Coronavirus. Are dishes washed in a dishwasher sanitized?

An infectious disease doctor refutes myths and confirms facts about COVID-19.

As the coronavirus epidemic spreads on the internet, an epidemic of fake news about it is also spreading. However, you can also find useful advice in Polish media on how to protect yourself against infection. In distinguishing facts from myths helps Dr. Jerzy Jaroszewicz, infectious disease doctor, and lecturer at the Medical University of Silesia.

Sucking zinc lozenges inhibits coronavirus reproduction?

MYTH. This question has electrified the world in the last few days. While we know that zinc as a mineral is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system and can shorten the course of cold infections, it is worth emphasizing that there is no convincing data to inhibit the multiplication of coronavirus. What’s more, it is also known that an overdose of zinc, i.e. taking more than 150 mg / day, can lead to a variety of toxicity, including decrease in immunity, which is exactly the opposite of what was intended.

Let’s remember that no combination of vitamins and microelements can replace a healthy lifestyle. Immunity reduces stress, sleep deprivation, eating and smoking to the greatest extent.

COVID-19 can be infected several times and each subsequent infection is worse?

FACT OR MYTH. This is a very important question, because it also raises questions about the effectiveness of the vaccine in the future. The truth is, we don’t know the answer. It seems that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection will leave permanent immunity in most people who develop this disease. On the other hand, there is always a small group of people, e.g. those who do not respond to vaccines, in whom re-infection is possible. The coming months will definitely answer this question.

Drinking hot drinks helps because the virus doesn’t like high temperatures?

MYTH. This is a myth that has no scientific justification. The virus multiplies inside cells, including in the respiratory tract whose temperature is constant, such as throughout the body.

Can you get coronavirus by eating raw meat and eggs?

FACT. Coronavirus infections are common among animals. SARS-CoV-2 is no exception. We do not know exactly from which animal the virus was transmitted to humans (there are several suspects, e.g. bats, pangolins). Most animals, including those that have been with humans for years, have not yet been studied. Until such tests (including pigs, cattle) are carried out, it is prudent to refrain from eating raw foods.

COVID-19 can be asymptomatic and later have respiratory complications?

MYTH. This seems very unlikely. Respiratory complications usually result from increased inflammation and the destruction of human cells by the virus. Symptoms (fever, cough, etc.) result from these processes. Asymptomatic people who have infection have strong immunity, which is usually able to eliminate the virus quickly, in this group we do not expect complications.

Passing the test of holding the breath for 10 seconds allows you to determine in a domestic way that we did not catch the coronavirus?

MYTH. This is definitely a myth or fake news. The ability to hold breath primarily depends on the state of our respiratory system, including lung capacity. A person who smokes, suffers from chronic lung disease, e.g. obstructive disease or bronchial asthma, will not be able to hold his breath as long as a healthy person does not mean that he is infected.

Everyday washing clothes and drying them at a high temperature in a tumble dryer or ironing kills the virus?

FACT. We are constantly collecting data on the survival of this virus on various surfaces. We know, for example, that on some surfaces (e.g. metal door handles, plastic countertops) it can last up to several days, hence the need for disinfection. As for washing, first of all, the virus is primarily inactivated by detergents (soaps), and secondly, for example from research on the cousin SARS-CoV-2, i.e. the SARS virus, we know that a temperature above 56 degrees for 15 minutes killed it. So it seems that both washing and drying clothes should kill the virus.

Can the dishes washed in the dishwasher be sanitized?

FACT. The use of dishwasher cubes containing detergents as well as higher temperatures should kill the virus.

Is it only safer to touch the light switch with your finger than to turn the light on with your whole hand?

FACT. Of course, the smaller part of the hand we expose, the less virus will remain on it. Let’s remember, however, that if we touch the other part of the hand or face with this body part later, we can transfer this infection. It seems that the only effective way to prevent infection is to regularly wash or disinfect your hands. Especially after contact with such surfaces as door handles, handles, e.g. trolleys or baskets in the store, buttons, e.g. a payment terminal.

What mode of transport is the safest? Bus, train, taxi, Uber? Or maybe bicycles and scooters?

The virus spreads very well in closed, small rooms especially when they are not ventilated and we stay there for over 15 minutes. Such conditions prevail in means of transportation, so the risk of infection is higher there. Bicycles, scooters are OK, but only if we keep a safe distance from other people, that are potentially infected, i.e. we will use them in a natural environment when there are no others in close proximity.


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