Text 2: From re-infection to hydroxychloroquine, doctor answers 5 of your most pressing coronavirus health questions

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab.
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML)

HOUSTON – KPRC 2 is answering your coronavirus questions on our texting line. Here are some of the questions you sent to us and answers with helpful links to our recent coverage of the coronavirus.

Dr. 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. My sister (44 years old) has all of the symptoms including fever (102), cough, and trouble breathing but her doctor told her not to get tested and just stay home. Why would doctors recommend NOT being tested?

A credible and responsible answer is unavailable specific to this individual without information regarding the overall health status.In general, it would be advisable to contact public health professionals at the City of Houston Health Department (832-393-4220), the Harris County Health Department (832-927-7575) or provide an update to the personal physician for next steps.

2. Does dialysis in itself make me more at make me more vulnerable, less vulnerable or the same?

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

3. Once you get the virus can you get it again?

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.

4. Should a senior citizen get tested with little or mild symptoms?

Senior citizens may contact the call center for the City of Houston Health Department (832-393-4220 or Harris County Health Department (832-927-7575) or personal physician regarding symptoms experienced. If warranted and deemed appropriate, directions will be given for a testing site.

5. Is Texas/Houston using hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus? If so, is it being done in home and the hospital?

There are no drugs or other therapeutics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent or treat COVID-19. Current clinical management includes infection prevention and control measures and supportive care, including supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilatory support when indicated. Interim guidelines for the medical management of COVID-19 will be provided soon by the Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel.FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)external icon to authorize use of chloroquine external icon and hydroxychloroquine external icon from the Strategic National Stockpile for treatment of hospitalizeda dults and adolescents (weight ≥50 kg) with COVID-19 for whom a clinical trial is not available or participation is not feasible.

Do you have a question? Text 2 to this number: 1 866-996-5772 or enter your phone number in the form below.

More coronavirus coverage

Find cases by zip code: Harris County heat map shows coronavirus cases by ZIP code

Cases by county: A breakdown of how many coronavirus cases there are by county in the Houston area

• Answering your questions: We’ve got answers to dozens and dozens of your health and financial coronavirus questions

• Haley’s Health Inbox: KPRC 2 reporter Haley Hernandez answers questions readers are sending her every day

• Coronavirus charts: Who is getting coronavirus in the Houston area? We’ve crunched the data in these charts

• Follow the curve: This chart shows you the curve for Houston cases since March 15

• When it will peak: This is when each state is expected to peak in deaths from coronavirus

• Interactive map: This is what the coronavirus spread looks like right now across the world right now

• Support Local: Find all the ways you can help local businesses in Houston

• Get newsletters: Sign up for a daily newsletter on coronavirus news and Haley Hernandez’s health inbox newsletter

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