• Hilary Kim

Beat the Heat: Hot COVID-19 Myths

Some of the most burning unknowns surrounding COVID-19 include how it can be best prevented or detected. Unfortunately, the lack of definitive answers or accessible solutions allows myths to generate.

Many popular fallacies about COVID-19 relate to heat in some way: the virus cannot spread in hot climates, thermal scanners detect the virus, consuming spicy food protects against the virus, among several other myths. These misconceptions likely stem from the notion that heat kills or inactivates viruses and bacteria. While this idea is largely true, there is not yet scientific evidence to confirm that this statement applies to COVID-19. The aforementioned myths merely cloud our knowledge on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and impede our ability to recognize the severity of this pandemic. In order to protect ourselves and others, it is imperative that we discern these misconceptions.

Myth #1: COVID-19 cannot spread in hot climates.

Truth: In reality, COVID-19 can spread in hot and humid weather. For example, Louisiana and Florida have experienced high transmittance of the virus despite temperatures over 80 degrees. Regardless of the practices in place to promote social distancing and face coverings, it is evidently possible for COVID-19 to spread in hot climates.

Myth #2: Exposure to sun or high temperatures protects against COVID-19.

Truth: Anyone can contract COVID-19 regardless of sun exposure or temperature. For example, Brazil gets high sun exposure and temperatures, but still has a high number of cases.

Myth #3: Thermal scanners can detect COVID-19.

Truth: While thermal scanners can help detect a symptom of COVID-19 (a fever), it cannot actually detect COVID-19. People infected with the virus may not yet be exhibiting symptoms, or may not exhibit a fever in particular. Even if someone has a fever, it does not mean he or she has COVID-19.

Myth #4: Eating spicy food protects against COVID-19.

Truth: Whether it be garlic or pepper, spicy food cannot protect against COVID-19. At the moment, when it comes to eating, a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to prevent COVID-19, but even this does not grant anyone immunity from the virus.

Myth #5: Taking hot baths prevents COVID-19.

Truth: Regardless of the temperature of the bath, your internal body temperature will remain the same. The high temperature required to kill the virus cannot be achieved inside your body, where the virus lives. Therefore, taking a hot bath cannot prevent COVID-19. If anything, it is dangerous because the water can burn you.

All considered, it is important to recognize that some of the best ways to prevent COVID-19 are to wash your hands properly and frequently, practice social distancing, wear a mask, eat healthy, exercise often, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. The best way to detect COVID-19 is by taking a COVID-19 viral test. Check the CDC guidelines regularly should these practices change and stay vigilant on social media, a large breeding ground for misinformation.