Blog
Dec 10
Blog: COVID-19 Mythbusters

Misinformation can cost lives. There are several myths about COVID-19 that can influence people to not take the disease seriously and hinder the effectiveness of prevention efforts to minimize the spread of the virus. With that in mind, we asked our Chair of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Robert Donnarumma, some questions about common COVID-19 myths. Here are his answers: 
 
Myth: COVID-19 is no worse than the flu. 
It is worse than flu. It can be six to seven times more fatal. Severe cases of COVID-19 may be associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome, cardiac dysfunction, elevations in multiple inflammatory cytokines that provoke a cytokine storm, and/or exacerbation of underlying chronic conditions. In addition to pulmonary disease, patients with COVID-19 may also experience other cardiovascular, hepatic (liver), renal (kidney), and central nervous system diseases.

Myth: You can’t catch flu and COVID-19 at the same time. 
Yes, you can. If you’ve never had a flu shot before, this is the year to do it, and do it as soon as possible. It takes two weeks to build up enough antibodies and be fully effective. When you are fighting both viral infections at same time, the body’s immune response can be overwhelmed and susceptible to a bacterial infection. It is vital to protect yourself from that risk. 

Myth: Only the very young and the elderly are at risk of serious complications.
This is a dangerous fiction that can lead people to feel unconcerned about this deadly virus. We’ve learned much more about this new form of coronavirus, and the data shows people of all ages and levels of health can experience adverse outcomes. Over the summer, the highest incidence of COVID-19 was persons aged 20-29 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. No one is invulnerable. 

Myth: I’m more likely to catch COVID-19 if I visit my doctor or any medical facility. 
Not true. Medical facilities are experts at infection prevention. It’s what we do. Patient health and safety come first. You can learn more about Saratoga Hospital’s safety precautions here

One serious concern during the pandemic is that people have been afraid to use healthcare resources: not going to routine appointments, not getting refills on prescriptions, and delaying surgical and other procedures. These delays can exacerbate chronic conditions, leading to a host of problems as well as an increased risk of worse outcomes if infected by COVID-19. It is important to not delay your healthcare. 

Myth: Masks and social distancing are excessive and unnecessary. 
Definitely untrue, and worse, this unfounded belief endangers others. It just takes one asymptomatic person to infect an entire group of people. As COVID-19 cases are rising, you’ll see the communities that are taking COVID-19 seriously have lower numbers than those that don’t. They are masking, social distancing, refraining from gatherings, and if they do gather, they do it outside and in small numbers.  

Myth: I’m 100% safe as long as I wear a mask and keep my distance.
No precaution is 100% effective. It is still possible you could become infected. That’s why it is so important that you keep yourself as healthy as possible, so your body is strong enough to fight off the infection. 

Maintain a healthy weight, exercise, stop smoking, make sure you’re up to date on all your chronic conditions, check out anything new, eat right, take your vitamins – now is the time to do everything in your power to ready yourself to not only prevent getting infected with this coronavirus, but to help yourself beat it if you do get it. 

You are your own best weapon against COVID-19. Our best tools against this disease are public health measures to prevent viral transmission. Masking properly and continually, social distancing, handwashing, and self-quarantining are helping to contain the spread. When we are lax with any one of these precautions, it effects our entire community.  

The World Health Organization offers a list of myth-busters about treatments on this webpage. Social media platforms are taking the spread of misinformation more seriously and offer options for users to report anything suspicious. The CDC has a Frequently Asked Questions section on COVID-19 that is a good resource for factual information. To learn more about how Saratoga Hospital is addressing this disease, please visit SaratogaHospital.org


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