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Does the saliva of a person just recovered from an infectious disease help to cure another persons having the same disease?

Does the saliva of a person just recovered from an infectious disease help to cure another persons having the same disease?


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I have always had this 'weird' thought (But could never quite test it… ). Would the saliva of a just recovered person contains antibodies, or other immuno-boosting substances that can help fight off the same pathogen in another person? If yes, is the concentration (dose) of them in saliva enough to have any considerable effect directly (without any further artificial concentration or extraction done)?


Herpes simplex virus

Infection with herpes simplex virus, commonly known as herpes, can be due to either herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 is mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact to cause infection in or around the mouth (oral herpes). However, HSV-1 can also be transmitted through oral-genital contact to cause infection in or around the genital area ( genital herpes). HSV-2 is almost exclusively transmitted through genital-to-genital contact during sex, causing infection in the genital or anal area (genital herpes).

Both oral herpes infections and genital herpes infections are mostly asymptomatic or unrecognized but can cause symptoms of painful blisters or ulcers at the site of infection, ranging from mild to severe.


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Tonsillitis (Adenoiditis)

Tonsillitis is a contagious infection with symptoms of bad breath, snoring, congestion, headache, hoarseness, laryngitis, and coughing up blood. Tonsillitis can be caused acute infection of the tonsils, and several types of bacteria or viruses (for example, strep throat or mononucleosis). There are two types of tonsillitis, acute and chronic.

Acute tonsillitis lasts from one to two weeks while chronic tonsillitis can last from months to years. Treatment of tonsillitis and adenoids include antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, and home remedies to relieve pain and inflammation, for example, salt water gargle, slippery elm throat lozenges, sipping warm beverages and eating frozen foods (ice cream, popsicles), serrapeptase, papain, and andrographism Some people with chronic tonsillitis may need surgery (tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy).

GERD (Acid Reflux, Heartburn)

Infectious Mononucleosis (Mono)

Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)

Swimmer's ear (external otitis) is an infection of the skin that covers the outer ear canal.

Causes of swimmer's ear include excessive water exposure that leads to trapped bacteria in the ear canal. Symptoms of simmer's include a feeling of fullness in the ear, itching, and ear pain. Chronic swimmer's ear may be caused by eczema, seborrhea, fungus, chronic irritation, and other conditions.

Common treatment includes antibiotic ear drops.

Reflux Laryngitis (Diet, Home Remedies, Medicine)

Reflux laryngitis is caused by acid refluxing back up through the esophagus and voice box. Reflux laryngitis causes irritation and inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, larynx, and throat and can lead to symptoms, signs, and other problems like esophagitis, sinusitis, strictures, throat clearing, swallowing problems, asthma, chronic cough, and growths on the vocal cords. Typical symptoms of reflux laryngitis include heartburn, hoarseness, or a sensation of a foreign body in the throat.

Reflux laryngitis can be treated with diet chanes, OTC medication, prescription medication, and lifestyle changes.

Sore Throat

Sore throat (throat pain) usually is described as pain or discomfort in the throat area. A sore throat may be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, toxins, irritants, trauma, or injury to the throat area. Common symptoms of a sore throat include a fever, cough, runny nose, hoarseness, earaches, sneezing, and body aches. Home remedies for a sore throat include warm soothing liquids and throat lozenges. OTC remedies for a sore throat include OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Antibiotics may be necessary for some cases of sore throat.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat. Signs and symptoms of strep throat include headache, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, and fever.

Strep throat symptoms in infants and children are different than in adults. Strep throat is contagious and is generally passed from person-to-person. Treatment for strep throat symptoms include home remedies and OTC medication however, the only cure for strep throat are antibiotics.


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References: Convergent antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in convalescent individuals. Robbiani DF, Gaebler C, Muecksch F, Lorenzi JCC, Wang Z, Cho A, Agudelo M, Barnes CO, Gazumyan A, Finkin S, Hägglöf T, Oliveira TY, Viant C, Hurley A, Hoffmann HH, Millard KG, Kost RG, Cipolla M, Gordon K, Bianchini F, Chen ST, Ramos V, Patel R, Dizon J, Shimeliovich I, Mendoza P, Hartweger H, Nogueira L, Pack M, Horowitz J, Schmidt F, Weisblum Y, Michailidis E, Ashbrook AW, Waltari E, Pak JE, Huey-Tubman KE, Koranda N, Hoffman PR, West AP Jr, Rice CM, Hatziioannou T, Bjorkman PJ, Bieniasz PD, Caskey M, Nussenzweig MC. Nature. 2020 Jun 18. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2456-9. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32555388.

Funding: NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Caltech Merkin Institute for Translational Research George Mason University European ATAC Consortium G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation Robert S. Wennett Post-Doctoral Fellowship Shapiro-Silverberg Fund for the Advancement of Translational Research Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


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Cunha, Burke A. "Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Infectious Mononucleosis (Mono)." Medscape. July 11, 2017. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/222040-overview>.

Macsween, K.F., C.D. Higgins, K.A. McAulay, H. Williams, N. Harrison, A.J. Swerdlow, and D.H. Crawford. "Infectious Mononucleosis in University Students in the United Kingdom: Evaluation of the Clinical Features and Consequences of the Disease." Clin Infect Dis 50.5 (2010): 699.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Epstein-Barr Virus and Infectious Mononucleosis." May 8, 2018. <https://www.cdc.gov/epstein-barr/index.html>.

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Tonsillitis (Adenoiditis)

Tonsillitis is a contagious infection with symptoms of bad breath, snoring, congestion, headache, hoarseness, laryngitis, and coughing up blood. Tonsillitis can be caused acute infection of the tonsils, and several types of bacteria or viruses (for example, strep throat or mononucleosis). There are two types of tonsillitis, acute and chronic.

Acute tonsillitis lasts from one to two weeks while chronic tonsillitis can last from months to years. Treatment of tonsillitis and adenoids include antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, and home remedies to relieve pain and inflammation, for example, salt water gargle, slippery elm throat lozenges, sipping warm beverages and eating frozen foods (ice cream, popsicles), serrapeptase, papain, and andrographism Some people with chronic tonsillitis may need surgery (tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy).

Liver Blood Tests

Neutropenia

Neutropenia is a marked decrease in the number of neutrophils, neutrophils being a type of white blood cell (specifically a form of granulocyte) filled with neutrally-staining granules, tiny sacs of enzymes that help the cell to kill and digest microorganisms it has engulfed by phagocytosis.

Signs and symptoms of neutropenia include gum pain and swelling, skin abscesses, recurrent ear and sinus infections, sore mouth, low-grad fever, pneumonia-like symptoms, and pain and irritation around the rectal area.

Neutropenia has numerous causes, for example, infections (HIV, TB, mono) medications (chemotherapy) vitamin deficiencies (anemia) bone marrow diseases (leukemias), radiation therapy, autoimmune destruction of neutrophils, and hypersplenism.

Treatment of neutropenia depends upon the cause and the health of the patient.

Sore Throat

Sore throat (throat pain) usually is described as pain or discomfort in the throat area. A sore throat may be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, toxins, irritants, trauma, or injury to the throat area. Common symptoms of a sore throat include a fever, cough, runny nose, hoarseness, earaches, sneezing, and body aches. Home remedies for a sore throat include warm soothing liquids and throat lozenges. OTC remedies for a sore throat include OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Antibiotics may be necessary for some cases of sore throat.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat. Signs and symptoms of strep throat include headache, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, and fever.

Strep throat symptoms in infants and children are different than in adults. Strep throat is contagious and is generally passed from person-to-person. Treatment for strep throat symptoms include home remedies and OTC medication however, the only cure for strep throat are antibiotics.


Does the saliva of a person just recovered from an infectious disease help to cure another persons having the same disease? - Biology

This post is reviewed every day and updated as needed. It was first published on March 3, 2020.

Merry Jennifer Markham, MD, FACP, FASCO, is Chief of the University of Florida (UF) Division of Hematology & Oncology, a Clinical Professor in the UF College of Medicine, and the Associate Director for Medical Affairs at the UF Health Cancer Center. She specializes in the treatment of gynecologic cancers. Dr. Markham is the Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Gynecologic Cancers and the past chair of ASCO's Cancer Communications Committee. Follow her on Twitter at @DrMarkham.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is aware that people with cancer and cancer survivors, particularly those with compromised immune systems, are likely worried about the potential impact of COVID-19 on their health. Patients should talk with their oncologists and health care teams to discuss their options to protect themselves from infection.

What do I need to know about COVID-19 vaccines?


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The first 2 COVID-19 vaccines to receive emergency use authorization in the United States were the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The third vaccine to receive emergency authorization was the Janssen vaccine, which is made by Johnson & Johnson. While these are not official U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals, the authorization does allow use of these vaccines in the United States.

The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is for use in people 12 years of age or older and is administered in 2 doses, 3 weeks apart. The Moderna vaccine is for use in people 18 years of age or older and is administered in 2 doses, 1 month apart. The Janssen vaccine is a single-dose vaccine and is for individuals 18 and older.

The most common expected side effects of the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines include pain at the injection site, tiredness, muscle pain, headache, chills, joint pain, and fever. Side effects should be expected, and these side effects will go away within 3 days. Side effects are sometimes worse with the second dose, but again, these side effects should go away within 3 days. If you still have side effects more than 3 days after your vaccine dose, let your doctor know.

One rare side effect of COVID-19 vaccination is swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpit, which could be mistaken as a sign of breast cancer. Because of this unusual side effect, delay your mammogram for at least 1 month after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

The most common side effects of the Janssen vaccine were pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and nausea. Most of these side effects were mild to moderate in severity and lasted 1 to 2 days.

Because these 3 COVID-19 vaccines are available under emergency use authorization and are not fully approved by the FDA, any data on unexpected side effects are being monitored closely. When something uncommon happens, this information is reported to the FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so that further investigations may be performed. For example, 6 people (out of more than 6.8 million people) who received the Janssen vaccine were reported to have a rare type of blood clot. Because of this, the Janssen vaccine administration was briefly paused so that these cases could be reviewed and the relationship to the vaccine could be determined. This does not mean that the vaccine is dangerous. Pauses like this are an important and expected safety mechanism in the development of any new medications or vaccines.

For COVID-19 vaccines that are 2-dose vaccines, both doses are recommended to ensure full vaccination. Also, if you receive the Pfizer vaccine for the first dose, you should also receive the Pfizer vaccine for the second dose. If you receive the Moderna vaccine for the first dose, you should also receive the Moderna vaccine for the second dose. Mixing doses from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is not recommended.

It's important to note that these available COVID-19 vaccines are believed to be effective against variants of the virus, and data continues to be collected, so this can be studied more.

The CDC initially recommended that vaccines first be distributed to health care workers and long-term care facility (i.e., nursing home) residents. Vaccine eligibility is now expanded and there are plenty of vaccine doses available in the United States. Vaccination distributions are being coordinated at the state level, and you may find out more information about vaccination availability by checking with your county or state health department or through your local pharmacies. It is also unknown whether a booster dose of vaccine may be useful, especially in people with compromised immune systems. These issues are being studied and more information will be available over time.

The COVID-19 vaccine studies included people with medical conditions such as chronic lung disease, diabetes, and obesity, but they did not include people with cancer or those receiving cancer treatment. This means that the efficacy of the vaccine in people with cancer or those undergoing cancer treatment is unknown at this time.

Despite the lack of information on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in people with cancer, many vaccinations are recommended for people with cancer, including the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine and the flu vaccine. Some vaccines are OK to receive during cancer treatment, when the immune system is weak, but some vaccines, such as live virus vaccines, should not be given during cancer treatment. The COVID-19 vaccine is not a live virus vaccine.

Experts agree that the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people with cancer, cancer survivors, and those currently on cancer treatment, including chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The only people who should not be offered the vaccine are those who may have a harmful reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to a specific vaccine component. Talk with your doctor or your cancer care team about whether a COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for you, based on your own medical history. Your doctor will also have more information, over time, about when a vaccine is available for you. Read an FAQ about the COVID-19 vaccine and how it relates to people with cancer. (This link takes you to a different ASCO website.)

