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FAQs

COVID-19 Basics


  • What is a novel coronavirus

    A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

  • Why is the disease being called coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19?

    On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.

  • How does the virus spread?

    The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

  • Should I get tested?

    Maybe; not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first.

  • Can someone test negative and later test positive on a viral test for COVID-19?

    Yes, it is possible. You may test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection and test positive later during this illness. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and get infected then. Even if you test negative, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others.

  • If I have recovered from COVID-19, will I be immune to it?

    We do not know yet if people who recover from COVID-19 can get infected again. Until we know more, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others.

  • Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19?

    COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

    • People aged 65 years and older
    • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

    People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:

    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have serious heart conditions
    • People who are immunocompromised
      • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
    • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥40)
    • People with diabetes
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • People with liver disease

  • What should people at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19 do?

    If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:

    • Stock up on supplies
    • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
    • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick
    • Limit close contact and wash your hands often
    • Avoid crowds, cruise travel, and non-essential travel

    If there is an outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible. Watch for symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay home and call your doctor. More information on how to prepare, what to do if you get sick, and how communities and caregivers can support those at higher risk is available on People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19.

  • Are there any medications I should avoid taking if I have COVID-19?

    Currently, there is no evidence to show that taking ibuprofen or naproxen can lead to a more severe infection of COVID-19. People with high blood pressure should take their blood pressure medications, as directed, and work with their healthcare provider to make sure that their blood pressure is as well controlled as possible. Any changes to your medications should only be made by your healthcare provider.

  • What does a well-controlled health condition mean?

    Generally, well-controlled means that your condition is stable, not life-threatening, and laboratory assessments and other findings are as similar as possible to those without the health condition. You should talk with your healthcare provider if you have a question about your health or how your health condition is being managed.

  • Are people with disabilities at higher risk?

    Most people with disabilities are not inherently at higher risk for becoming infected with or having severe illness from COVID-19. Some people with physical limitations or other disabilities might be at a higher risk of infection because of their underlying medical condition.

      People with certain disabilities might experience higher rates of chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk of serious illness and poorer outcomes from COVID-19. Adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities.
    You should talk with your healthcare provider if you have a question about your health or how your health condition is being managed.


How to Protect Yourself


  • What should I do if I have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

    There is information for people who have had close contact with a person confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, COVID-19 available online.

  • Am I at risk for COVID-19 from mail, packages, or products?

    There is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and how it spreads. Coronaviruses are thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from domestic or international mail, products or packaging. However, it may be possible that people can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

  • Should contact lens wearers take special precautions to prevent COVID-19?

    • Currently there is no evidence to suggest contact lens wearers are more at risk for acquiring COVID-19 than eyeglass wearers.
    • Contact lens wearers should continue to practice safe contact lens wear and care hygiene habits to help prevent against transmission of any contact lens-related infections, such as always washing hands with soap and water before handling lenses.
    • People who are healthy can continue to wear and care for their contact lenses as prescribed by their eye care professional.
  • Is contact lens disinfecting solution effective against COVID-19?

    • Hydrogen peroxide-based systems for cleaning, disinfecting, and storing contact lenses should be effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.
      • For other disinfection methods, such as multipurpose solution and ultrasonic cleaners, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to determine efficacy against the virus.
    • Always use solution to disinfect your contact lenses and case to kill germs that may be present.
    • Handle your lenses over a surface that has been cleaned and disinfected.


COVID-19 and Children


  • What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

    Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. You can learn more about who is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 at People who are at higher risk for severe illness.

  • How can I protect my child from COVID-19 infection?

    You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).
    • Launder items, including washable plush toys, as appropriate and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

  • Are the symptoms of COVID-19 different in children than in adults?

    No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs. There is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children.

  • Should children wear masks?

    It is recommended that everyone 2 years and older wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are out in the community. Cloth face coverings should NOT be put on babies or children younger than 2 because of the danger of suffocation. Children younger than 2 years of age are listed as an exception as well as anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance. Wearing cloth face coverings is a public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand cleaning ,and other everyday preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer but may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important if someone is infected but does not have symptoms.

