Have symptoms or concerns about COVID-19? Our physicians are here to help. Whether you’re looking for answers to questions, guidance on next steps or peace of mind, get text-based care 24/7 from the safety and comfort of home. Download the 98point6 app to sign up and start a visit.

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We're keeping you informed

Coronavirus cases continue to surge across the United States and worldwide. While the recent news about vaccines is positive and provides hope, staying informed and taking proper precautions remain the best ways to minimize risk and protect yourself and your family. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends practicing physical distancing, wearing face masks, avoiding indoor gatherings and exercising good hygiene as the most effective ways to mitigate virus transmission—keeping you, your family and your community safe.

Vaccine news

  • A limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be available in the U.S. in December, with quantities continually increasing in the weeks and months to come.
  • At-risk healthcare workers, as well as residents at long-term care facilities, will have first access, followed by essential workers and individuals with medical conditions.
  • It is the hope that the vaccine will be widely available to all American adults by late spring 2021.

Stay the course

Widespread vaccination will take months, and there is still a lot for experts to learn and understand about the process and its impact. That’s why precautions, like masking and physical distancing, will remain necessary until we reach herd immunity. For guidance and reassurance on the latest up-to-date information, check out our Vaccine FAQs.

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COVID-19 Meets Cold and Flu

It’s a new season in an unprecedented year. Learn more about influenza, the novel coronavirus and the common cold so you can take charge and stay safe this fall and winter.

We're here for you

If you’re experiencing symptoms or need guidance about the novel coronavirus or the vaccine, you can always start a visit 24/7, from anywhere.

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98point6 Chief Medical Officer, Brad Younggren, headshot

Why virtual care?

Virtual care is one of the most impactful tools available in the fight against COVID-19, and we’re as dedicated as ever to providing the diagnosis, treatment and reassurance you need from home. Text-based care allows us to evaluate symptoms without you risking exposure—or potentially passing the illness to others—helping to prevent further spread of the virus.

Committed to your care

Because COVID-19 has resulted in higher volumes to our virtual clinic, we’ve created a dashboard showing wait times from previous days as an indicator of the time it could take for a doctor to join your visit. If you do experience a wait, our app can notify you when the doctor becomes available—so you can still go about your day.

See the dashboard
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General (2 questions)
What is coronavirus or COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a common family of viruses that cause infections ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses. Most people have had a coronavirus at some time in their lives. The most recently discovered type causes an infection called “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated COVID-19).

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a way of identifying individuals who may have come in contact with a person who has been diagnosed with a virus or disease. Since COVID-19 is contagious and those infected may not be experiencing symptoms, this is a core disease control measure used to stop the spread.

As part of this process, public health and medical staff work with the patient who was/is infected to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact when they may have been contagious. Those individuals (contacts) are then informed of their potential exposure in a quick and sensitive manner by public health staff, who also offer essential education, guidance and support to ensure those individuals and their community are protected.

Learn more about contact tracing from the CDC.

Vaccines (10 questions)
What is the difference between each of the vaccines?

Both of the COVID-19 vaccines do the same thing. They teach your immune system to protect you against COVID-19 by making an antibody to the spike protein on the surface of the virus. Because the COVID-19 spike protein is like a key that unlocks a door on your healthy cells and lets the virus in, attaching an antibody changes the shape of the key and prevents it from working.

There are some differences between the vaccines. For example, although both require two doses, one vaccine requires the shots twenty one days apart and the other four weeks apart. The temperatures at which they are stored is also different. mRNA is highly unstable at room temperature. To stabilize it, it is wrapped in a lipid capsule to allow it to be safely stored at refrigeration or below freezing temperatures. While the capsule varies between manufacturers, the results are the same—two vaccines that have been shown to be more than 90% effective when given twice. They are both considered safe, so regardless of which one you receive, you should feel confident.

How do I know the vaccine is safe?

Vaccine trials generally last many months to ensure that they are safe. We know, from decades of testing vaccines, that the dangerous side effects typically occur soon after the vaccine is given, and not months later. The trial is monitored by an independent team of experts. If this independent data and the safety monitoring board find the vaccine to be safe, it then goes through two more layers of scrutiny (Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) before being authorized for use in humans. In short, the path to vaccine approval is complex, multilayered and errs on the side of patient safety. Although we are in unprecedented times, you should rest assured science is taking every possible precaution.

How often do I have to get vaccinated for COVID-19?

