COVID-19 Questions and Answers

• Do I have COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever (temp over 100.4 degrees F), tiredness, and dry cough. Some people also get aches and pains, stuffy or runny nose, a sore throat, or diarrhea. Some people get COVID-19 and don’t get any symptoms at all! Some people will get very sick with high fever and difficulty breathing. One of the reasons we are all staying at home as much as possible now is that we can’t always tell when someone might have COVID-19 or be contagious. So if we all stay home, we will not spread the virus, even if we don’t have symptoms (yet) or if we misinterpreted a new cough as allergies or something else.

• Should I get tested?
Testing is becoming more available, but we still don’t have as many test kits as we would need to be able to test as many people as we would like. Remember—there are no specific treatments for COVID-19, and most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing medical care. So getting a test result doesn’t change the medical advice you will get. If you have a fever, you should rest, drink lots of fluids, and eat nourishing foods.

• I saw on social media that there’s a vaccine or cure or top-secret thing doctors don’t want you to know about!

Don’t believe everything you see on the internet. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses, including this virus. There is nothing you can eat, rub on yourself, or inhale that will protect you from this virus or cure it. There is quite a bit of research going on into a vaccine or medications that may help, so I hope to be able to pass on that good news soon. But until then, just scroll past anything that sounds too good to be true.

• Does ibuprofen make COVID-19 worse?
This is such a new virus that doctors must make quick decisions for their patients without all the information they need. Some French doctors currently advise against using ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, many generic versions) for COVID-19 symptoms based on a few observations of people with COVID-19 who were taking ibuprofen and got worse. Of course, some people with COVID-19 do get worse. The studies that can help tell us whether ibuprofen may contribute to people with COVID-19 getting very sick haven’t been done yet. So, doctors and public health institutions have to figure out what to do with this little bit of unclear information. The World Health Organization initially recommended using acetaminophen instead of ibuprofen to help with fever and aches related to COVID-19. They have since updated that recommendation to say that either acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used.

• I have a regularly scheduled doctor or dental appointment. Should I go?
No. At this point—both to conserve the masks, gowns, and gloves that keep health care safe and to support us all in staying home—you should call your doctor and see if your appointment can be done over the phone or videochat or rescheduled. If you are not in pain, your dental appointment should be rescheduled. Elective surgeries should be rescheduled.

**This information comes from the Washington State Department of Health, Nursing Care Quality Assurance on 3/26/2020. Guidelines, information and recommendations have the potential to change in the coming days or weeks.