Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Covid-19 FAQs: Protect yourself

This page uses the official term COVID-19 to refer to the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Many rumors related to COVID-19 circulating on social media are false or contain misinformation. People should be skeptical of rumors they hear on social media that aren’t being reported by reputable health organizations or mainstream media outlets and should not share or repost items unless they are able to confirm that they are true. False and inaccurate social media posts can cause a great deal of harm.

Source: State of Utah.gov

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms reported are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. You may also have muscle aches, a sore throat, or a decrease in your sense of smell or taste. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor and isolate right away. Your doctor will decide if you need to be tested. You can find testing locations at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/testing-locations/.

You can use the CDC coronavirus self-checker to help you decide if you need medical care. This tool can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.

How long does it take for symptoms to appear?

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure. This is why you will be asked to quarantine for 14 days if you are exposed to someone who has COVID-19, because it can take 14 days for you to get sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, or a decrease in your sense of smell or taste, call your doctor and isolate right away. Your doctor will decide if you need to be tested.

I was at a place where someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was. Do I need to be tested?

Not necessarily. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, or a decrease in your sense of smell or taste), you should get tested for COVID-19. Call your doctor and isolate right away.  

If you were in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms. This means you were closer than 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from the person who tested positive for 15 minutes or longer. Public health workers may recommend you get tested for COVID-19 if you were in close contact with someone who has it. This will happen through the contact tracing process. 

Public health workers do contact tracing when someone tests positive for COVID-19. They will contact every person they feel may have been exposed to the virus. If they don't contact you, it means you were most likely not exposed. In the rare cases that public health feels they may not have the ability to contact all of the close contacts of the individual, they will issue a public statement so everyone will know.

What does close contact mean?

Close contact means being within 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) of someone who has COVID-19 for 15 minutes or longer. Close contact also means having direct contact with infectious secretions of someone who has COVID-19, such as being coughed on. 

What should I do if I am sick?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor and isolate right away. You should also get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms. 

Isolation is for people who are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19. Everyone who lives in your house should stay at home if someone in your house tests positive for COVID-19. Isolation is for people who are not sick enough to be in the hospital. Your doctor may tell you to recover at home. Isolation keeps sick people away from healthy people to stop sickness from spreading. 

If you are sick or test positive for COVID-19, you should:

  • Stay home unless you need medical care.
  • Try to stay in a different room than other people in your house. If this is not possible, stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
  • Try to use a different bathroom than the other people who live in your house.
  • Clean surfaces that are touched often (phones, doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, sink handles, countertops, and anything metal).
  • Do not travel if you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water right after you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose. If you do not have soap or water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Wear a face mask if you have to be around other people (if you have to be in the same room or car). If you can’t wear a face mask because it makes it hard for you to breathe, stay in a different room from other people. If people come into your room, they should wear a face mask.

More information on what to do if you are sick can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

Should I wear a face mask?

There is clear scientific evidence that wearing a face covering prevents the spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends all people 2 years of age and older wear a cloth face covering in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when it is hard to physical distance. 

While cloth face coverings are strongly encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it may not be possible in every situation or for some people to wear a face covering. In some situations, a cloth face covering could make a physical or mental condition worse or be a safety concern. Consider adaptations and alternatives whenever possible to help someone wear a face covering or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread if it is not possible for someone to wear one.

You can help your community if you make your own mask. There are not enough surgical masks (such as the ones used in doctors’ offices) and N-95 respirators for all of the healthcare workers to take care of patients with COVID-19. Please try to leave these masks for healthcare workers. 

The CDC has more tips and instructions for how to make a homemade mask at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

Do I need to wear a mask if I have been sick?

You should wear a facemask if you are sick, showing symptoms of COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19 to protect others from the risk of getting infected. 

Can the virus be spread to the children of pregnant women?

Cases have been reported where a pregnant woman with COVID-19 has passed the virus to the baby during pregnancy or delivery. Studies are continuing.

Can the virus be spread to a baby through breastmilk?

There is no information at this time that a mother can spread COVID-19 to her baby through breastmilk. Breastfeeding should be determined by the mother and her doctor. A mother with confirmed COVID-19 should take steps to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing hands, wearing a face mask, and cleaning the breast pump.

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