Logo with Text: Dispelling Myths


Misinformation about COVID-19 is rampant, particularly on social media. Patients get mixed (and sometimes blatantly false) messages from news sources, family and friends. As our knowledge of the virus continues to grow and evolve, guidance from health experts changes, which leads to more confusion and suspicion. Here are some information and resources you can share with patients to help them sort through the misinformation.

Information about vaccines can be found on the Talking to Your Patients page.

Face Coverings

It has been demonstrated that wearing cloth face coverings combined with appropriate social distancing (6 feet) works to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Hydroxychloroquine and Other False Medical Claims

There is no evidence to support the use of hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis or treatment of COVID-19 as illustrated in these publications: 

Similarly, there is no clear benefit to the use of ivermectin or azythromycin for COVID-19. The FDA has additional information on why ivermectin should not be used for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19, and the references below provide additional details: 

People with allergic disease are not at higher risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19 due to a cytokine storm. Reports that patients with severe COVID-19 infection experience a cytokine storm are being extrapolated by some to infer that anyone with underlying ‘inflammation’, including allergic conditions, is at increased risk. There is no evidence to suggest that a patient’s allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, chronic urticaria, food allergies, history of anaphylaxis, etc., places them at risk for severe outcomes should they become sick with COVID-19. 

Supplements or other holistic remedies cannot prevent or cure COVID-19. Claims of supplements, vitamins, or foods that ‘boost immunity’ are rampant, including from medical professionals and large healthcare organizations. Specific unproven COVID-19 treatments being promoted include essential oils, supplements, colloidal silver, Vitamin C, elderberry, homeopathy, and chiropractic adjustments. 

Allergists can help patients by guiding them towards these simple fact-checking questions for any claim: 

  • What are the qualifications of the person making the claim? 
  • What does the body of evidence demonstrate for both benefits and risks? 
  • Is the person making the claim directly profiting from services or products? 
  • How can this apply to my specific situation, including factors pertaining to my medical history and possible interaction with medications or underlying conditions? 
Asthma and COVID-19

The majority of evidence does not support asthma as a risk factor for becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, and there are no data to suggest that, if infected, asthma patients have a more severe course of COVID-19 disease or will experience an exacerbation of their asthma. 

Asthma patients should be counseled that their inhaled corticosteroids are safe and necessary to continue use to prevent an exacerbation, and that systemic corticosteroids can and should be used to treat an asthma exacerbation even if it is caused by COVID-19. The studies showing a potentially worse outcome with systemic steroids were in hospitalized COVID-19 patients who received the steroids as a treatment for the viral illness and not for another disease. 

There is no evidence that the biologics we use in asthma have any adverse effect on COVID-19 cases, and it would be important to continue them based on the need for asthma control. 

You cannot catch COVID-19 from using a nebulizer, and patients that require treatment with nebulized medications should start treatment early and repeat until better. However, if a person with asthma who is receiving nebulized treatment has COVID-19, they could spread the virus to others in close proximity due to the respiratory droplets created through the nebulizer. 

Since October 2020, there have been over 120 publications including 4 meta-analyses that clearly demonstrate that asthma is not a risk, and at least a few have demonstrated protection for those with asthma. 

Children and COVID-19

Although children are less likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19, they can get sick and they are likely to spread the infection while asymptomatic. Here is some of the latest data:

  • Asymptomatic children with SARS-CoV-2 had Ct values (cycle threshold for RT/PCR) 10.3 cycles higher than children with symptoms (so less of a viral load). (J Clin Microbiol; Oct 22, 2020)
  • While children are less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than adults, one in three hospitalized children are admitted to the ICU. Hispanics and Blacks accounted for the majority of hospital admissions and 42.3% had an underlying medical condition. (MMWR; Aug 14, 2020)
  • A large study including more than 5,700 COVID-19 patients in South Korea indicates that while children under 10 appear to transmit the virus less often than adults, adolescents and older children (age 10-19) transmit the virus at higher rates. (Emerg Infect Dis; July 16, 2020)
  • A team from Massachusetts General Hospital demonstrated that children infected with COVID-19, even those who are asymptomatic or with mild disease, have a significantly higher viral load than adults hospitalized with severe COVID-19. (J Pediatr; Aug 19, 2020)

Additional Resources

Misinformation about COVID-19 is also addressed in the following resources:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now has a webpage called "Stop the Spread of Rumors" that lists known facts about COVID-19 and a social media toolkit with sample messages and graphics related to various COVID-19 topics for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 
  • The World Health Organization has a mythbusters webpage that addresses many common false claims about COVID-19.