If you haven’t had COVID-19, it is recommended you get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to you. Currently, the vaccine consists of 2 doses, given about 3–4 weeks apart, depending on the manufacturer. People will be monitored to determine if future boosters or vaccines will be required or recommended over time, like the annual flu shot. Since COVID-19 is a new virus, we will know more in a few months.

For individuals who have had COVID-19, the CDC recommends waiting for further guidance before getting vaccinated, as you may have antibodies. If you have questions or concerns, speak to your healthcare provider.

Why do I need two doses of the vaccine?

When we are first exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19—whether through a vaccine or the virus itself—our bodies identify it as foreign and make an antibody to neutralize it. The first time our bodies make an antibody, the result may not be effective, and infections may still occur. As the body tries more and more configurations, it gets better at producing an antibody very specific to the COVID-19 protein.

When we receive that first shot and wait the 3–4 weeks, we give the body time to make an antibody specific to the virus. The second dose helps our body continue to refine the antibody and produce more of it, in the form of cells that retreat to our bone marrow. Here they stay, poised to pounce if and when the virus presents itself in the future. Therefore, if you don’t take the second dose of the vaccine, the vaccine, overall, is less effective.

I had COVID-19. Do I need to get vaccinated?

For individuals who have had COVID-19, the CDC recommends waiting for further guidance before getting vaccinated, as you may have antibodies. If you have questions or concerns, speak to your healthcare provider.

Can the vaccine make me sick?

The vaccine will not cause COVID-19 but your arm may be sore from the injection or you may develop flu-like symptoms for a few days. This is your body responding to the components in the vaccine, not to the COVID-19 virus. Getting rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking acetaminophen is advised.

What side effects might I expect?

Data from the COVID-19 vaccine trials indicate that the most common side effects were similar to those experienced with other vaccines, including generalized fatigue, muscle aches, pain and redness at the site of the injection and in some cases, fever.

Under what circumstances, post-vaccination, should I contact a doctor?

You should reach out to a healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:

  • High fever that does not respond to acetaminophen
  • Red, warm rash at the injection site
  • Any symptom that is concerning to you
Can my child be vaccinated?

At this time there is no COVID-19 vaccination for children. Vaccines are only tested in children once they have been deemed to be safe in adults. Two vaccine manufacturers have been approved to begin testing the vaccine in children between the ages of 12 and 16, and these trials are currently underway. Once the results of those studies are available and evaluated by the experts at the CDC and FDA, a recommendation regarding vaccinating children will be made.

I’m vaccinated. Do I still need to wear a mask and practice physical distancing?

Yes. It will take several months before we are able to vaccinate our entire population and we don’t fully understand how well the vaccine will work across the masses, if it protects individuals from being infectious and spreading the virus as well as from getting sick and for how long the immunity might last. This is a tremendous public health undertaking and until we know for sure that we are all safe, the recommendation is that we continue to wear a mask, physical distance and wash our hands frequently with soap and water in order to protect each other and stop the spread.

Risks (9 questions)
Who is at risk for serious illness from COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults of increasing age and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease have a higher risk of developing complications from this illness.

Outside this high-risk group, a complete recovery is likely, although reports of complications in a subset of COVID-19 patients include Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) in children, as well as respiratory, neurological, kidney and vascular effects on adults. Also bear in mind that people of all ages and levels of risk can transmit the infection and increase the spread.

Click here for the most complete and updated list from the CDC of people at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

I’m an older adult and/or have a chronic medical condition. Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk of getting sick with COVID-19?

In addition to staying home, washing hands frequently and practicing physical distancing, the CDC recommends adults of increasing age and/or those with chronic conditions like asthma, severe obesity and diabetes consider additional precautions such as:

  • Reduce trips to the pharmacy: Speak to your healthcare provider, insurer and pharmacist about obtaining at least a 30-day supply of necessary prescription and nonprescription medications.
  • Make sure essential vaccinations are up-to-date: If you don’t recall, your healthcare provider should have a record of your last inoculation against influenza and pneumococcal disease.
  • Do not delay care under any circumstances: Emergency departments have contingency infection prevention plans to protect patients from contracting COVID-19, so seek help immediately if your underlying condition requires care. Similarly, if you have an underlying condition and think you may have COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider right away.

Click here to get additional recommendations from the CDC based on specific high-risk conditions.

How does the virus spread?

It is believed that the virus that causes COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes) from one another. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes, respiratory droplets or aerosol particles can be inhaled by others into the nose, mouth, airways and lungs, causing a new infection. While droplets can land on surfaces and objects and get transferred by touch to an individual’s mouth, nose or eyes, this is not considered a primary form of COVID-19 spread. Still unknown is how long infected droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air for inhalation by others, or how likely they are to travel distances beyond 6 feet—for this reason, taking extra precautions indoors, like masking and increasing outdoor air flow, is recommended.