Once you have been fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends that you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic, without wearing a mask or physically distancing. In most cases, individuals are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 until 2 weeks after their final dose of the vaccine. However, in some areas, you may still be required to wear a mask and keep physically distant, such as in hospitals or clinics, public transportation, and others. Also, some local, state, or federal laws may still require these precautions. Be sure to see what precautions will still be required in your area by checking with your local government.

No vaccine is 100% effective, and sometimes, vaccinated people can still get COVID-19, which is called a “breakthrough infection.” The risk of this is very low, and vaccinated people are unlikely to become very ill. If you have cancer or are receiving cancer treatment, you may feel more protected if you continue wearing a mask when you are in public. Check with your doctor for specific guidance if you feel you are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.

The virus will remain in the community until the majority of residents are vaccinated, so these precautions are critical to preventing continued spread of the virus.

If you have more questions about the vaccine, you can find answers at www.getvaccineanswers.org. (Note that this link will take you to a separate website.)

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19, or coronavirus disease 2019, is an illness caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that was first identified in an outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause mild illnesses, such as the common cold, to more severe diseases, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Because the novel coronavirus is related to the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV), the virus has been named SARS-CoV-2. The exact source of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is not certain but likely originated in bats.

The virus can spread from person to person, through small droplets from the nose or mouth that are produced when a person coughs or sneezes. Another person may catch COVID-19 by breathing in these droplets or by touching a surface that the droplets have landed on and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus spreads through close contact, but it can also be spread by airborne transmission. In an enclosed space, virus particles can remain in the air for minutes to hours and can infect people at distances of more than 6 feet.

Symptoms from COVID-19 can be mild to severe and may appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure to the virus. The symptoms may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headaches, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. Other symptoms may include aches and pains, fatigue, nasal congestion or runny nose, or diarrhea. In some people, the illness may cause severe pneumonia and heart problems, and it may lead to death. Other people who are infected may not develop any symptoms.

COVID-19 can occur in both children and adults. Symptoms in children seem to be milder than symptoms in adults. Children with COVID-19 may be at risk for a multisystem inflammatory syndrome, with symptoms such as rash, fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Initial reports indicated that children and young adults were not as affected by COVID-19. However, people of all ages, including infants, can die from this disease. In addition, deaths seem to occur disproportionately in diverse populations, including Black and Hispanic populations.

An analysis of 928 people with cancer and COVID-19 presented during the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program revealed that having active, progressing cancer was associated with a 5 times higher risk of dying within 30 days compared with patients who were in remission from cancer.

Viruses commonly change over time through mutation, and several variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been identified. For example, a new variant of the virus was identified in September 2020 in the United Kingdom and is now in many countries, including the United States. This virus variant spreads more easily from person to person, but it is not believed to be more deadly.

What can I do to avoid getting COVID-19?

Although 3 vaccines have received emergency use authorization from the FDA, there are still no vaccines that have received formal FDA approval. Clinical trials to test the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines are still ongoing, and participation in these trials remains important. These trials will give scientists valuable information that can help patients and the general public in the long run. If you would like to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, ClinicalTrials.gov has a full listing of available studies.

The most important way to protect yourself is to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not vaccinated, stay at home as much as possible and avoid areas where people gather. Follow guidance on travel restrictions issued by the CDC or the World Health Organization (WHO).

Another critical way to protect yourself is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, about the amount of time it would take to hum the Happy Birthday song from beginning to end twice. If soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

In addition to washing your hands frequently, it’s important to:

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

If you must cough or sneeze, use a tissue. Then throw the tissue away. Or, cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hand.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Regularly clean frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If there has been a known COVID-19 exposure, then cleaning with disinfectant wipes or spray is important.

If you are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and are in public, it is important to wear a mask or cloth face covering that covers the nose and mouth. This can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community, especially because some people with COVID-19 have no symptoms and don’t know they have the virus, or they may not have yet developed symptoms. You should not wear masks with exhalation valves or vents because the vents allow your own respiratory droplets to leave the mask and can put others at risk. Double masking, such as wearing a cloth mask or nylon face covering over a surgical mask, is more effective at limiting transmission of the virus than wearing only 1 mask. The CDC now recommends double masking, rather than just wearing 1 mask. If you only wear 1 mask, it should be tight fitting around the nose and mouth.

Wearing a face mask does not replace social or physical distancing. If you are out in public and not vaccinated, you should do both: practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet from other people and wear a mask.

There is no scientific evidence that taking zinc or vitamin C, even at high doses, can help to prevent COVID-19. Using mouthwash and nasal rinses, or ingesting mouthwash in large amounts, also will not prevent COVID-19 and can be dangerous.

Are there special precautions that people with cancer should take?

People with cancer, people who are in active cancer treatment, older patients, and people with other serious chronic medical conditions, such as lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease, are at higher risk for the more severe form of COVID-19 that could lead to death. Studies have shown that people with active or progressing cancer may be at higher risk than those whose cancer is in remission. The same rules apply for people with cancer as for those without cancer: Be sure to wash your hands well, and wash them frequently. Avoid touching your face, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

People who are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 should avoid any non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially important for people who have not yet been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not vaccinated, stay at home to reduce your exposure to the virus, practice physical distancing, and avoid social gatherings, including smaller gatherings with family or friends who don't live with you. Wear a cloth face covering or mask, and make your trip out as brief as possible. If you have been vaccinated, you are able to return to normal activities. However, some places may continue to require masking and physical distancing.

If you are vaccinated, outdoor activities are safe without physical distancing. If you are not vaccinated, walking or exercising outdoors is fine as long as the area is not crowded and you are able to keep a distance of at least 6 feet from other people.

A good rule of thumb during emergency situations such as the pandemic is to keep enough essential medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, to last for at least 1 month. Create and keep updated an emergency contact list that includes family, friends, neighbors, and community or neighborhood resources who may be able to provide information or assistance to you if you need it.

In order to stay connected to your support system, connect with your family and friends virtually, through video chats or phone calls. Some examples of technology that can be used for video or other live chats are FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook.

If you are scheduled for cancer treatments, have a discussion with your oncologist about the benefits and risks of continuing or delaying treatment. If you are not scheduled for cancer treatment but are scheduled for an appointment with your oncologist, it may be possible for the doctor to conduct the visit using videoconferencing or telemedicine. Be sure to check with your cancer care team to see if this is recommended for you.

Finally, it is always important to have your health care wishes in writing, in case you are too sick to make decisions for yourself. This way, your family and your medical team will know what is important to you and what your wishes are. If you have not yet done this, now is a good time. Cancer.Net has valuable information on this topic. Because some hospitals and clinics are limiting visitors, and some are allowing no visitors, having your health care wishes in writing is more important than ever. Here are some examples of important questions to ask yourself, to discuss with your loved ones, and to write down:

What level of quality of life would be unacceptable to me?

What are my most important goals if my health situation worsens?

If I am unable to speak for myself, who is the person in my life who I would want to speak for me?

Who should not be involved in making decisions for me?

If my heart stops, do I want to have CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) done?

Will anything change with my cancer-related medical visits?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased risk of exposure to the virus by going out in public, most hospitals and clinics have changed their visitation policies. Some may allow 1 visitor per patient, and others may allow no visitors. Masks and physical distancing will likely still be required. Before heading to your medical appointment, check with the clinic or hospital for their current visitor policy.

Your cancer care team may conduct some of your appointments by telemedicine. During a telemedicine appointment, you are able to stay at home and visit with your doctor or other health care team member through video conferencing using your phone or computer. Your doctor’s office will give you instructions on how to have your visit this way. If you are interested in having a visit by telemedicine rather than in person, ask your doctor's office staff if this is possible.

If community spread of COVID-19 in your area is high, your doctor may recommend delaying some treatments for supportive care, such as bone-strengthening treatments, for example, denosumab (Xgeva) or zoledronic acid (Zometa), or intravenous iron supplementation. They will only recommend delaying treatments if they feel it is in your best interest to do so.

Early in the pandemic, cancer screening tests, such as mammograms or colonoscopies, and other tests, such as bone density tests, were often delayed to reduce your risk of exposure to the virus. However, it is still important to receive regular cancer screening, even during a pandemic. The Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Back on the Books website can help you learn more about COVID-19 and safe cancer screening.

For people who are at high risk of cancer, such as those with a hereditary cancer syndrome like Lynch Syndrome or a BRCA mutation, your doctor may recommend delaying some cancer risk-reducing procedures. They will only recommend this if they feel it's safest for you, based on the virus transmission rates where you live and your own personal risk. It's always best to discuss timing of these tests and procedures with your doctor.

What should I do if I think I may have COVID-19?

Call ahead before visiting your health care professional or the emergency department if you have a fever and other symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as cough and shortness of breath. Let them know if you think you may have COVID-19. They will ask you questions about your symptoms, travel history, exposure, and medical risk factors to find out if you should be tested for COVID-19. They will then give you instructions on how to get tested in your community. It is important to note that even if you are vaccinated, you may still develop COVID-19, but the risk is very low and the illness is likely to be mild.

A common question I hear from patients is about which doctor to call. I recommend calling the doctor who you have the most contact with. If you have been off cancer treatment for more than a year and are seeing your primary care provider regularly, you may call your primary care provider. However, if you are seeing your oncologist more regularly or are on active cancer treatment, call your oncologist.

If you are receiving cancer treatment that suppresses the immune system and you develop a fever and respiratory symptoms, call your oncologist as you usually would if you develop a fever while on treatment. Be sure to follow their guidance on when to come into the office or hospital and when it’s safer to stay home.

Severe symptoms could be a medical emergency, and you may need to call 911. If you or your loved one has symptoms, such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, new confusion, or bluish lips, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Testing for COVID-19 involves inserting a 6-inch-long swab, similar to a Q-tip, deep into the nasal cavity for at least 15 seconds. The swab is inserted into a special container and sent to a laboratory for testing. Saliva tests are also available in some areas. There are several FDA-approved at-home self-collection kits for this virus, approved under an emergency-use authorization. These tests often include a medical screening questionnaire and up-front payment, and the samples are sent to a lab for testing. The FDA has also given emergency use authorization to an over-the-counter, at-home test that can give results in about 20 minutes. This test involves a nasal swab that can detect fragments of the virus, if they are present. You should discuss with your doctor whether these are the right tests for you. If you decide to take an at-home test, be sure to let your cancer care team know the results.

If it is possible that you have COVID-19, you should stay at home and isolate yourself while you are tested and waiting for your test results. Staying home when you are sick is the best way to prevent transmitting the novel coronavirus and other respiratory viruses, such as the flu, to other people. If you live with someone, you should quarantine yourself in one part of the home, if possible, to lower the risk of spreading the virus to the rest of the people who live with you.

If you are concerned that you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, closely watch for developing symptoms. Check your temperature regularly for fevers. If you have active cancer or are currently in cancer treatment, let your medical team know about your possible exposure.

On June 3, 2020, a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine that included 821 people with no symptoms of COVID-19 who had a household or work exposure to COVID-19. This study showed that treatment with hydroxychloroquine after an exposure to someone with COVID-19 did not provide any benefit.

Is there a way to find out if I have already had COVID-19?

Antibody tests, also known as serologic tests, have been developed, and these tests may be able to find out if you have already had a COVID-19 infection by identifying whether there are antibodies in the blood. Antibodies are specific proteins made by the body in response to an infection.

Antibody tests are not perfect. Some people who get COVID-19 may not make antibodies. Or they may make very low levels of antibodies. Some people may have a “false positive” antibody test, meaning the test finds antibodies, but the antibodies are related to a different coronavirus and not COVID-19.

Antibody tests should not be used to make a current diagnosis of COVID-19. It can take between 1 and 3 weeks after the infection for the body to make antibodies.

