flushing out of pathogens and reduce inflammation and hence increase immunity. Exercise specifically reduces the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that hinders immunity.
2) Maintain a balanced diet
While it is widely understood that maintaining a balanced diet is important, it is more relevant now than ever. A balanced diet facilitates the performance of gut microbiome (all the gastric microbes). These enable communication between the brain and the immune system, influence the health of the intestinal wall, and reduce production of cortisol. Fried and sugary foods, soft/sweetened drinks, and fast food should largely be avoided.
3) Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep
Cytokines, which reduce inflammation, are produced during sleep. In addition, upon disease, lack of sleep increases time of recovery. Hence, contrary to what strict parents or stingy tutors may say, get enough sleep; you finally have a dire need to!
Most importantly, however, maintain a positive and optimistic attitude. As long as we adhere to some basic instructions, maintain pragmatism, and keep our spirits up, we can fight this pandemic together.