I’ve had COVID-19 symptoms and have been self-isolating. When is it safe for me to be around other people?
If you know or suspect that you have COVID-19, staying away from others is the right thing to do. Self-isolating can help keep the virus from spreading.
It’s safe to be around others again when:
- You haven’t had a fever for 24 hours while not taking medicines to lower the fever, and
- Your symptoms have improved, and
- It’s been at least 10 days since your symptoms started.
- Talk to your doctor about whether you also need testing, especially if you have a weakened immune system.
Do children get the same symptoms of COVID-19 as adults?
Yes, children get the same symptoms as adults, such as a fever, cough, and trouble breathing.
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a rare but serious condition that’s probably related to COVID-19. It causes inflammation, which can affect the heart and other organs. A child with MIS-C usually has a fever for 24 hours or longer, plus other symptoms. Examples include belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea, a rash, and red eyes. Most children get better with treatment.
Can immunoglobulin be used to treat COVID-19?
Doctors and hospitals are starting clinical trials to see if this treatment will help to fight COVID-19. Immunoglobulin (also called gamma globulin or immune globulin) is made from the blood of people who have recovered from an infection. In the case of COVID-19, it contains antibodies that fight COVID-19. When a person gets an infection, the body responds by making antibodies. These antibodies attack the infection and help the body fight it.
The hope is that if immunoglobulin is given to someone who is very ill from the virus, the antibodies will help that person fight and overcome the infection. Experts don’t yet know if this will work and be safe for people with a serious COVID-19 infection. It seems to help in some other serious infections.
How long does the virus that causes COVID-19 live?
A new study shows that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive in an aerosol form for at least 3 hours. An aerosol is something under pressure that can be released as a spray, like a sneeze or a cough.
The virus can survive on some surfaces for up to 3 days, according to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine. How well it survives may depend on the surface it’s on. In the study, the virus lasted longest on plastic and stainless steel. It didn’t live as long on cardboard.
Because the virus can live for hours to days, it’s especially important to keep items around you clean. Experts advise disinfecting surfaces and objects you touch a lot, such as tables, door handles, faucets, toilets, handrails, and remote controls. You can use household disinfectants, a bleach solution, or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
Why is the virus making some young and healthy people very sick?
Experts don’t know why some people, even those who are healthy, get very sick. Overall, COVID-19 seems to cause fewer problems in people who are young and healthy. Those who are older or have other health problems, like diabetes or heart disease, have a higher risk of getting very sick. But the virus can affect anyone, even those who are young and healthy. And it can cause serious problems (even death) at any age.
Will antibiotics help prevent or treat COVID-19?
No. Antibiotics treat infections that are caused by bacteria. COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus. Viruses are different than bacteria. Antibiotics don’t help and can even cause other problems.
What is the average length of COVID-19 illness (mild and severe)?
The length of time someone is sick with COVID-19 varies. It depends on how sick a person is. When people are mildly ill, they usually get better in 1 or 2 weeks. People who are more severely ill have worse symptoms, like severe shortness of breath and pneumonia. They need care in a hospital. They usually get better in 3 to 6 weeks. Some people who get very sick may need even more time to recover.
Some people with COVID-19 have very mild or no symptoms. They may get over the infection without even knowing they had it.
What is a ventilator? Why is it so important in this outbreak?
A ventilator is a machine that breathes for a person when they can’t breathe well enough on their own. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. This means it can affect the breathing systems of the body, especially the lungs. Most people with COVID-19 don’t get seriously ill. But when someone is very ill, the infection affects the lungs so severely that breathing is hard or impossible.
A ventilator has a tube that goes through the mouth into the lungs. The machine brings oxygen into the lungs and removes carbon dioxide. A ventilator is important because it does the work of the lungs and gives them time to heal. After they heal, the tube can be removed.
One of the main concerns about this virus is whether there will be enough ventilators if many people get sick at the same time.
How is COVID-19 treated?
If you have mild symptoms, you can care for yourself at home while you are in isolation. Your doctor may have you take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for a fever. Treatment in the hospital for more serious cases includes support, such as a ventilator (to help with breathing) and medicines. Some people may be placed on their belly to help their oxygen levels.
What Should I Do if I Get COVID-19?
Having COVID-19 can be scary, but most people do recover. If you do get it, be sure to get plenty of rest and treat your fever. You should also do what you can to avoid spreading COVID-19 to anyone else. Stay home, wear a face mask when around other people, call ahead before going to the doctor, and stay at least 6 feet away from the people around you.
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