If you have had a COVID-19 infection, whether diagnosed through a test for the virus or through an antibody test, it is possible (but not certain) that you may have immunity for about 3 months. However, if suspicious symptoms develop within that 3-month period after the COVID-19 infection, another test for COVID-19 is recommended, unless there is another obvious cause for those symptoms.

If I have had COVID-19, will I be able to continue cancer treatment?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should have a discussion with your oncologist about the impact of this on your cancer treatment. Some cancer treatment centers may require a negative COVID-19 test before chemotherapy or other cancer treatment starts again. However, some patients with COVID-19 continue to test positive even after recovering from their symptoms. In this situation, your health care team will consider the risks and benefits of restarting cancer treatment despite the positive test. Some treatments, especially those that do not impair the immune system, may be able to continue, especially if you have tested positive for the virus but do not have symptoms or have only mild symptoms.

When your cancer treatment resumes or continues after COVID-19, it is important to wear a mask when coming to the infusion clinic or cancer treatment center and to practice good hand hygiene by using hand sanitizer or handwashing before and after visits.

Are there any treatments available for COVID-19?

There are no cures for COVID-19. Scientists are working hard to develop and test treatments for COVID-19. Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. Working very quickly, researchers and physicians have developed clinical trials to find effective treatments for this disease. Clinical trials for potential COVID-19 treatments are now open in many locations in the United States and in other countries. If you have been diagnosed with the coronavirus disease and you join a clinical trial for patients with COVID-19, you may be able to receive these medications. Also, by joining a clinical trial, your participation will help scientists find the most effective and safe treatment for the illness. The NCI COVID-19 in Cancer Patients Study (NCCAPS) and a study at Stanford, for example, are designed to collect symptoms from people who may have COVID-19 to help researchers learn the course of the disease and help find a treatment.

Remdesivir, an antiviral medication, may be helpful in treating COVID-19 infections. The drug received an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA on May 1, 2020, and became the first FDA-approved treatment for COVID-19 on October 23, 2020. Remdesivir is approved for patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization. It may decrease time spent hospitalized but does not prevent death.

Bamlanivimab is an antibody treatment given by vein (intravenously) that was given an FDA Emergency Use Authorization on November 9, 2020, for the treatment of people ages 12 and older who test positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and are at risk of having severe COVID-19 or hospitalization. This drug is still being studied in clinical trials, but early information seems to suggest that it may reduce hospitalizations or emergency room visits in some patients. Two more intravenous antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab, were given FDA Emergency Use Authorization on November 21, 2020, for the treatment of mild or moderate COVID-19 in patients who are at high risk for developing more severe disease. These 2 antibodies are given together. None of these newest antibodies are for people who are receiving oxygen or who are hospitalized.

Dexamethasone, a steroid medication, can be beneficial for critically ill patients with COVID-19. A report from the U.K. Recovery Trial found that dexamethasone can help save lives in people who require oxygen therapy or are on a ventilator. In this population of very ill patients, receiving dexamethasone resulted in a lower rate of death at 28 days. The drug unfortunately does not seem to help in cases of mild disease.

Convalescent plasma is the liquid portion of blood that can be collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19. This plasma may have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. Convalescent plasma is being studied in clinical trials as a possible treatment, and the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for it on August 23, 2020. However, its benefits and risks still have not been confirmed in randomized clinical trials. If you have fully recovered from a COVID-19 infection, you may be able to donate your plasma at a blood bank in your area in order to potentially help others. Learn more about donating convalescent plasma at the websites of the Red Cross and AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks).

Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) initially seemed promising as a possible treatment for COVID-19, but after various clinical trials reported data on its safety and effectiveness, this medication was not found to be helpful. Hydroxychloroquine is not recommended for the treatment of COVID-19, either alone or in combination with any other drugs.

A version of chloroquine (chloroquine phosphate) is used as an additive to clean fish aquariums. Consuming this fish tank additive has led to at least 1 death and other overdoses. Do not consume this product—it can kill you.

Drinking bleach or injecting bleach or other household disinfectants is very dangerous and can kill you. Another proposed treatment to avoid is oleandrin, an extract that comes from a toxic shrub. Ingesting even a small amount of the plant can kill you. These are not treatments for COVID-19, and they will not help prevent it.

Do not take ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasites and head lice. Ivermectin products are made differently for animals and for humans. Ivermectin is not an antiviral medication. Taking this medication has not been shown to be helpful in treating COVID-19. Consuming it, especially at doses recommended for animals, can be dangerous and may result in overdose, hospitalization, and death.

How do we return to school or work safely?

Across the country, local and state officials have worked with school systems to plan school openings. Some schools are offering only in-person education, a small number of schools are completely virtual, and others still are offering some blend of the two.

If you or your children are returning to school in person, and especially if you are not vaccinated against COVID-19, wearing a face covering or mask that covers the nose and mouth at all times is important to lower the risk of spread. If physical distancing is possible, please do so. Use hand sanitizer frequently and wash hands whenever possible. Stay home or keep children at home if they are sick or have a fever.

When returning to in-person work, the same rules apply. Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the safest approach. If you are not vaccinated, avoid large gatherings of people, physical distance as much as possible, and wear a mask at all times. Regularly clean desks and other frequently touched surfaces. If there has been a known exposure to COVID-19 in the space, then cleaning with disinfectant wipes is important. Do not go to work when you are sick or if you have a fever.

Finally, be sure to get a flu shot during flu season. This can help protect you and those around you.

When will things return to normal?

The rates of infection from the virus have fluctuated since early 2020, but the virus has not gone away and it likely won’t anytime soon. Overall, in the United States, the number of cases of COVID-19 and the number of deaths from the virus have continued to increase, though rates fluctuate in various communities. With COVID-19 vaccines now widely available, a return to normal is expected. Masking and physical distancing continue to be important, especially indoors and for those who are not vaccinated. Masks will likely continue to be required in health-care settings.

If your local community, county, or state has allowed nonessential businesses to reopen or remain open and if you are not vaccinated against COVID-19, the safest approach is to continue to stay at home and avoid being in public as much as possible. Wear face masks and consider double masking when you leave your home. Stay at least 6 feet away from other people.

If you decide to eat at a restaurant, it’s safest to eat outside, and you should still wear a mask if you are not vaccinated, unless you are eating or drinking. People who are vaccinated can feel more comfortable resuming pre-pandemic activities, such as dining in a restaurant and shopping.

Many people believe that a negative COVID-19 test means that it’s safe to gather with friends or family members outside of your household. However, this is not true. It is important to remember that a negative COVID-19 test only means that the person was negative at the moment of that test. The test only gives information about the level of virus at the exact time of the test. Someone could have COVID-19 but not yet have enough virus to test positive. Also, these tests are not 100% accurate.

The safest approach, especially if you are considered high risk and if you are not vaccinated, is to continue living as if the stay-at-home restrictions are still in place. If you have been vaccinated, it is now possible to ease back into social events.

If you have questions about your personal risk due to your cancer or cancer treatment, be sure to speak with your doctor for their guidance.

Where can I get the latest information about COVID-19?

Staying up to date on the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak is important. The CDC and your local and state health departments will have ongoing information about whether the disease has been diagnosed in your community.

This information is also available in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Arabic (PDF).


Encountering Microbes

Microbes have inhabited the earth for billions of years and may be the earliest life forms on the planet. They live in every conceivable ecological niche—soil, water, air, plants, rocks, and animals. They even live in extreme environments, such as hot springs, deep ocean thermal vents, and Antarctic ice. Indeed microbes, by sheer mass, are the earth’s most abundant life form and are highly adaptable to external forces.

New Meeting Places

Any changes that create new intersections between microbes and people pave the way for disease-causing agents to enter our species. One such change that has put us at risk is the global human population explosion𠅏rom about 1.6 billion people in 1900 to nearly 7 billion today. Humans have cleared forests for agriculture and suburbanization, leading to closer contact with environments that may harbor novel (or newly introduced) pathogens. Through much of the world’s developing tropical regions, the massive expansion of roads and human settlements has also created transition zones filled with opportunities for contact with potential disease-causing agents.

Human travel and commerce have brought other risks. Almost 2 million passengers, each a potential carrier of infection, travel daily by aircraft to international destinations. International commerce, especially in foodstuffs, adds to the global traffic of disease-causing microbes. Because the transit times of people and goods are often shorter than the incubation periods of infection, carriers of disease can arrive at their destination before the infection they harbor is detectable. International trade and travel are associated with the emergence of such infectious agents as the SARS coronavirus and West Nile virus.

Changes in human demographics and behavior are linked with the emergence of infections such as AIDS and hepatitis C, through sexual activity and intravenous drug use. More broad-scale changes that raise the risk of infectious disease include the breakdown of public health systems, poverty, war, and famine.

Entering the Human Host

Microorganisms capable of causing disease—pathogens—usually enter our bodies through the mouth, eyes, nose, or urogenital openings, or through wounds or bites that breach the skin barrier. Organisms can spread—or be transmitted𠅋y several routes.

Contact: Some diseases spread via direct contact with infected skin, mucous membranes, or body fluids. Diseases transmitted this way include cold sores (herpes simplex virus type 1) and sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. Pathogens can also be spread by indirect contact when an infected person touches a surface such as a doorknob, countertop, or faucet handle, leaving behind microbes that are then transferred to another person who touches that surface and then touches his or her eye, mouth, or nose. Droplets spread by sneezes, coughs, or simply talking can transmit disease if they come in contact with mucous membranes of the eye, mouth, or nose of another person. SARS, tuberculosis, and influenza are examples of diseases spread by airborne droplet transmission.

Figure

Evidence for why it is important to cover your mouth when you sneeze.

Common vehicles: Contaminated food, water, blood, or other vehicles may spread pathogens. Microorganisms like E. coli and Salmonella enter the digestive system in this manner.

Vectors: Creatures such as fleas, mites, ticks, rats, snails, and dogs�lled vectors�n also transmit disease. The most common vector for human infection is the mosquito, which transmits malaria, West Nile virus, and yellow fever.

Airborne transmission: Pathogens can also spread when residue from evaporated droplets or dust particles containing microorganisms are suspended in air for long periods of time. Diseases spread by airborne transmission include measles and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.

HOW TINY ARE MICROBES?

Bacteria and viruses are almost unimaginably small. Bacteria are usually measured in microns (abbreviated “μm,” 1 micron equals 1 one-millionth of a meter), while viruses are measured in the even more miniscule unit of nanometers (abbreviated “nm,” 1 nanometer equals 1 one-billionth of a meter, or 1 one-thousandth of a micron). To give a sense of these measures, consider that the period at the end of this sentence is about 350 microns, or 350,000 nanometers, in diameter. If we magnify the period to one thousand times its actual size (see far left), a nearby Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacterium that causes hospital-acquired pneumonia and bloodstream infections, becomes visible. If, in turn, we magnify Pseudomonas 75 more times, or to 75,000 times its actual size, an adjacent influenza virus particle also becomes visible.


Coronavirus Vaccine

On Dec. 11, 2020, the FDA granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) in the U.S. for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Within a week, that agency also granted an EUA to a vaccine developed by Moderna. Johnson & Johnson's single shot vaccine was granted EUA in February, 2021.

The British government approved and began to give the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 8, 2020. Vaccines developed in China and Russia are now also being given in several other countries.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, taken a few weeks apart while J & J is just one shot. Health care workers and the elderly were originally given priority in receiving the vaccines but by May, the vaccines were made available to anyone over the age of 12 years-old.

These vaccines were developed at an unprecedented speed, with testing in humans starting in March 2020. The FDA says that no corners were cut to allow for approval and that the innoculations are safe. The CDC has said it is safe for pregnant women and there's no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problem with pregnancy,.

Clinical trials for other vaccines are still underway. If you're interested in volunteering for a COVID-19 vaccine trial, here are some sources of more information:

COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN). This is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and coordinated by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Its goal is to enroll thousands of volunteers into COVID vaccine trials nationwide. Many research centers are using this site to find volunteers.

