4 Coronavirus Myths Busted By An Expert

It also doesn’t help that the internet is awash with conflicting information about how the virus spreads and how best we can protect ourselves. Here, Dr. Kieran Kennedy speaks to Women’s Health to separate fact from fiction. RELATED: FYI, Using A Hand Dryer Won’t Stop You Getting Coronavirus Myth #1 The keto diet can help […]

by | Aug 27, 2020

It also doesn’t help that the internet is awash with conflicting information about how the virus spreads and how best we can protect ourselves. Here, Dr. Kieran Kennedy speaks to Women’s Health to separate fact from fiction.

RELATED: FYI, Using A Hand Dryer Won’t Stop You Getting Coronavirus

Myth #1

The keto diet can help to cure coronavirus

You may have seen a theory circulating online that following the keto diet acts as a kind of cure-all for the Coronavirus. However, no reputable sources support this. In fact, Dr. Kieran says this myth is “overtly toxic.”

“There is no scientific or medical backing that a Keto Diet helps prevent or (arguably more dangerous still) even cure Coronavirus infection,” he explains. “I’m aware of some studies that have looked into virus immunity in mice placed on Keto-like diets, but we need to be very clear that this does not equate to any kind of evidence for Keto diets having a significant influence on coronavirus infection in humans.”

Myth #2

Facemasks protect us against coronavirus

There’s so much debate right now over how the Coronavirus spreads and whether or not wearing a facemask will actually stop you getting sick. As a general rule? They are useful – just not necessary all the time.

“A facemask might help reduce risk of transmission of Coronavirus from us to others or from others to us IF we’re unwell, or in close contact with someone with the virus,” Dr Kieran says. “In general, we don’t need to be wearing masks out and about as routine.”

Respiratory/nasal droplets and secretions (e.g. coughing and sneezing) are some of the most common sources of transmission, which is why it’s important to cover your mouth and nose. Still, it’s not guaranteed protection.

“Many masks might not block finer particles from crossing and to work they need to be placed properly. Another source of spread is if viral contaminants on our hands touch our face, so pulling a mask on and off whilst touching around our mouth and nose is likely less helpful for most.”

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Myth #3

Coronavirus is spread via overseas packages

Just because the first cases of Coronavirus came out of China, does not mean that race, ethnicity or culture has anything to do with the virus. 

There’s been some dangerous (and disappointing) rhetoric flying around lately about what connection the Coronavirus has to people and items from China,” Dr. Kieran says. While it is believed that the Coronavirus can survive for a short time outside the body on objects (say, a table that someone sneezes on), researchers say it’s “highly unlikely” that packages coming from overseas can lead to transmission.

“We don’t need to avoid receiving things from China or buying products shipped from other countries,” Dr. Kieran reiterates.

Myth #4

Coronavirus is just like the flu

There are similarities between the flu and the Coronavirus. Firstly, both are viruses that cause symptoms such as fever, fatigue, coughing, a runny nose and aching. They both can also result in severe infections in the lungs and throughout the body – and, in some cases, even death. Despite these, Dr. Keiran stresses that Caronavirus isn’t the same thing as the flu.

“We still don’t know many of the details around Coronavirus and patterns of spread, infection and outcomes appear different to your typical flu,” he explains. “Yes, it’s true that many people are infected with the flu and die (sadly) each year due to it – but that doesn’t mean Coronavirus is less or more worrisome per se.

Based on current statistics, the chance of contracting complications from Coronavirus is much higher than the flu (it has a 2-3 per cent fatality rate.)

“Seasonally, rates of flu infection remain much higher yes, but time and further research is needed for us to know just how coronavirus tallies up in comparison,” he adds.

RELATED: How To Reduce Your Risk Of Contracting Coronavirus

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‘After 3 Miscarriages, This is How I Processed the Trauma’

With October marking International Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, we spoke to survivor of multiple miscarriages and women's health lobbyist Samantha Payne, CEO and Co-Founder of Pink Elephants - Australia’s only national support service dedicated solely to miscarriage and early pregnancy loss.

Here's her story.

What is your experience with miscarriage?

I have lost 3 babies to miscarriage, my first was a missed miscarriage - I walked into a scan expecting to show my then-toddler her baby sibling on the screen only to be met with 'I'm sorry there is no heartbeat.' I had to endure a weekend with that baby dead inside of me before I could be fitted in for a D&C.

My next miscarriage happened 6 months later - I started to bleed on holiday with friends, I told no one, I was deeply ashamed. I passed that baby alone in the shower at 3am, forever traumatised as I had to flush the remains down the toilet.

My final loss was just last year another miscarriage I started to spot and I just knew, the Doctor that saw me this time asked if we could see a flicker on the screen she thought there was a heartbeat, astounded we asked for a second opinion, where it was confirmed my baby had died.

How did you process the trauma?

With my first two losses, I didn't cope. I poured everything into Pink Elephants and having another baby. I had another pregnancy but was completely terrified the whole time, I didn't bond with this baby, no names, no gender reveal, wearing a brave face every day pretending I was grateful. When Johnny was 4 months old it all caught up with me: I had postpartum anxiety and post-traumatic stress as a result of my losses and not processing the trauma. With counselling and medication, I began to heal and process my losses. My loss last year was different: I took bereavement leave, I gave myself permission to grieve our baby girl and mourn my future with her. I spoke with others in our community, I went back to counselling, and I took the time I needed to start to heal.

How did you get the courage to launch Pink Elephants?

I don't think it was courage, in the beginning, I think it was my anger at the lack of support and validation that I chose to channel into something positive.

I never want my daughter to go through what I did in the way I did. Women deserve so much more than what we currently get.

Last year took courage to come back and work in this space again after bereavement leave - the physical and emotional pain was real, the triggers of other women's stories are real but they are also cathartic. As is the change we create, I feel like my work is meaningful and makes a difference that's what carries me on, I know we can do so much more with the right support alongside us.

I want to next see more targeted action from our government - in particular the Department of Health - in addressing this issue. It's no longer ok to turn a blind eye to the death of our babies, our trauma, and our poor mental health because of the system failing us.

How can we support a friend that has been through loss like this?

You can be there for her, you can validate her loss, don't reduce it to 'at least' comments. You can't take away her pain but you can provide a safe space for her to share and feel listened to, empathised with, and supported. Like any other bereavement send flowers, we have collaborated on a LVLY nurture flower posy as a way to do this. Remember there is no timeline to grief and it's ok for her to still be upset for many months after, remember her due date, acknowledge it at the time, support her through other friends' baby showers.

How can women experiencing miscarriage access support?

They can head to www.pinkelephants.org.au to access our circle of support, which includes online peer support communities to connect with others through miscarriage, trying to conceive again, and pregnancy after loss. Specialised emotional support content, as well as shared stories and journeys, can be accessed through our website too.