COVID-19 Q&A with Joan Werblun, RN

My Patient Rights > COVID-19 Q&A with Joan Werblun, RN

COVID-19 Q&A with Joan Werblun, RN

Q: What happens if you get COVID-19?

A: COVID-19 starts with droplets from an infected person’s cough, sneeze, or breath. They could be in the air, or on a surface that you touch before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Once infected, within 2 to 14 days, your body may respond with symptoms including a fever, a cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, congestion, loss of taste or smell, nausea, and diarrhea.

The virus moves down your respiratory track through your mouth and nose to your throat and lungs. COVID-19 is more likely to go deeper into your respiratory system than the common cold. Your lungs may become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. This can cause pneumonia.

For most people, the symptoms end with a cough and a fever– more than 8 in 10 cases are mild. Most people with a mild case of COVID-19 can rest at home and self-isolate.

However, for some, the infection gets more severe. About 5 to 8 days after symptoms begin, some begin to have shortness of breath. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) begins just a few days later. In the most severe cases, COVID-19 can lead to organ failure and death.

If you experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, call 911 immediately or visit an emergency room.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine


Q: If I get diagnosed with COVID-19 and need to self-isolate, how can I keep my family safe?

A: As much as possible, you should stay away from other people in your home.

Stay in your own room and use a separate bathroom, if available. If you have to be in the same room as other people, everyone should wear a face mask.

Keep your house clean and sanitized: don’t share personal items and clean “high touch” surfaces like doorknobs daily.


Q: After I’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, when is it safe for me to go out in public?

A: Talk to your doctor to see what they recommend. In general, you can resume contact with others if you’ve had three days without a fever, AND it’s been 10+ days since your symptoms first appeared, AND your symptoms are improving.


Q: What’s the deal with hydroxychloroquine?

A: Multiple opposing reports have emerged about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 prevention and treatment. Hydroxychloroquine is typically used to treat malaria and can also be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are being studied in clinical trials for COVID-19, but at this time, they have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19.

Some COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have experienced potentially dangerous abnormal heart rhythms as a result. Patients who have other health issues, such as heart and kidney disease, are likely to be at increased risk of heart problems. Additionally, these risks may increase when these drugs are combined with other medications, so it’s important to make sure your medical providers are aware of all the medication you take before you start any treatment.

At this time, there are no proven treatments for COVID-19.

Do not buy any medications from online pharmacies without a prescription from your health care provider. Patients should not take any form of chloroquine that has not been prescribed to them by a healthcare professional. Serious poisoning and death have been reported after mistaken uses of these products not intended for human use.

Source: Food and Drug Administration


Q: What can I do to prevent infection from COVID-19?

A: Stay socially distanced from those you don’t live with, wear a mask when out in public, maintain good hygiene, and clean frequently touched surfaces.

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact for a prolonged period of time. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. Social distancing is most effective when you stay at least 6 feet from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces. 

Wearing masks in public spaces can help protect you and those around you. Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings and alongside other preventative measures. And remember, masks are effective only if you wear them properly. It must cover your mouth, nose, and chin.

The best way to prevent the spread of infections and decrease the risk of getting sick is by washing your hands with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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