Clinicaltrials.gov. This is a government database of public and private clinical studies done worldwide. The site also offers considerations for joining a clinical trial.

Sites that link volunteers with trials nationwide include:

Individual hospitals, universities, research centers, and others may also provide opportunities to enroll in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. Some include:

You can also call or visit the website of your local hospital or research institution to find out if they are taking part in any trials.


Fever, coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath may signal that someone has been infected with the coronavirus. (Covid-19 is the name for the disease caused by the virus.)

But it has become increasingly clear that people without symptoms can also infect others. In some cases, these people may later feel terrible enough to try to get tested, isolate themselves, seek treatment and notify friends and colleagues about potential risk. In still other cases, people with the virus may never experience the physical discomfort that would tip them off to the fact that they have been a danger to others.


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The Delta variant is the B.1.617.2 strain of coronavirus first identified in India that’s now spreading around the world.

“This variant is even more transmissible than the UK variant, which was more transmissible than the version of the virus we were dealing with last year,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.

In addition to increased transmissibility, “it may be associated with an increased disease severity, such as hospitalization risk,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

An analysis of 38,805 sequenced cases in England showed the Delta variant carried 2.61 times the risk of hospitalization within 14 days compared with the Alpha variant, when variables such as age, sex, ethnicity and vaccination status were taken into consideration.

Researchers believe the Delta variant has taken over as the dominant strain of coronavirus in the UK.

“We don’t want to let happen in the United States what is happening currently in the UK, where you have a troublesome variant essentially taking over as the dominant variant,” Fauci said.

But it’s happened before. The Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant, first detected in the UK, is “stickier” and more contagious than the original strain of novel coronavirus. It used to be the dominant variant in the UK and is now the dominant strain in the US.

The two-dose vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca have shown to be effective in protecting against the Delta variant — but the protection requires getting both doses, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“There is reduced vaccine effectiveness in the one dose. Three weeks after one dose, both vaccines, the (AstraZeneca) and the Pfizer/BioNTech, were only 33% effective against symptomatic disease from Delta,” he said.

“If you had your first dose, make sure you get that second dose. And for those who have been not vaccinated yet, please get vaccinated.”

Lab experiments described in a recent preprint study also suggest the Moderna vaccine, as well as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, will offer protection against the Delta variant — though more study is needed.

Johnson & Johnson says it’s gathering data on its vaccine and emerging variants.

The Delta variant is more transmissible than both the original strain of novel coronavirus and the Alpha (B.1.1.7) strain that’s currently dominant in the US, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.

“It’s yet another reason to get vaccinated quickly,” he said.

Now that all three vaccines authorized for use in the US have shown to be highly effective and safe in adults, one vaccine is already available for children ages 12 and up. And clinical trials are underway for younger children.

Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine is currently authorized for people ages 12 and up. Vaccine trial data for children as young as 5 could be available by the end of this year.

Johnson & Johnson said its vaccine, which is currently authorized for adults, could be available to children by September. “We will conduct several immunogenicity and safety studies in children from 17 years of age down to neonates,” said Dr. Macaya Douoguih, head of clinical development & medical affairs with J&J’s vaccine arm Janssen.

Moderna’s vaccine is currently authorized for people ages 18 and older. In late May, Moderna said early trial data shows the vaccine is safe and appears to be effective in 12- to 17-year-olds. On June 10, the company said it has asked the US Food and Drug Administration to authorize the vaccine for the adolescent age group.

As for elementary age children, vaccines might not be authorized for that age group until the end of 2021, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“Kids can transmit the virus. They are susceptible to it,” said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at UCLA.

In Florida, for example, the number of children who had been hospitalized with Covid-19 surged 23% in eight days last summer – from 246 on July 16 to 303 on July 24.

While children are far less likely to die from coronavirus than adults, studies show kids can contract and spread coronavirus:

– A study out of South Korea shows children at least 10 years old can transmit Covid-19 within a household just as much as adults can.

– In the US, a CDC study showed more than half of the children ages 6 to 10 who attended Georgia summer camp in June and got tested for Covid-19 tested positive.

The study – which examined test results following a camp that more than 600 campers 120 staffers attended – found that 51% of those ages 6 to 10 tested positive 44% of those ages 11 to 17 tested positive and 33% of those ages 18 to 21 tested positive.

“This investigation adds to the body of evidence demonstrating that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports, might play an important role in transmission,” wrote the CDC study’s authors.

“It is a normal human reaction to be afraid,” pediatrician Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez said. “They’re having a normal reaction, and perhaps they haven’t been able to sit down with their physician.”

She suggests finding a time to have a calm, rational conversation — when neither person is angry or likely to start a fight.

“The first thing I would say is ‘I get it. I totally get where you’re coming from and I understand that you’re concerned about this,’” Bracho-Sanchez said.

It’s not clear if or when vaccine booster shots might be needed, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in late May.

Research shows the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines stay highly effective for at least six months (and counting).

But it’s not clear how long the protection provided by vaccines will last.

“We don’t know if it’s a year. We don’t know if it’s nine months. We don’t know if it’s two years yet,” board-certified internist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez said.

“Obviously, the people that were in the (vaccine trial) studies that started in October or so, they’re being followed on a regular basis” to help determine how long vaccine immunity lasts, Rodriguez said.

“Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated,” the CDC says. Fully vaccinated means at least 2 weeks have passed since your last dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

For those traveling within the US, you “do NOT need to get tested or self-quarantine if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months. You should still follow all other travel recommendations,” the CDC says.

Americans traveling internationally should learn about the Covid-19 restrictions at their destination. Those flying back home to the US must provide proof that they have recently tested negative for coronavirus or recently recovered from Covid-19. They should also get a viral test 3 to 5 days after coming home, the CDC says.

For those who aren’t fully vaccinated but must travel, the guidelines are much tougher. The CDC says it’s important to wear a mask get tested within three days before traveling maintain physical distance from anyone not traveling with you and quarantine for 10 days after you return home. (That quarantine period can be reduced to 7 days if you get tested 3 to 5 days after coming home.)

“Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance,” the CDC says.

But those who aren’t vaccinated should keep wearing masks in public places (especially indoors) and when it might be hard to keep distance from people who don’t live with you.

“It’s estimated that about 70% of Americans must be vaccinated before we get to herd immunity through vaccination. That’s the point where enough people have the immune protection that the virus won’t spread anymore,” said emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen, a visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

“This means about 230 million Americans must receive the vaccine … At that point, we could probably see one another without masks — but not before.”

As of June 9, only about 140 million Americans — or about 42.5% of the US population — had been fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

“Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19,” the CDC says.

“That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.”

“There are actually six other coronaviruses – MERS and SARS and four other viruses that create the common cold. They don’t seem to do very well at creating long-term immunity,” epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant said.

“Many of the vaccines that we’ve made in history are actually stronger than the virus is itself at creating immunity.”

It’s literally impossible to get Covid-19 from any of the vaccines used in the US because none of them contains even a piece of actual coronavirus.

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines give about 95% protection against symptomatic Covid-19, and both are virtually 100% effective against severe Covid-19 illness. In their clinical trials, no one who was vaccinated died from Covid-19.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 72% effective against Covid-19 among US trial participants and 85% effective against severe Covid-19. Like the other two vaccines, no one who was vaccinated during the clinical trial died from Covid-19.

But Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was tested later – when coronavirus cases were surging and new variant strains were spreading more widely.

And unlike the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, which require two doses, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.

It’s too early to tell, the US Food and Drug Administration says.

The three vaccines currently used in the US were developed less than a year after Covid-19 was first detected in the US. The FDA said emergency authorization was swift, but it did not come at the cost of safety.

But since all Covid-19 vaccines are relatively new, it’s not clear exactly how long immunity from the vaccines will last.

“It may be that coronavirus vaccine becomes something that you have to get every year, like the flu vaccine,” emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen said.

Others say it’s possible you could go much longer without needing another Covid-19 vaccine — especially if enough people get vaccinated right now.

“The vaccine elicits such high levels of antibodies that even when confronted with a variant … there’s still meaningful protection,” said Dr. Scott Hensley, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied mRNA vaccines like Pfizer’s and Moderna’s for years.

“These mRNA vaccines – it really seems the level of antibodies they elicit are so high, they are persistent … I would not be surprised if this is a vaccine that we only get once.”

Vaccine trial participants are still being closely monitored. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine remains more than 91% effective against symptomatic Covid-19 for at least six months, the companies said. They said the vaccine also appeared to be fully effective against the worrying B.1.351 variant of the virus, which researchers feared had evolved to evade the protection of vaccines.

Research is still evolving, but a recent study examining antibodies suggests you could be immune for months after infection.

“Although this cannot provide conclusive evidence that these antibody responses protect from reinfection, we believe it is very likely that they will decrease the odds ratio of reinfection,” researchers from Mount Sinai wrote.

“It is still unclear if infection with SARS-CoV-2 [the scientific name for the novel coronavirus] in humans protects from reinfection and for how long.”

There have been some reports of people getting infected twice within several months. Doctors said a 25-year-old Nevada man appeared to be the first documented case of Covid-19 reinfection in the US. He was first diagnosed in April 2020, then recovered and tested negative twice. About a month later, he tested positive again.

A separate team of researchers said a 33-year-old man living in Hong Kong had Covid-19 twice, in March and August of 2020.

Last year, an 89-year-old Dutch woman – who also had a rare white blood cell cancer – died after catching Covid-19 twice, experts said. She became the first known person to die after getting reinfected.

But if you don’t get a vaccine, the consequences will extend far beyond yourself — even if you’re young and healthy now. Not only would you be more vulnerable to getting severely sick with Covid-19 or “long Covid” — it will also be harder to achieve herd immunity through vaccination.

In other words: Getting a vaccine is critical for slowing or possibly ending this pandemic. And that will help everyone get back to normal, faster.

If only half of all Americans are willing to get vaccinated, Covid-19 could stick around for years, said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

“It’s all free. The government is paying for this,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.

There’s growing evidence suggesting vaccines could also help prevent you from spreading coronavirus. But the CDC says there’s not enough data yet to prove whether vaccinated people could still carry the virus and infect others.

Moderna said its vaccine may be able to prevent infection and transmission.

“What Moderna did … is they took some extra samples, or test swabs, from the subject in the clinical trial between the first and second dose of vaccine. Remember, they give you two doses, and after four weeks they get that second dose of vaccine,” said Dr. Rick Bright, former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

“They looked at these samples, and they found out that more people who received the placebo dose got infected from the coronavirus than the people who get the vaccine dose. That means the first dose of vaccine actually could be offering some level of protection against infection – not just protection from severe illness,” he said.

“So if this plays out in a larger study, in a larger analysis, it could be very compelling to show that these vaccines could have impact over this protection of infection.”

(But you should not skip your second dose of a two-dose vaccine. Here’s why.)

A study from the UK suggests the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not yet been authorized for use in the US, might also help slow the spread of coronavirus. Researchers measured transmission by swabbing some participants for the virus every week. They found that the rate of positive tests declined by about half after two doses of the vaccine.

The FDA said it’s not yet clear whether the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine prevents people from infecting others.

“Most vaccines that protect from viral illnesses also reduce transmission of the virus that causes the disease by those who are vaccinated,” the FDA said. “While it is hoped this will be the case, the scientific community does not yet know if the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine will reduce such transmission.”

Some people have reported feeling temporary, flu-like symptoms. Don’t freak out if this happens to you, health experts say.

“These are immune responses, so if you feel something after vaccination, you should expect to feel that,” said Patricia Stinchfield of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

“And when you do, it’s normal that you have some arm soreness or some fatigue or some body aches or even some fever,” Stinchfield said.

Read more about what to do if you do get side effects and why side effects are often a good sign.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has shown no serious safety concerns, Pfizer said. Pfizer has said side effects “such as fever, fatigue and chills” have been “generally mild to moderate” and lasted one to two days.

Moderna said its vaccine did not have any serious side effects. It said a small percentage of trial participants had symptoms such as body aches and headaches.

