I AM sick of the vast amounts of misinformation that is coming at us all with regards to coronavirus.

What is fact and what is fiction? Everyone has a story to tell and most of the time it is anecdotal, based on something read or heard from an ill-informed source.

The government is giving us daily updates and the advice is constantly changing. 

That in itself is causing a lot of anxiety for the public but to add to that the fake news which is being circulated through several news outlets and via non-experts, celebrities and social media influencers, it’s no wonder people are having panic attacks at the roadside. 

I am not making this up. I have this week received multiple calls from friends and colleagues who are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 

Last week I found a middle-aged woman crying in the supermarket aisle because she was overwhelmed by all the panic buying going on around her and she could not find the essentials she needed.

This pandemic has brought with it understandable uncertainty which is breeding anxiety but it is time to bust some myths which are adding to this.

Can ibuprofen worsen coronavirus?

So much controversy has taken place since the French Health Minister advised that ibuprofen could worsen the symptoms of coronavirus, causing more complications. 

However there has been no evidence to support or back this claim. This may change however it is being reviewed by the Committee of Human Medicines and NICE but until we have more evidence and guidance, we are advising patients to only use paracetamol in the event of developing symptoms of coronavirus and avoid ibuprofen. If you already regularly take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (such as naproxen, diclofenac or ibuprofen) then you are to continue taking this but you should discuss it further with your GP if you develop symptoms of coronavirus. Also there is NO NEED TO STOCKPILE PARACETAMOL. 

If you have symptoms you do not need more than a couple of packets otherwise have one packet at home if you are worried about getting it and not having any. 

If we all start stockpiling, we are potentially compromising the health of others who may not be able to get hold of any. If we all act sensibly, we will not run out.

Does the flu vaccine protect against coronavirus?

No. Coronavirus is a new infection and we know very little about it. 

We have global experts studying it in order to try and find a cure or vaccine to protect against it. If you are eligible for the flu vaccine then make sure you get it. Check with your GP.

Does coronavirus only affect the old and vulnerable members of society?

No. Coronavirus can affect anyone of any age however we have so far seen its impact to be mild with minimal to zero complications in children and young people. 

Those over the age of 70 or with underlying health problems (lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer), on immunosuppressive treatments or pregnant women are high risk and therefore more vulnerable. 

The world health organisation advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, by following good hand hygiene (washing with soap and water/using hand sanitizer with more than 60% alcohol content) and good respiratory hygiene (coughing/sneezing into a tissue and binning it or coughing/sneezing into the elbow. 

The younger members of society have a significant role to play as their actions can directly help minimise the chances of spread so they need to practice social distancing and follow the advice of social isolation if they develop symptoms of coronavirus (fever or new cough).

Can you catch coronavirus from food or packages?

No. Currently there is no evidence that coronavirus is spread through food or packages. 

We are learning about this virus all the time but it is believed to be transmitted from person to person via air droplets when you sneeze or cough near others.

There is some suggestion that the virus can last for some time on certain surfaces which is why we advise to regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face. The most important thing is to regularly clean and disinfect all surfaces you are around and be super cautious about infection control measures.

So there you go, some myths busted. Keep yourself safe, keep yourself at home as much as possible especially if you fall into the vulnerable category. Do your bit to help your community where possible and do not stockpile under any circumstances. The one thing we all need more than ever is kindness towards ourselves and each other.