Text 2: Antibodies, masks and cigarette smoke -doctor answers 5 of your KPRC 2 texting line coronavirus questions

Dr. Daniels
Dr. Daniels (PVAMU)

HOUSTONDr. Dennis Daniels, director of Prairie View A&M University Undergraduate Medical Academy, answers KPRC viewer questions about coronavirus.

Do you have a question about coronavirus that you’d like to get answered? Send it to us by texting the number 2 to 1-866-996-5772. Here’s how it works.

1. Isn’t it possible to transmit the virus even if you have the antibody? It could be on your hands from someone else. Yes? No?

CDC and partners are investigating to determine if you can get sick with COVID-19 more than once. At this time, we are not sure if you can become re-infected. Until we know more, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others.

2. For people that have antibodies to the virus, is it possible that they have natural immunity? Is it possible that they never had the virus at all, but still have the antibodies?

Serology testing checks a sample of a person’s blood to look for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These antibodies are produced when someone has been infected, so a positive result from this test indicates that person was previously infected with the virus.CDC is working with other federal agencies to evaluate the performance of commercially manufactured serology tests that are becoming increasingly available from healthcare providers. This evaluation is expected to be completed in late April.We do not know yet if the antibodies that result from infection with SARS-CoV-2 can protect someone from reinfection with this virus or how long antibodies to the virus will protect someone. Scientists are conducting research to answer those questions.Serology tests may not be able to tell you if you are currently infected because it typically takes 1 to 2 weeks to develop antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. To tell if you are currently infected, you would need a test that identifies the virus in samples from your upper respiratory system, such as a nasopharyngeal swab.

3. Do I need to wear a mask?

City of Houston (Mayor Sylvester Turner) and Harris County ( Lina M. Hidalgo) authorities are encouraging the population to wear a mask when outside of the home.

In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is an additional 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. A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people must go into public settings (grocery stores, for example). Medical masks and N-95 respirators are reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

4. Is there a risk breathing secondhand cigarette smoke? Can coronavirus live/be carried in secondhand smoke of an infected person? This question came to me while riding my bike. I rode 12 feet away from people smoking but ended up riding right through their cloud of smoke! Is there a risk of transferring the virus through exhaled cigarette smoke?

Cigarette smoke as a mode of transmission is not identified via current available research at this time.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). COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area,including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

5. My grandson and the mother of my grandson has meet someone who has the covid-19, what should they do?

The individuals should quarantine (For COVID – 19 the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure because the incubation period for this virus is 2 to 14 days.) themselves from others and watch for symptoms.People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported –ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

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