With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the most common side effects were pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue and muscle pain. While the CDC recommends the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, “women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS),” the agency says. “TTS is a serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelets. There are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.”

Some Covid-19 survivors have reported problems weeks or months after testing positive.

  • In the 18-to-34 age group, 26% said they still had symptoms weeks later.
  • In the 35-to-49 age range, 32% were still grappling with the effects weeks later.
  • For those 50 and older, 47% said they still had symptoms weeks later.

And the risk of death from coronavirus-related heart damage seems to be far greater than previously thought, the American Heart Association said.

Inflammation of the vascular system and injury to the heart occur in 20% to 30% of hospitalized Covid-19 patients and contribute to 40% of deaths, the AHA said. AHA President Dr. Mitchell Elkind said cardiac complications of Covid-19 could linger after recovering from coronavirus.

Aerosolized spread is the potential for coronavirus to spread not just by respiratory droplets, but by even smaller particles called aerosols that can float in the air longer than droplets and can spread farther than 6 feet.

Respiratory aerosols and droplets are released when someone talks, breaths, sings, sneezes or coughs. But the main difference is size.

“If you have droplets that come out of a person, they generally go down within 6 feet,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

But aerosols (aka droplet nuclei) are smaller – less than 5 microns in diameter, according to the World Health Organization.

“Aerosol means the droplets don’t drop immediately,” Fauci said. “They hang around for a period of time.”

This becomes “very relevant” when you are indoors and there is poor ventilation, he said.

Multiple case studies suggest coronavirus can spread well beyond 6 feet through airborne transmission, such as during choir practices, said Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, chief clinical officer of Providence Health System.

In Washington state, for example, 53 members of a choir fell sick and two people died after one member attended rehearsals and later tested positive for Covid-19.

In July, 239 scientists backed a letter urging public health agencies to recognize the potential for aerosolized spread.

“There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room scale), and we are advocating for the use of preventive measures to mitigate this route of airborne transmission,” the letter said.

The Crisis Text Line is available texting to 741741. Trained volunteers and crisis counselors are staffed 24/7, and the service is free.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

For health care professionals and essential workers, For the Frontlines offers free 24/7 crisis counseling and support for workers dealing with stress, anxiety, fear or isolation related to coronavirus.

“You can certainly get both the flu and Covid-19 at the same time, which could be catastrophic to your immune system,” said Dr. Adrian Burrowes, a family medicine physician in Florida.

In fact, getting infected with one can make you more vulnerable to getting sick with the other, epidemiologist Dr. Seema Yasmin said.

“Once you get infected with the flu and some other respiratory viruses, it weakens your body,” she said. “Your defenses go down, and it makes you vulnerable to getting a second infection on top of that.”

On their own, both Covid-19 and the flu can attack the lungs, potentially causing pneumonia, fluid in the lungs or respiratory failure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

“The two (illnesses) together definitely could be more injurious to the lungs and cause more respiratory failure,” said Dr. Michael Matthay, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

And just like with Covid-19, even young, healthy people can die from the flu.

Doctors say the easiest way to help avoid a flu/Covid-19 double whammy is to get vaccinated.

Both the flu and Covid-19 can give you a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, body aches and a runny or stuffy nose, the CDC said.

“Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults,” the CDC said.

So the best way to know if you have the novel coronavirus or the flu (or both) is to get tested. The CDC has created a test that will check for both viruses, to be used at CDC-supported public health labs.

More than 40% of US adults have at least one underlying condition that can put them at higher risk of severe complications, according to the CDC.

Covid-19 patients with pre-existing conditions — regardless of their age — are 6 times more likely to hospitalized and 12 times more likely to die from the disease than those who had no pre-existing conditions, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.

While young, healthy people are less likely to die from Covid-19, many are suffering long-term effects from the disease.

Unvaccinated people from different households in a car should wear face masks, said Dr. Aaron Hamilton of the Cleveland Clinic.

“You should also wear one if you’re rolling down your window to interact with someone at a drive-thru or curbside pickup location,” Hamilton said.

It’s also smart to keep the windows open to help ventilate the car and add another layer of safety, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

If there are tissues nearby, you can take your mask off and sneeze into the tissue before putting your mask back on, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.

For kids in school — or anyone else who might have to wear a mask all day — keep a backup mask in a baggie in case the first mask gets dirty. You can put the dirty mask in the baggie.

It’s also a good idea to keep backup masks in your car in case of any mask accidents.

Coronavirus and Covid-19 are not the same thing, but sometimes the terms can be used interchangeably.

This “novel coronavirus” is novel because it just emerged in humans in late 2019. There have been six other coronaviruses known to infect humans, such as SARS (circa 2003) and MERS (circa 2012).

“Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface,” or coronas, the CDC says. The scientific name for this novel coronavirus is SARS-CoV-2, which stands for “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.”

Covid-19, however, is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The letters and numbers in “Covid-19” come from “Coronavirus disease 2019.”

About 2% to 5% of babies born to mothers with Covid-19 tested positive for coronavirus within the first four days of life, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

But infected mothers are unlikely to pass coronavirus to their newborns when appropriate precautions are taken, according to a study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

In that study, researchers found no cases of viral transmission among 120 babies born to 116 mothers with coronavirus — even when both shared a room and the mothers breastfed.

But the babies remained 6 feet apart from their mothers, except while breastfeeding. The moms also wore surgical masks when handling their newborns and followed proper hand and breast washing procedures.

That’s not recommended right now, according to the US Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

“This guidance may change as more becomes known about the course and treatment of COVID-19,” the network said.

“Donation and transplant clinicians should apply their medical judgment in instances where test results are pending at the time of organ offers.”

Yes, that’s a good idea because cell phones are basically “petri dishes in our pockets” when you think about how many surfaces you touch before touching your phone.

You should regularly disinfect your mobile phone anyway, with or without a coronavirus pandemic.

“There’s probably quite a lot of microorganisms on there, because you’re holding them against your skin, you are handling them all the time, and also you’re speaking into them,” said Mark Fielder, a professor of medical microbiology at Kingston University.

“And speaking does release droplets of water just in normal speech. So it’s likely that a range of microbes – including Covid-19, should you happen to be infected with that virus – might end up on your phone.”

Watch the best ways to disinfect your cell phone here.

There are certainly risks if you’re not vaccinated.

Coronavirus often spreads more easily indoors rather than outdoors — especially if you’re indoors for an extended period of time.

Researchers have also found that heavy breathing and singing can propel aerosolized viral particles farther and increase the risk of transmission.

During one fitness instructor workshop, about 30 participants with no symptoms trained intensely for four hours, according to research published by the CDC. Eight participants later tested positive, and more than 100 new cases of coronavirus were traced back to that fitness workshop.

To help mitigate the risk, many gyms are limiting capacity or requiring masks.

And while health experts have recommended staying 6 feet away from others, it’s smart to keep even more distance than that at the gym.

“With all the heavy breathing, you may even want to double the usual 6 feet to 12 feet, just to be safe,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.

For symptomatic carriers: If it’s been at least 10 days since your symptoms started and at least 24 hours since you’ve had a fever (without the help of fever-reducing medication) and your other symptoms have improved, you can go ahead and stop isolating, the CDC says.

(But it’s important to note symptoms typically don’t show up until several days after infection — and you can be more contagious during this pre-symptomatic time. Also, symptoms can last for weeks or months — including in young people.)

For asymptomatic carriers: People who tested positive but don’t have any symptoms can stop isolating 10 days after the first positive test – as long as they have not subsequently developed symptoms, the CDC says.

But 10 days is just a general guideline: “Because symptoms cannot be used to gauge where these individuals are in the course of their illness, it is possible that the duration of viral shedding could be longer or shorter than 10 days after their first positive test,” the CDC warned. With viral shedding, a person can infect others with the virus, even if they have no symptoms.

Asymptomatic carriers who have tested positive can also stop isolating if they get two negative test results from tests taken more than 24 hours apart. At that point, it’s very unlikely they are still contagious.

Doctors say wearing eye protection (in addition to face masks) could help some people, but it’s not necessary for everyone.

Teachers who have younger students in the classroom are “likely to be in environments where children might pull down their masks, or not be very compliant with them,” epidemiologist Saskia Popescu said. “There is concern that you could get respiratory droplets in the eyes.”

If you’re a health care worker or taking care of someone at home who has coronavirus, it’s smart to wear eye protection, said Dr. Thomas Steinemann, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

(Note: Regular glasses or sunglasses aren’t enough, because they leave too many gaps around the eyes.)

But if you’re vaccinated or not in a high-risk situation, wearing goggles isn’t necessary.

While it’s still possible to get Covid-19 through the eyes, that scenario is less likely than getting it through your nose or mouth, Steinemann said.

He said if a significant number of people were getting coronavirus through their eyes, doctors would probably see more Covid-19 patients with conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye (though having pink eye doesn’t necessarily mean you have coronavirus).

The CDC does not recommend using plastic face shields for everyday activities or as a substitute for face masks. There are a few exceptions, such as for those who are hearing-impaired and rely on lip-reading or those who have physical or mental health conditions that would be exacerbated by wearing a cloth face mask.

“Cloth face coverings are a critical preventive measure and are most essential in times when social distancing is difficult,” the CDC says.

Clinical and laboratory studies show cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth – what the CDC refers to as “source control.” And many people are contagious even when they don’t have any symptoms and don’t know they’re infected.

Face shields worn in addition to masks can provide an added layer of protection and can also help people stop touching their faces. Workers who are around people for long periods of time, such as grocery store workers or hospital personnel, may want to wear face shields in addition to masks, to increase their protection.

If someone must use a face shield without a mask, the CDC says the shield “should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.”

During the 2019-2020 flu season, an estimated 22,000 people in the US died from the flu, according to the CDC.

With Covid-19, the first known US death was in February 2020. By January 27, more than 427,000 people had died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 has now taken more than half a million US lives.

There are other reasons why coronavirus can be more dangerous than the flu:

    . Research indicates a person with the flu infects an average of 1.28 other people, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. With coronavirus, “it’s likely between 2 and 3” other people. But mitigation efforts can drastically reduce that number. . People with coronavirus might not get symptoms for 14 days, and some get no symptoms at all. But they can still infect others unknowingly. The incubation period for the flu is shorter, and most people get symptoms within two days of infection.

Children can be more reluctant because they’re more sensitive to new things than adults are, said Christopher Willard, a psychiatry lecturer at Harvard Medical School.

“There’s also the weird psychological aspect of not being able to see their own face or other people’s faces and facial expressions,” which can hinder their feelings of comfort or safety, he said.

To ease their mask fears, try buying or making masks with fun designs on them. Or have your child customize his or her own masks by drawing on them with markers.

You can also order children’s face masks with superheroes on them or show your kids photos of their favorite celebrities wearing masks.

It’s also important to set a good example by wearing a mask yourself. Show your children your own mask, and let them know that by wearing one, they’ll be just like Mom or Dad.

First, make sure the top of your mask fits snugly against your skin (to minimize vapor from your breath from going up toward your eyes). Then put your glasses over the snug-fitting top portion of your mask.

If that doesn’t do the trick, soap and water can create a barrier that prevents glasses from fogging up. Here’s how.

“Having cancer currently increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” the CDC says. “At this time, it is not known whether having a history of cancer increases your risk.”

Researchers found that patients whose cancer was getting worse or spreading were more than five times more likely to die in a month if they caught Covid-19.

But there are steps cancer patients can take to stay as healthy as possible:

  • Make sure you have at least a 30-day supply of your medications.
  • Don’t delay any life-saving treatment or emergency care during this pandemic.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider about your individual level of risk based on your condition, your treatment, and the level of transmission in your community.
  • Don’t stop taking your medicines or alter your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you think you may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
  • Read the CDC’s tips for preventing infections in cancer patients.

Technically, it can, but HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning) systems are not thought to be a significant factor in the spread of coronavirus.

Many modern air conditioning systems will either filter out or dilute the virus. Ventilation systems with highly effective filters are a key way to eliminate droplets from the air, said Harvard environmental health researcher Joseph Gardner Allen.