  • How do I prepare my children in case of COVID-19 outbreak in our community?

    Outbreaks can be stressful for adults and children. Talk with your children about the outbreak, try to stay calm, and reassure them that they are safe. If appropriate, explain to them that most illness from COVID-19 seems to be mild. Children respond differently to stressful situations than adults.

  • What steps should parents take to protect children during a community outbreak?

    This is a new virus and we are still learning about it, but so far, there does not seem to be a lot of illness in children. Most illness, including serious illness, is happening in adults of working age and older adults. However, children do get the virus and become ill. Many schools across the country have announced dismissals for temporary periods. Keep track of school dismissals in your community. Read or watch local media sources that report school dismissals. If schools are dismissed temporarily, use alternative childcare arrangements, if needed. If your child/children become sick with COVID-19, notify their childcare facility or school. Talk with teachers about classroom assignments and activities they can do from home to keep up with their schoolwork. Discourage children and teens from gathering in other public places while school is dismissed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.


Testing for the Virus


  • What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?

    People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

  • Is it possible to have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

    Yes. It is possible to test positive for flu (as well as other respiratory infections) and COVID-19 at the same time.

  • Should I be tested for COVID-19?

    Maybe; not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first.

  • How can I get tested for COVID-19?

    Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: viral tests and antibody tests. A viral test checks for a current infection. An antibody test checks for a previous infection. If you think you need a viral test, call your healthcare provider or state or localexternal icon health department and tell them about your symptoms and how you think you may have been exposed to the virus. Your healthcare provider can let you know if they offer viral tests at their office. Your state or local health department can provide local information on where testing is available. See Testing for Current Infection for more information. If you want an antibody test, call your healthcare provider to see if they offer antibody tests and whether you should get one. You can also visit your state or local health department’s website for local information on antibody testing.

  • What kind of tests are being used to diagnose COVID-19?

    Viral tests are used to diagnose COVID-19. These tests tell you if you currently have an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. There are many viral tests available. All of the viral tests identify the virus in respiratory samples, such as from swabs from the inside of your nose. Some tests are conducted at the testing site you visit, and results are available to you within minutes. Other tests must be sent to a laboratory to analyze, a process that takes 1-2 days once the laboratory receives your samples. Two tests allow you to collect your sample at home – either a swab from the inside of your nose or a saliva sample – but you will still need to send the sample to a laboratory for processing.

  • What is antibody testing? And can I be tested using this method?

    Antibody testing checks a sample of a person’s blood to look for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. When someone gets COVID-19, their body usually makes antibodies. However, it typically takes one to three weeks to develop these antibodies. Some people may take even longer to develop antibodies, and some people may not develop antibodies. A positive result from this test may mean that person was previously infected with the virus. Talk to your healthcare provider about what your antibody test result means. Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. To see if you are currently infected, you need a viral test. Viral tests identify the virus in respiratory samples, such as swabs from the inside of your nose. We do not know yet if having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 can protect someone from getting infected again or, if they do, how long this protection might last. Scientists are conducting research to answer those questions.


COVID-19 and Animals


  • Can I get COVID-19 from my pets or other animals?

    At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. A small number of pets have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after contact with people with COVID-19. Pets have other types of coronaviruses that can make them sick, like canine and feline coronaviruses. These other coronaviruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene.

  • Do I need to get my pet tested for COVID-19?

    No. At this time, routine testing of animals for COVID-19 is not recommended.

  • Can animals carry the virus that causes COVID-19 on their skin or fur?

    Although we know certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair, there is no evidence that viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets. However, because animals can sometimes carry other germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, including washing hands before and after interacting with them.

  • Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?

    We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. Until we learn more about this new coronavirus, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would with people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including

    • Petting
    • Snuggling
    • Being kissed or licked
    • Sharing food or bedding

    If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a cloth face covering.


Have another Question?

support

For more information about the virus, contact the Ghana Health Service at:


    Ghana Health Service, Private Mail Bag, Ministries, Accra. Ghana. West Africa.

  • Phone

    233 302 682709 / 233 302 687821 / 233 302 662014

  • Email

    info@ghsmail.org