Haley’s Health Inbox: How do you know if you are officially recovered from the coronavirus?

Haley Hernandez

KPRC Channel 2′s health reporter Haley Hernandez has been answering some of your emailed questions regarding the impact of COVID-19 here in the Houston area.

We are answering a few of the top questions each day. You can scroll down and read questions and answers from previous days.

I heard there were new guidelines for who is considered recovered from the coronavirus?

Yes, on April 1, the CDC changed the guidelines for who is considered “recovered” from COVID-19. The CDC used to say a person who had or thought they had coronavirus was considered recovered only after symptoms disappeared after two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. Now the CDC says those who have or may have coronavirus may also be considered recovered if they are fever-free for three days without the help of fever-reducing medication and if it has been at least 7 days since symptoms first appeared.

The CDC warns some patients may be contagious for longer than others. The test-based strategy is preferred for patients who are hospitalized or severely immunocompromised or being transferred to long-term care or assisted living facility.

What is a good hand cream to put on your hands to prevent redness itchy skin from washing your hands numerous times daily?

Handwashing strips natural oils so your hands may be super dry. Consider using hand creams to help relieve dry skin (instead of lotions). For sensitive hands, opt for fragrance-free products that may have dimethicone, polyuronic acid or shea butter. Hand cream suggestions include Aquaphor Healing Ointment, Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Hand Cream or just good ole Vaseline.

Another note: Choose a tube over a tub. Dipping your fingers into a tub of lotion may just spread germs.

Can I get coronavirus from food?

You might be worried about produce or other items that someone else could have touched before it got to you. The CDC, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the World Health Organization say that food is not known to be a route of transmission of the virus. The information available from outbreaks of SARS and MERS, caused by coronaviruses similar to the one that causes COVID-19, is reassuring. The evidence showed that those illnesses were not transmitted by food.

It’s still a good idea to practice good food safety habits including washing your hands, wash fruits and vegetables and don’t eat raw dough or batter.