Filters are rated by a MERV system – their “minimum efficiency reporting value” that specifies their ability to trap tiny particles. The MERV ratings go from 1 to 20. The higher the number, the better the filtration.

HEPA filters have the highest MERV ratings, between 17 and 20. HEPA filters are used by hospitals to create sterile rooms for surgeries and to control infectious diseases. They’re able to remove 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and other airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.

For context, this coronavirus is thought to be between 0.06 to 1.4 microns in size.

But “HEPA filtration is not always going to be feasible or practical,” Allen said. “But there are other filters that can do the job. What is recommended now by the standard setting body for HVAC is a MERV 13 filter.”

High-efficiency filters in the 13-to-16 MERV range are often used in hospitals, nursing homes, research labs and other places where filtration is important.

“If you’re an owner of a home, building or mall, you want to have someone to assess your system and install the largest MERV number filter the system can reliably handle without dropping the volume of air that runs through it,” advised Erin Bromage, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

“In addition, virtually all modern air conditioning systems in commercial buildings have a process called makeup air where they bring in air from outside and condition it and bring it inside,” Bromage said. “It’s worse in regards to energy, but the more outside air we bring in, the more dilution of the virus we have and then the safer you are.”

Asymptomatic describes a person who is infected but does not have symptoms. With Covid-19, asymptomatic carriers can still easily infect others without knowing it. So if you’re infected but don’t feel sick, you could still get others very sick.

Some medical professionals differentiate between truly asymptomatic carriers – those who don’t currently have and will never have symptoms – from “pre-symptomatic” carriers – those who don’t have symptoms now, but will get them later. But the general public often uses the term “asymptomatic” to describe both categories of infected people.

An N95 respirator provides the best protection. But throughout the pandemic, N95s have been in high demand and short supply.

As for other masks, different types have different levels of effectiveness, according to researchers at Florida Atlantic University.

They compared four types of face masks commonly used by the public: a stitched mask with two layers of fabric, a commercial cone mask, a folded handkerchief, and a bandana. Researchers tested each to see which would likely offer the most protection if someone coughed or sneezed.

— With a cone-style mask, the droplets traveled about 8 inches.

— A folded handkerchief performed worse, with droplets traveling 1 foot, 3 inches.

— The bandana gave the least amount of protection of the cloth masks tested, with droplets traveling 3 feet.

— Still, any kind of cloth mask is better than none, the researchers found. Without any covering, droplets were able to travel 8 feet.

“People need to know that wearing masks can reduce transmission of the virus by as much as 50%, and those who refuse are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Unlike SARS and swine flu, the novel coronavirus is both highly contagious and especially deadly, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.

“SARS was also a coronavirus, and it was a new virus at the time,” Gupta said. “In the end, we know that SARS ended up infecting 8,000 people around the world and causing around 800 deaths. So very high fatality rate, but it didn’t turn out to be very contagious.”

The swine flu, or H1N1, “was very contagious and infected some 60 million people in the United States alone within a year,” Gupta said. “But it was far less lethal than the flu even — like 1/3 as lethal as the flu.”

What makes the novel coronavirus different is that “this is both very contagious … and it appears to be far more lethal than the flu as well.”

“People can be contagious without symptoms. And in fact – a little bit strangely in this case — people tend to be the most contagious before they develop symptoms, if they’re going to develop symptoms,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.

“They call that the pre-symptomatic period. So people tend to have more virus at that point seemingly in their nose, in their mouth. This is even before they get sick. And they can be shedding that virus into the environment.”

Some people infected with coronavirus never get symptoms. But it’s easy for these asymptomatic carriers to infect others, said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at UCLA’s School of Public Health.

“When you speak, sometimes you’ll spit a little bit,” she said. “You’ll rub your nose. You’ll touch your mouth. You’ll rub your eyes. And then you’ll touch other surfaces, and then you will be spreading virus if you are infected and shedding asymptomatically.”

That’s why health officials suggests people wear face masks while in public and when it’s difficult to stay 6 feet away from others.

The odds of transmitting coronavirus through sex hasn’t been thoroughly studied, though it has been found to exist in men’s semen.

But we do know Covid-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can spread via saliva, coughs, sneezes, talking or breathing — with or without symptoms of illness.

So three Harvard physicians examined the likelihood of getting or giving Covid-19 during sex and made several recommendations.

For partners who haven’t been isolating together, they should wear masks and avoid kissing, the authors write.

In addition to wearing masks, people who have sex with partners outside of their home should also shower before and after avoid sex acts that involve the oral transmission of bodily fluids clean up the area afterward with soap or alcohol wipes to reduce their likelihood of infection.

Yes, some young adults have suffered strokes after getting coronavirus.

“The virus seems to be causing increased clotting in the large arteries, leading to severe stroke,” said Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York.

“Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of Covid.”

But since then, the CDC, the US Surgeon General and other doctors have changed their recommendations and are now urging the widespread use of face masks.

“Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities,” the CDC said.

Scientists have made many recent discoveries about the new coronavirus, including:

  • It’s easy to spread this virus by just talking or breathing.
  • This coronavirus is highly contagious. Without mitigation efforts like stay-at-home orders, each person with coronavirus infects, on average, another two to three other people. That makes it twice as contagious as the flu.
  • This virus has a long incubation period – up to 14 days – giving a wide window of opportunity for people to infect others before they even know they’re infected.
  • Carriers may be most contagious in the 48 hours before they get symptoms, making transmission even more blind.

In other words, it’s not just people who are sneezing and coughing who can spread coronavirus. It’s often people who look completely normal and don’t have a fever. And that could include you.

Doctors say getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent coronavirus infection.

If you’re not vaccinated, it’s best to take the stairs if you can. But if you can’t, emergency room physician Dr. Leana Wen offers several tips:

  • Wear a mask. Not only does wearing a mask reduce your risk of inhaling the virus — which can linger in the air for 8 minutes — it also helps reduce your chances of infecting others if you are an asymptomatic carrier.
  • Use a tissue to push the elevator buttons. If you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow, then wash or disinfect that area when you can.
  • Try to keep your distance from anyone else inside the elevator as much as possible.

For those not fully vaccinated, try to avoid public restrooms if you can, said microbiologist Ali Nouri, president of the Federation of American Scientists. But he acknowledged that’s not always possible: “Sometimes when you gotta go, you gotta go.”

Close contact with others is the most significant risk in a public restroom, Nouri said. So if there’s a single-person bathroom available that doesn’t have multiple stalls, using that might be best.

If you do use a multi-stall public restroom, Nouri offers the following tips:

  • Don’t use your freshly washed hands to turn off the water with the germ-laden faucet handle. Instead, use a paper towel to turn off the water and open the bathroom door. Throw away the paper towel immediately afterward.
  • Wear a face mask. “Masks are one of the most effective ways to stop human-to-human transmission,” Nouri said. “If people in a public bathroom are not wearing masks, think twice before going in.”
  • If the restroom looks crowded, wait until it clears out, if you can. “You’re reducing the risk of inhaling aerosolized particles from other people,” Nouri said.

Yes — as long as you use the right kind of sanitizer and use it correctly.

Hand sanitizers “need to have at least 60% alcohol in them,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventative medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

And don’t just put a little dollop in your hand and smear it around quickly.

“You’ve got to use enough and get it all over the surfaces,” Schaffner said. “Rub it all over your hands, between your fingers and on the back of your hands.”

But it’s always better to thoroughly wash your hands, if you’re able to.

“Alcohol is pretty effective at killing germs, but it doesn’t wash away stuff,” said Dr. John Williams, a virologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“If somebody’s just sneezed into their hand, and their hand is covered with mucus, they would have to use a lot more alcohol to inactivate that bacteria or virus.”

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that people with Type A blood have a higher risk of getting infected with coronavirus and developing severe symptoms, while people with Type O blood have a lower risk – but the study has caveats.

The researchers cannot say if blood type is a direct cause of the differences in susceptibility. It could be that genetic changes that affect someone’s risk also just happen to be linked with blood type, they said.

The study’s findings, while plausible, may mean very little for the average person, said Dr. Roy Silverstein, a hematologist and chairman of the department of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

“The absolute difference in risk is very small,” he said. “The risk reduction may be statistically significant, but it is a small change in actual risk. You never would tell somebody who was Type O that they were at smaller risk of infection.”

The bottom line: “All of us are susceptible to this virus,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 response.

“It’s probably safe if you’re not at home,” said Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician. She suggested leaving the windows open to improve ventilation and asking the cleaners to use your own cleaning supplies so they don’t bring items that have been in other people’s houses.

That’s “not a great idea,” said Dr. Joseph Vinetz, a professor of infectious diseases at Yale School of Medicine. “We have no evidence about that.”

“If there’s a metal piece in an N95 or surgical mask and even staples, you can’t microwave them,” he said. “It’ll blow up.”

Vinetz said cloth masks can be washed and reused, and even disposable masks can be reused if you let them sit for several days.

To disinfect masks that you can’t wash, Vinetz recommends leaving them in a clean, safe place in your home for a few days. After that, it should no longer be infectious, as this coronavirus is known to survive on hard surfaces for only up to three days.

You could be hundreds of times more likely to save that dying person’s life than you are to die from Covid-19 if you contract it after performing CPR, according to a report published by a group of Seattle emergency room physicians in the journal Circulation.

But it’s important to act quickly for CPR to be effective.

“The chance of survival goes down by 10% for every minute without CPR,” said Dr. Comilla Sasson, vice president for science and innovation in emergency cardiovascular care at the American Heart Association. “It’s a 10-minute window to death in many cases.”

If you’re not certified in CPR, performing chest compressions could also buy more time until help arrives. Bystanders should “provide high-quality chest compressions by pushing hard and fast in the middle of the victim’s chest, with minimal interruptions,” the American Heart Association said.

If you’re not sure how “fast” to do to those chest compressions, singing any of these popular songs will help you get the right rhythm.

It’s not the water you need to worry about. It’s how close you might get to other people.

“Properly maintained pool water will not be a source of spread of the virus. The chlorine that’s in it will inactivate the virus fairly quickly,” immunologist Erin Bromage said.

“The level of dilution that would happen in a pool or an ocean or a large freshwater body would not lead to enough virus to establish an infection. But when you do this, you need to just make sure that we’re maintaining an appropriate physical distance while swimming or sitting in a hot tub.”

That’s because it’s easy for infected people with no symptoms to spread the virus if they’re within 6 feet from each other. If you have an indoor pool or hot tub, even 6 feet might not be enough distance.

Randomly spraying open places is largely a waste of time, health experts say.

It can actually do more harm than good. “Spraying disinfectants can result in risks to the eyes, respiratory or skin irritation,” the World Health Organization said.

“Spraying or fumigation of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is also not recommended to kill the COVID-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris, and it is not feasible to manually clean and remove all organic matter from such spaces,” the WHO said.

“Moreover, spraying porous surfaces, such as sidewalks and unpaved walkways, would be even less effective.” Besides, the ground isn’t typically a source of infection, the WHO said.

And once the disinfectant wears off, an infected person could easily contaminate the surface again.

Any large gathering can increase the spread because this coronavirus is transmissible by talking or even just breathing. Carriers of the virus can be contagious even if they don’t have symptoms.

And when people are “shouting and cheering loudly, that does produce a lot of droplets and aerosolization that can spread the virus to people,” said Dr. James Phillips, a physician and assistant professor at George Washington University Hospital.

So doctors and officials say its important to get vaccinated or wear a face mask and try to keep your distance from others as much as possible.

“To date, there is no evidence that very high vitamin D levels are protective against COVID-19 and consequently medical guidance is that people should not be supplementing their vitamin D levels beyond those which are currently recommended by published medical advice,” wrote Robin May, director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham in the UK.

Vitamin D is important for healthy muscles, strong bones and a powerful immune system. The recommended daily dose of vitamin D for anyone over age 1 is 15 mcg/600 IU per day in the US. For anyone over 70 years of age in the US, the recommended daily intake goes up to 20 mcg/800 IU per day.

