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Your Questions Answered for "Ask Docs Anything About Covid-19" Webinar

Posted by Danielle Yoon

Mar 18, 2020 4:01:49 PM

We would like to thank everyone who attended our Ask Us Anything COVID-19 webinar with Dr. Greg Jacobson and Dr. Mason Mileur. If you weren't able to attend, you can read all the answers to the questions below, after the video.


I’ve heard a lot of conflicting information, especially online -- where should I go to fact check things related to COVID-19?

We created a list of resources with 20-30 different links. Feel free to use the links to update yourself on current information and to forward to your network.

Key differences between COVID-19 and flu?

COVID-19 is more lethal than the flu in terms of fatality rate, and it’s more contagious than the flu.

Please confirm the signs and symptoms when one needs to seek medical advice. How soon from noticing these? If I become infected, how will I know when I need emergent care?

Symptoms are non-specific. This means that the symptoms for COVID-19 overlap with other disease symptoms. If you have mild symptoms like a cough, sore throat, or a runny nose, don’t go to the emergency room. Call your doctor, and they will give you professional advice on next best steps. You should only go to the emergency room if you’re experiencing shortness of breath or having trouble breathing. The most important thing is that you do not go to your emergency department if you’re asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. 

I have asthma and the COVID-19 symptoms are similar, such as shortness of breath, and a dry cough. How can I be certain it’s asthma and not COVID-19? What can I do to be certain it’s asthma only?

Best thing to do is to call your doctor. They’re trained to distinguish between asthma and COVID-19. Let your doctor be the gatekeeper.

What first aid supplies/over the counter medication should we have available, pre-infection?

Tylenol is important. Soap and water is better than hand sanitizer. Wipe down all surfaces. Try to avoid ibuprofen.

What is your thought on a vaccine and if and when there is one, do you think it will be sufficient supply?

The latest we’ve heard is that the phase 1 trials for a vaccine is underway. Realistically, we’re not going to have a vaccine within the next few months. It usually takes between 12-18 months for a vaccine. It’s also important to note that the vaccine will be used to prevent the next outbreak.

What can be done to improve your immune system?

Your immune system is benefited by sleeping 7-8 hours a night. Reduce or eliminate smoking, sugar, and alcohol.

What kind of treatments are available to those who are infected?

We have the ability to provide supportive care. For example, if you’re having difficulty breathing, you will receive oxygen. You will be treated for symptoms associated with COVID-19.

What type of surfaces does the virus survive on?

There is a difference between survivability on a surface and its rate of infecting you on a surface. COVID-19 can survive on plastic and stainless steel, but it’s chance of survivability on cardboard is less.

Is there anything specific I should do to sanitize packages?

You can wait a day before you handle it. Since most packages are cardboard, you should be fine after 24 hours. You can also wash your hands after handling the package. It is highly unlikely that you will get infected through your mail.

Is take-out food safe?

You should not be doing take-out right now. If you are, make sure to sanitize and wipe down surfaces (i.e. plastic containers and bags).

Can my nanny, maid, tutor, or other in-home worker still come?

If it’s not necessary, don’t have them come to your house.

Are playdates OK for kids off of school? Is it safer for them to play outdoors?

No, it’s not safe for them to play with other kids. It is safe for them to play outdoors without other children, but it would probably be best to stay off playground equipment. 

How should we be handling groceries that we bring home? Do we need to disinfect food containers, etc.?

Minimize exposure to bags that the groceries are carried in. Try to do delivery and curbside. Sanitize all surfaces.

How much exercise should we be getting each day as a precaution to keep our bodies, lungs, and minds healthy?

You definitely should not be going to a workout class or gym. Running and walking outside is fine, as long as you’re not in contact with people.

Would it help to wear a mask when running necessity errands? 

If you have access to a mask, you should wear it. The mask will help the spread if you’re symptomatic, but it won’t eliminate it. It’s not 100% necessary, but it might be a good idea to wear one when you’re at the grocery store.

Doesn’t “flattening the curve” just drag things out longer? Does it really reduce the number of people who get sick and die, or will it just be spread out over time?

Yes, it spreads itself. We all understand at this point that the virus won’t be contained in the current location. It’s going to run its course through the population. The way we’re going to save lives is by increasing the time the infection is going to happen so the peak stays below the healthcare capacity. When there’s a sudden spike that’s concentrated, we’ve swamped the healthcare system. We want to spread this out to where the healthcare system is not swamped. 

Are pregnant women considered more vulnerable?

From what we can tell right now, the answer is no.

If somebody watching this is still having the battle with peers who are against social distancing, how do you make the case that everybody needs to be on board now?

Remind them that it’s not about you individually, but it’s about the community. Social distancing is proven to work. If you continue to struggle with persuading peers, education is key. Continue to send them articles and different tools you’ve referenced to debunk some of those myths.


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