COVID-19: Fact or Fiction?

We are all facing a situation that none of us could have ever predicted; a pandemic with more global force than anything this generation has experienced before, and with no cure as of yet – although we are receiving regular updates that range from clinical-led results through to media-created fiction.

Amid the daily updates from the government, scaremongering in the media and constant questions across all communities in the UK and the rest of the world, the rumour mill is going wild. So, how do we separate the fact from the fiction, and what do we all really need to know about the coronavirus?

“A sore throat means I have coronavirus”

Having a dry cough and a sore throat is one of the symptoms of the coronavirus, and caution should be taken if you have picked up a new cough over the last week or so – particularly one you feel deep in your chest. However, as we are still in the middle of the season where flu and other cold symptoms are rife, a sore throat does not necessarily mean you have the coronavirus – other more noticeable symptoms include a high temperature and bad headaches. If you are experiencing all of these, you should be self-isolating.

I am okay to leave the house and visit outdoor spaces if I am self-isolating, because the fresh air will stop me spreading the virus

WRONG. Whether you are inside or outdoors, you need to keep at least 2m apart from other individuals, otherwise you risk spreading or contracting the virus. Social distancing is one of the most basic and effective measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, so keep your distance and do not assume that being outside means the virus will not be spread.

“If I take ibuprofen when I have the coronavirus, I will get really sick”

As outlined in bold at the top of this article produced by the UK government, there is currently no strong evidence to suggest a link between taking ibuprofen and contracting the virus or experiencing a dramatic increase in coronavirus symptoms. It is however advised that you should opt for paracetamol over ibuprofen as a safety precaution.

“I can meet up with other people as long as I feel fine”

It can take up to 12 days for you to start displaying symptoms, meaning you may have the virus in your system and not even know about it for up to almost two weeks. For many, these symptoms will start gradually and get worse over the course of a few days. Just because you feel fine, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show extreme caution particularly around vulnerable and elderly individuals.

“I can only get the virus if I touch someone who has it”

Physical contact is just one of the ways you can catch the virus. Coronavirus can be spread through airborne droplets as well, meaning that someone who coughs or sneezes with the virus will be releasing it in droplets. It’s also possible to spread the virus through surfaces and other objects, and the virus can survive for up to three days on some surfaces – making regular hand washing and cleaning vital to preventing the spread. For more detail on this, visit the NHS coronavirus-dedicated page.

“If I develop the symptoms, I should go to hospital immediately”

WRONG. If you develop symptoms, visit NHS111 online for advice. If your symptoms continue to worsen then call 111 and take it from there. Most individuals who contract coronavirus will recover fine after a period of time, but there are systems in place for those most at risk of vulnerable of developing a dangerous response to the virus. The important thing to do is to stay safe, heed all advice from the government and NHS, and do not panic.