But too much vitamin D can lead to a toxic buildup of calcium in your blood that can cause confusion, disorientation, heart rhythm problems, bone pain, kidney damage and painful kidney stones.

“Viruses can live on surfaces and objects — including on money — although your chance of actually getting COVID-19 from cash is probably very low,” emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen said.

The new coronavirus can live for up to 72 hours on stainless steel and plastic, up to 24 hours after landing on cardboard, and up to four hours after landing on copper, according to a study funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

So how do you protect yourself? To avoid touching cash or coins, use contactless methods of payment whenever possible, Wen said.

If you can’t use a contactless form of payment, credit cards and debit cards are much easier to clean and disinfect than cash. But remember that anyone who touches your credit card can also leave germs on it.

If you must use cash, “wash your hands well with soap and water” afterward, Wen said.

The same applies for anything else you touch that might have coronavirus on it. If you can’t wash your hands immediately, use hand sanitzier or disinfectant.

And since Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, make sure you avoid touching your face.

It appears unlikely, but the CDC advises taking precautions.

Experts believe coronavirus is mainly spread during close contact (about 6 feet) with a person who is currently infected, the CDC said.

“This type of spread is not a concern after death,” the CDC said. But it cautions that “we are still learning how it spreads.”

“There may be less of a chance of the virus spreading from certain types of touching, such as holding the hand or hugging after the body has been prepared for viewing,” the CDC said.

“Other activities, such as kissing, washing, and shrouding should be avoided before, during, and after the body has been prepared, if possible.”

If washing the body or shrouding are important religious or cultural practices, “families are encouraged to work with their community’s cultural and religious leaders and funeral home staff on how to reduce their exposure as much as possible,” the CDC said.

“At a minimum, people conducting these activities should wear disposable gloves. If splashing of fluids is expected, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be required (such as disposable gown, faceshield or goggles and N-95 respirator).”

Cremated remains can be considered sterile, as infectious agents do not survive incineration-range temperatures, the CDC said.

While some UV light devices are used for hospital disinfection, UV light only kills germs under very specific conditions — including certain irradiation dosages and exposure times, the World Health Organization said.

Two factors are required for UV light to destroy a virus: intensity and time. If the light is intense enough to break apart a virus in a short time, it’s going to be dangerous to people, said Donald Milton, a professor at the University of Maryland.

UVA and UVB light both damage the skin. UVC light is safer for skin, but it will damage tender tissue such as the eyes.

No. The US Food and Drug Administration says you don’t need to wash fresh produce with soap and water, but you should rinse it with plain water.

But it’s still important to wash your hands with soap and water frequently because we often touch our faces without realizing it. And that’s a way coronavirus can spread.

You don’t have to worry about getting coronavirus by “eating” it, though. Even if coronavirus does get into your food, your stomach acid would kill it, said Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University.

Coronavirus can stick to hair, said Dr. David Aronoff, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Touching contaminated hair and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose could increase your risk of infection. “Like on the skin, this coronavirus is a transient hitchhiker that can be removed by washing,” Aronoff said.

But that doesn’t mean you have to wash the hair on your head multiple times a day, said dermatologist Dr. Hadley King.

That’s because “living hair attached to our scalps may be better protected by our natural oils that have some antimicrobial properties and may limit how well microbes can attach to the hair,” she said.

“If you are going out into areas that could possibly be contaminated with viral particles, then it would be reasonable to wash the hair daily during the pandemic. But it’s not the same as hand washing – the virus infects us through our mucosal surfaces. If your hair is not falling into your face or you’re not running your fingers through it, then there is less of a risk.”

If your hair does fall into your face, you may want to pull it back to minimize your risk, King said.

As for facial hair, “washing at least daily if not more frequently is wise, depending on how often they touch their face,” Aronoff said.

There have been some reports of animals infected with coronavirus — including two pets in New York and eight big cats at the Bronx Zoo.

Most of those infections came from contact with humans who had coronavirus, like a zoo employee who was an asymptomatic carrier.

But according to the CDC, there is no evidence animals play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans. Therefore, at this time, routine testing of animals for Covid-19 is not recommended.

As always, it’s best to wash your hands after touching an animal’s fur and before touching your face. And if your pet appears to be sick, call your veterinarian.

This “Contact tracing 101” article explains how contact tracing works, how it quashed previous outbreaks, who can get hired, and why tracing is critical to helping reopen economies.

But the US hasn’t been doing nearly enough contact tracing, experts say. Here’s why.

Hot water is best for killing bacteria and viruses in your laundry. But you don’t want to use that kind of scalding hot water on your skin.

Warm water is perfectly fine for washing your hands — as long as you wash them thoroughly (like this) and for at least 20 seconds. (To time yourself, you can hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice or sing a couple of verses from any of these hit songs from the past several decades.)

Cold water will also work, “but you have to make sure you work really vigorously to get a lather and get everything soapy and bubbly,” said chemist Bill Wuest, an associate professor at Emory University. To do that, you might need to sing “Happy Birthday” three times instead of twice.

“Warm water with soap gets a much better lather – more bubbles,” Wuest said. “It’s an indication that the soap is … trying to encapsulate the dirt and the bacteria and the viruses in them.”

Yes, you can use soap and water on surfaces just like you would on your hands to kill coronavirus. But don’t use water alone — that won’t really help.

The outer layer of the virus is made up of lipids, aka fat. Your goal is to break through that fatty barrier, forcing the virus’ guts to spill out and rendering it dead.

In other words, imagine coronavirus is a butter dish that you’re trying to clean.

“You try to wash your butter dish with water alone, but that butter is not coming off the dish,” said Dr. John Williams, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“You need some soap to dissolve grease. So soap or alcohol are very, very effective against dissolving that greasy liquid coating of the virus.”

By cutting through the greasy barrier, Williams said, “it physically inactivates the virus so it can’t bind to and enter human cells anymore.”

Yes, coronavirus can live on the soles of shoes, but the risk of getting Covid-19 from shoes appears to be low.

A report published by the CDC highlighted a study from a hospital in Wuhan, China, where this coronavirus outbreak began.

The soles of medical workers’ shoes were swabbed and analyzed, and the study found that the virus was “widely distributed” on floors, computer mice, trash cans and door knobs. But it’s important to note the study was done in a hospital, where the virus was concentrated.

It’s still possible to pick up coronavirus on the bottoms of your shoes by running errands, but it’s unlikely you’ll get sick from it because people don’t often touch the soles of their shoes and then their faces. Because Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, the CDC advises wearing a mask while in public and washing your hands frequently– the correct way.

If you have small children who crawl or regularly touch the floor, it’s a good idea to take your shoes off as soon you get home to prevent coronavirus or bacteria from spreading on the floors.

There’s no evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted through food, the CDC says.

Even if coronavirus does get into your food, your stomach acid would kill it, said Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University.

“When you eat any kind of food, whether it be hot or cold, that food is going to go straight down into your stomach, where there’s a high acidity, low-pH environment that will inactivate the virus,” she said.

But it’s a good idea to disinfect the takeout containers, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. Coronavirus is a respiratory virus, and it’s easy to touch your face without realizing it.

If you don’t have disinfecting wipes, use your own plates or bowls to serve the food. Just make sure to wash your hands after transferring food from the containers.

“There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs,” the CDC says.

“Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”

But health officials still advise staying at least 6 feet away from others because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. In other words, you probably won’t get coronavirus from the water, but you could get coronavirus from someone close to you in the water.

As for drinking water, doctors say you don’t need to worry about coronavirus in the tap water because most municipal drinking water systems should remove or inactivate the virus.

“To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes,” the World Health Organization says. There’s also no evidence so far suggesting flies can spread coronavirus.

Yes you can, said Dr. Joseph Vinetz, an infectious diseases professor at Yale School of Medicine.

To disinfect masks that you can’t wash, Vinetz recommends leaving them in a clean, safe place in your home for a few days. After that, it should no longer be infectious, as this coronavirus is known to survive on hard surfaces for only up to three days.

You can reuse cloth masks, too. Just launder them between each use on a high-heat setting.

“That’s a bad idea,” said Dr. Colleen Kraft, an infectious diseases professor at Emory University School of Medicine. “It could definitely kill you.”

But the Reckitt Benckiser Group, which produces Lysol cleaning products, said “under no circumstance” should disinfectants be put into the human body.

Singapore was initially praised for its clampdown on the virus. Even people who had no symptoms but tested positive had to be hospitalized until they tested negative.

But Singapore was also relaxed, allowing businesses, churches, restaurants and schools to stay open during its first wave of the virus. And some communities were overlooked by government testing.

By contrast, Germany, South Korea, Iceland and Taiwan have had among the lowest death rates from Covid-19 in the world.

Taiwan was proactive, launching its Central Epidemic Command Center before the island even confirmed its first infection.

Iceland required all its citizens returning to the country to undergo 14 days of quarantine – regardless of which country they traveled from.

Germany and South Korea quickly launched widespread testing and have some of the highest per-capita testing rates in the world. Their ability to identify and isolate those infected has helped prevent deadlier outcomes.

“I don’t think you need to,” CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said.

Coronavirus can stay alive for up to three days on stainless steel and plastic. But clothing “is probably more like cardboard — it’s more absorbent, so the virus is unlikely to stay and last that long,” Gupta said.

While coronavirus can stay alive on cardboard for up to 24 hours, viruses generally don’t stick well on surfaces that are in motion.

“If you look at how viruses move through air, they kind of want to move around objects,” Gupta said. “They don’t want to necessarily land on objects. So if you’re moving as human body through the air … (it’s) unlikely to stick to your clothes.”

Not necessarily. Antibodies are a body’s response to bacteria or viruses. But this novel coronavirus is so new, it’s still not clear whether having antibodies to it means you have long-term protection from getting reinfected.

“The thing we don’t know yet is what is the relationship between the level of antibody and the degree of your protection,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Snapchat’s “Good Luck America” show.

“So you may be positive for an antibody, but not enough to protect you.”

There’s also a risk that some antibody tests might confuse the novel coronavirus with other coronaviruses, like the ones that cause the common cold.

Please don’t. The CDC advises using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

If the stores are out of hand sanitizer and you want to make your own, the Nebraska Medical Center offers this recipe:

What you’ll need:

  • 2/3 cup 91% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon or something for whisking
  • Small container, such as a 3-oz. travel bottle
  • Optional: essential oil to give your hand sanitizer a fragrance

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, stir isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera gel together until well blended.
Add 8-10 drops of scented essential oil (optional, but nice). Stir.
Pour the homemade hand sanitizer into an empty container and seal. Write “hand sanitizer” on a piece of masking tape and attach to the bottle.

This is not a good time to be vaping or smoking anything, including weed.

“Vaping affects your lungs at every level. It affects the immune function in your nasal cavity by affecting cilia, which push foreign things out,” said Prof. Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Research Control and Education at University of California San Francisco.

When you vape, “the ability of your upper airways to clear viruses is compromised,” Glantz said.

Tobacco smokers are at especially high risk. In a study from China, where the first Covid-19 outbreak occurred, smokers were 14 times more likely to develop severe complications than non-smokers.

Even occasionally smoking marijuana can put you at greater risk.

“What happens to your airways when you smoke cannabis is that it causes some degree of inflammation, very similar to bronchitis, very similar to the type of inflammation that cigarette smoking can cause,” said pulmonologist Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.

“Now you have some airway inflammation, and you get an infection on top of it. So yes, your chance of getting more complications is there.”

Coronavirus isn’t just infecting young people. It’s killing young, healthy people as well.

Dimitri Mitchell, 18, admits he had a “false sense of security.” But he was later hospitalized with coronavirus and now wants everyone to take it seriously.

“I just want to make sure everybody knows that no matter what their age is, it can seriously affect them. And it can seriously mess them up, like it messed me up,” the Iowa teen said.

