New cases of Covid-19 – the disease caused by the novel coronavirus; are cropping up around the world at an increasing pace. And as the spread of the virus continues to stoke fear and apprehension in the minds of the public; the Covid-19 rumour mill has sputtered into overdrive.
Does alcohol gel kill the coronavirus? Is Covid-19 any worse than seasonal flu? And should I be wearing a face mask? Here are all the answers you need to clear up your coronavirus confusion.
Myth: Alcohol gels won’t kill it
Your hands are one of the main routes that viruses make their way from surfaces to your respiratory system; so keeping them clean is one of the most effective things you can do to stop yourself contracting the virus.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water where possible and if you can’t get to a sink; an alcohol-based hand sanitiser will do the trick.
While the effectiveness of alcohol gels depends on the virus being targeted – which is why some alcohol hand rubs aren’t very effective against norovirus – the coronavirus has an envelope structure which alcohol can attack.
Hand sanitisers with more than 60 per cent alcohol content are most effective at killing microbes, but don’t try and make your own sanitiser at home. At best, it’ll probably be less effective than high-street versions and at worse you could end up severely damaging your skin.
Myth: Virus only infects older people
Older people and those with pre-existing health conditions tend to be hit with more severe versions of Covid-19. A study of 138 coronavirus patients at Wuhan University hospital found that the virus was more likely to affect older men with pre-existing health conditions, but young people can still contract and spread the disease – especially those who are at very high risk of exposure, such as health workers.