But it's more important than ever to curb your reading, making sure you're sticking to reliable sources. Like medical experts, for example, who understand what there is to know so far about the contagious COVID-19 strain. We asked Babylon Health doctor Claudia Pastides to debunk some of the falsehoods she's seen about coronavirus across social media, as a reminder not to believe everything you read.
At this stage, there are plenty of unknowns about the virus. But based on all the research and information we have so far, the following statements are believed to be nothing more than myths, and not based on any scientific substance.
Myth 1: Coronavirus is man-made.
The truth: "The virus that causes COVID-19 is a zoonotic virus. This means that it originated from an animal. It's likely to have jumped the species barrier to humans. This process of jumping species was probably how the virus that causes COVID-19 came about. It was not made in a lab."
Myth 2: Hand sanitizers don't work to kill coronavirus.
The truth: "Whilst this is true for a few strains of viruses—for example, the norovirus that causes stomach bugs—it's not the case with coronaviruses. Using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol will kill the coronavirus."
Myth 3: Pets can transmit the virus too.
The truth: "There is no evidence that the virus which causes COVID-19 can be spread by your pets. That said, it's still early days and scientists are keeping a close eye on things like this. So you should always wash your hands properly after touching any pets."
Myth 4: Heat, applied to the skin or taking a hot bath will kill the virus.
The truth: "Once a virus is in your body, it is down to your immune system to kill it off. Hot baths and hot drinks won't be able to reach or kill the virus because it lies within cells inside your body. Your body regulates its temperature very carefully and won't allow it to raise much, despite hot drinks and baths. The best way to kill the virus, if you may have come into contact with it on your skin, is by washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer."
Myth 5: You can prevent the virus from spreading by gargling salt water.
The truth: "There's no evidence that regularly gargling with salt water—or anything else, like hot drinks—will prevent you from being infected by the coronavirus."
Myth 6: Eating garlic will help prevent you from catching coronavirus.
The truth: "Eating a healthy and balanced diet with fruit and vegetables, including garlic, is always a good idea. But there is no evidence that eating lots of garlic is going to prevent you from getting COVID-19."
Dr Claudia Pastides MRCGP MBBS iBSc is a GP and medical copywriter, working for healthcare app Babylon.
This story originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.