“Four days in, the really bad symptoms started coming along. I started having really bad outbreaks, like sweating, and my eyes were really watery. I was getting warmer and warmer, and I was super fatigued. … I would start experiencing the worst headaches I’ve ever felt in my life. They were absolutely horrible.”

Eventually, the teen had to be hospitalized. His mother said she worried he might “fall asleep and never wake up.”

Mitchell is now recovering, but has suffered from long-term effects.

“I just hope everybody’s responsible, because it’s nothing to joke about,” he said. “It’s a real problem, and I want everybody to make sure they’re following social distancing guidelines and the group limits. And just listen to all the rules and precautions and stay up to date with the news and make sure they’re informed.”

No. That’s just a hoax going around the internet.

“The theory that 5G might compromise the immune system and thus enable people to get sick from corona is based on nothing,” said Eric van Rongen, chairman of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

Ideally, you should limit your children’s potential exposures to coronavirus and work out the safest plan possible with your ex.

The problem: Some state and county family courts might be closed, or open only for emergencies involving abuse or endangerment. So it might be difficult to formally modify pre-existing custody agreements.

But some states may be offering some flexibility during the pandemic. And there may be creative solutions, such as spending more time with one parent now in exchange for extra time with the other parent after the pandemic ends.

Up to three days, depending on the surface. According to a study funded by the US National Institutes of Health:

  • The novel coronavirus is viable up to 72 hours after being placed on stainless steel and plastic.
  • It was viable up to four hours after being placed on copper, and up to 24 hours after being put on cardboard.
  • In aerosols, it was viable for three hours.

Some cases of coronavirus do lead to pneumonia. But the pneumonia vaccine won’t help.

“Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, only help protect people from these specific bacterial infections,” according to Harvard Medical School.

“They do not protect against any coronavirus pneumonia.”

For unvaccinated people, the CDC “recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).”

There are several key points:

  • You can easily make your own mask without knowing how to sew. US Surgeon General Jerome Adams shows how to make face masks with just a T-shirt and rubber bands in this CDC video. You can also use a bandana and a coffee filter.
  • You can still get coronavirus even if you wear a mask. The virus can stay alive on surfaces for up to 3 days, and it’s easy to touch your face whenever you’re not wearing a mask. Also, people often adjust face masks frequently, leading to more touching of the face — a common way that coronavirus spreads.
  • It’s important to wash your cloth mask after every use. Here’s how.
  • Wearing cloth masks is just “an additional, voluntary public health measure,” the CDC said. To protect yourself from getting coronavirus, it’s critical to stay at least 6 feet away from others, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time, and stop touching your face.

An antiviral drug must be able to target the specific part of a virus’ life cycle that is necessary for it to reproduce, according to Harvard Medical School.

“In addition, an antiviral drug must be able to kill a virus without killing the human cell it occupies. And viruses are highly adaptive.”

Many health care workers haven’t had enough protective gear to handle the growing influx of coronavirus patients.

Some have resorted to using plastic report covers as masks. The CDC said medical providers might have to use expired masks or reuse them between multiple patients.

But it’s not just subpar protective gear that puts medical workers at risk. It’s also the amount of virus they’re exposed to.

“The viral load — the amount of virus – does determine the severity of your illness,” emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen said. “So that could happen in the case of health care workers who are exposed to a lot more Covid-19 as a result of their work — that they get more severely ill.”

In one study, about 4 in 5 people with confirmed coronavirus in China were likely infected by people who didn’t know they had it, according to research published in the journal “Science.”

“These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of (coronavirus) and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging,” researchers wrote.

In the US, “I think it could be as many as 1 in 3 walking around asymptomatic,” said New Jersey primary care physician Dr. Alex Salerno.

“We have tested some patients that have known exposure to COVID (coronavirus disease). They did not have temperature. Their pulse/(oxygen) was OK.”

Salerno said more testing of people without symptoms is essential.

When asymptomatic carriers test positive, “we isolate them, and we separate them from the people who are not positive,” Salerno said. If more asymptomatic people got tested, “we could get people back to work safely.”

Most coronavirus patients don’t need to be hospitalized. “The vast majority of people – about 80% – will do well without any specific intervention,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Those patients should get plenty of rest, hydrate frequently and take fever-reducing medication.

“The current guidance – and this may change – is that if you have symptoms that are similar to the cold and the flu and these are mild symptoms to moderate symptoms, stay at home and try to manage them,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association.

But about 20% of coronavirus patients get advanced disease. “Older patients and individuals who have underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their physician early in the course of even mild illness,” the CDC says.

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Sudden confusion
  • Bluish lips or face

“This list is not all inclusive,” the CDC says. “Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.”

No, the water supply is not at risk.

“The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water,” the CDC says. “Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”

So there’s no need to hoard drinking water, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci said he and his wife are still drinking tap water.

It may be difficult to know whether your loved one has coronavirus or another illness. So it’s critical to play it safe and not infect yourself and, in turn, others. The CDC suggests:

  • Giving the sick person their own room to stay in, if possible. Keep the door closed.
  • Having only one person serve as the caretaker.
  • Asking the sick person to wear a face mask, if they are able to. If the mask causes breathing difficulties, then the caretaker should wear a mask instead.

Fatigue, fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing and the loss of taste or smell are some of the symptoms of Covid-19.

Symptoms can appear anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks after exposure, the CDC says. But some people get no symptoms at all and can infect others without knowing it.

The illness varies in its severity. And while many people can recover at home just fine, some people — including young, previously healthy adults — are suffering long-term symptoms.

Don’t visit family members with suspected illness – connect with them virtually. If that person lives with you, limit contact with them and avoid using the same bathroom or bedroom if possible, the CDC advises.

If the person been diagnosed, he or she might be able to recover at home in isolation. Separate yourself as much as possible from your infected family member and keep animals away, too. Continue to use separate restrooms and regularly disinfect them.

Stock up on groceries and household supplies for them while they can’t travel outside and minimize trips to stores. Wash your hands frequently and avoid sharing personal items with the infected person.

If you think you’re developing symptoms, stay home and call your physician.

Yes, you can make both at home.

“Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted” if you’re trying to kill coronavirus on a non-porous surface, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The CDC’s recipe calls for diluting 5 tablespoons (or ⅓ cup) of bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.

You can also make your own hand sanitizer. The Nebraska Medical Center – famous for its biocontainment unit and treatment of Ebola patients – offers this recipe:

What you’ll need:

  • 2/3 cup 91% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon or something for whisking
  • Small container, such as a 3 oz. travel bottle
  • Optional: essential oil to give your hand sanitizer a fragrance

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, stir isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera gel together until well blended.
Add 8-10 drops of scented essential oil (optional, but nice). Stir.
Pour the homemade hand sanitizer into an empty container and seal.
Write “hand sanitizer” on a piece of masking tape and attach to the bottle.

An employee can be fired if they don’t show up to work and don’t have sick leave that would cover the absence, says Krista Slosburg, an employment attorney at Stokes Lawrence in Seattle.

But there are exceptions. Employers who make workers with Covid-19 come in may be violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] regulations, said Donna Ballman, who heads an employee advocacy law firm in Florida.

If you work in a city or state that requires sick leave and you use it, you can‘t be terminated or disciplined.

But there is no federal mandate that requires companies to offer paid sick leave, and almost a quarter of all US workers don’t get it, according to 2019 government data. Some state and local governments have passed laws that require companies to offer paid sick leave.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can sometimes protect a worker’s job in the event they get sick, but it won’t guarantee they get paid while they’re out.

Employee advocates urge businesses to consider the special circumstances of the Covid-19, and some already have

The Society for Human Resource Management recommends companies “actively encourage sick employees to stay home, send symptomatic employees home until they are able to return to work safely, and require employees returning from high-risk areas to telework during the incubation period (of 14 days).”

If a manager feels an employee’s illness poses a direct threat to colleagues’ safety, the manager may be able to insist the employee be evaluated by a doctor, said Alka Ramchandani-Raj, an attorney specializing in workplace safety.

Since Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, some airlines are now requiring passengers to wear face masks during the flight, except for while eating or drinking.

Health experts suggest eating, drinking and using the restroom before getting on the plane, to eliminate the need to take off your mask or go into a cramped lavatory on board.

And always be mindful of where your hands have been, travel medicine specialist Dr. Richard Dawood said.

Airport handrails, door handles and airplane lavatory levers are notoriously dirty.

“It is OK to touch these things as long as you then wash or sanitize your hands before contaminating your face, touching or handling food,” Dawood said.

“Hand sanitizers are great. So are antiseptic hand wipes, which you can also use to wipe down armrests, remote controls at your seat and your tray table.”

People who are immunocompromised “are at higher risk from this illness, as well as other illnesses like the flu. Avoiding contact with ill people is crucial,” Washington state’s latter are at greater risk for severe disease,” according to researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine.

Stay home. Call your doctor to talk about your symptoms and let them know you’re coming for an appointment so they can prepare for your visit, the CDC says.

Only a Covid-19 test can diagnose you with coronavirus, but if you suspect you have it, isolate yourself at home.

Many patients with coronavirus are able to recover at home. If you’ve been diagnosed and your illness is worsening, seek medical attention promptly. You may need to be monitored in a hospital.

No. Those products work on surfaces but can be dangerous to your body.

There are some chemical disinfectants, including bleach, 75% ethanol, peracetic acid and chloroform, that may kill the virus on surfaces.

But if the virus is already in your body, putting those substances on your skin or under your nose won’t kill it, the World Health Organization says. And those chemicals can harm you.

There’s no evidence from the outbreak that eating garlic, sipping water every 15 minutes or taking vitamin C will protect people from the new coronavirus. Same goes for using essential oils or colloidal silver.

Some people with coronavirus have mild or no symptoms. And in some cases, symptoms don’t appear until up to 14 days after infection.

During that incubation period, it’s possible to get coronavirus from someone with no symptoms. It’s also possible you may have coronavirus without feeling sick and are accidentally infecting others.

Experts said cuts in federal funding for public health and problems with early testing forced the US to play catch-up.

Problems with public health infrastructure: Two years ago, the CDC stopped funding epidemic prevention activities in 39 countries, including China. This happened because the Trump administration refused to allocate money to a program that started during the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

Former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden warned that move “would significantly increase the chance an epidemic will spread without our knowledge and endanger lives in our country and around the world.”

Problems with the testing: Malfunctions, shortages and delays in availability have all contributed to the slowdown.

In the first few weeks of the outbreak in the US, the CDC was the only facility in the country that could confirm test results — even though a World Health Organization test became available around the same time.

Some test kits that were sent around the country were flawed — a move that put the US behind about “four to five weeks,” says Dr. Rob Davidson, executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare.

No antibiotics are effective against Covid-19 because the disease is caused by a viral infection, not a bacterial infection.

“However, if you are hospitalized for the [coronavirus], you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible,” the World Health Organization says.

There is no known cure for the novel coronavirus.

No. There are some interesting coincidences in the 1981 fiction novel, which says “a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread around the globe” around the year 2020. Modern editions of the book call the biological strain “Wuhan-400,” and the current coronavirus outbreak started in Wuhan, China.

But there are important differences between the book and reality. The original version of the book called the strain the “Gorki-400,” in reference to a Russian locality, before it was later changed to the “Wuhan-400.” In the book, the virus was man-made, while scientists believe the novel coronavirus started in animals and jumped to humans. And in the book, the virus had a 100% mortality rate. Early estimates of the mortality rate for this coronavirus outbreak range from 2-4%.

Hand dryers can’t kill the virus, according to WHO. The organization also says that UV lamps shouldn’t be used to sterilize hands or other areas of the body because the radiation can irritate skin.

Drinking hot water or taking hot baths won’t kill it, either.

No. “The new coronavirus cannot be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting Covid-19 cases,” the World Health Organization says.

“Even though the new coronavirus can stay on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (depending on the type of surface), it is very unlikely that the virus will persist on a surface after being moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures,” WHO said.


Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:

Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.

Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.

Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.

At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.

Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.

Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.

Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.

Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.

If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.



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