How can I protect myself and my family?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus, according to the CDC. You can do this by:

  • Practicing physical distancing. This means avoiding crowded public places and large gatherings where close contact with others may occur. It’s recommended you aim for a physical distance of approximately 6 feet from others when possible.
  • Wearing a face covering whenever you're in a public setting, especially indoors or in situations where physical distancing is a challenge.
  • Regularly and thoroughly cleaning your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water, as this kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throwing the tissue away.
  • Not touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.
Restrictions are always changing. How do I venture out safely?

The only certainty in the COVID-19 era is that recommendations will continue to fluctuate as case numbers ebb and flow. Experts, including the CDC, have reiterated there is no way to ensure zero risk of COVID-19 infection; even with the vaccine, there are still unknowns. For this reason, prevention measures remain the same: continue maintaining physical distance, wearing face coverings in public settings—especially indoors—be vigilant about hand hygiene and stay home if you’re sick.

How do I know the status of COVID-19 infection in my community?

Click here for the latest updates on COVID-19, including a state-by-state map from Johns Hopkins that shows reported cases and community transmission to date by county level.

Should I be wearing a mask in public? Why?

The CDC recommends people wear face coverings any time they’re in public settings, especially indoors. Masks have been shown to be effective at both protecting the wearer and preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus to others. Since many people who are infected experience mild to no symptoms, widespread participation in this voluntary public health measure is crucial for the safety and protection of your local community.

Are my kids at risk for coronavirus? What symptoms should I look for?

General symptoms of COVID-19 for children are similar to those seen in adults. However, children tend to experience milder symptoms (resembling a common cold or low-grade flu) such as fever, runny nose and cough. Other potential symptoms include tiredness, sore throat, shortness of breath, body aches, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea with occasionally more severe illness, like pneumonia.

In rare cases, some children are experiencing a systemic inflammatory condition similar to Kawasaki disease with fever, eye redness and an unusual rash on the body (including the extremities). Currently being referred to as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), this can occur without the usual respiratory symptoms and in children who have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. If your child is experiencing any of the above, start a visit with us or contact your pediatrician to see if testing for COVID-19 or an in-person evaluation is appropriate.

What is the CDC’s revised recommendation around how “close contact” is defined?

The CDC currently defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over one 24-hour period. The difference between the prior recommendation is the cumulative factor. Whereas previously, 15 consecutive minutes defined close contact, the revised recommendation states that exposures can be added together over one 24-hour period. For example, if you interact on a construction site for three minutes with an infected person, five separate times, for a total of 15 minutes in a workday, that would fit the new definition.

Symptoms and Precautions (5 questions)
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, shortness of breath and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea or loss of sense of taste and smell. These symptoms are usually mild, begin gradually and can appear 2–14 days after being exposed. Individuals of increasing age and those with underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems, lung conditions or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness. For a more detailed look at symptoms, visit the CDC page here.

Is it true you can’t have COVID-19 unless you have a fever? Isn’t that the purpose of temperature checks?

There is still a lot we don’t know about the novel coronavirus—even the CDC notes their list of symptoms, which also includes sore throat, diarrhea, fatigue and headache, is not exhaustive. That’s why if you are feeling unwell, you should stay home and start a visit with a virtual care provider or call your primary care physician to discuss what you’re experiencing and next steps. It’s likely that you will get referred to in-person or at-home testing to confirm or rule out COVID-19.

While well-intentioned, temperature screening in workplaces, airports and hospitals is far from a catch-all, since you can be fever-free and still infected—and capable of spreading—COVID-19. And it’s always good to bear in mind that many patients with COVID-19 may actually have no symptoms, according to the CDC.

I’m worried I have COVID-19. Should I get tested? If so, where?

98point6 encourages widespread use of testing for COVID-19, and your physician may recommend it as part of your medical evaluation. You are also encouraged to discuss any concerns you might have about your personal risk or potential for exposure, as 98point6 doctors can order testing on the basis of these concerns, even in the absence of symptoms. Connecting with a physician will ensure your symptoms get assessed and you are guided towards the right next steps, which may include a visit to a testing center nearest you.

What precautions should I take if I’m sick?

It’s important to get the care you need in a way that prevents the disease from spreading to others. Take advantage of virtual care or contact your healthcare provider (call before visiting). A physician will discuss your symptoms and your risk for COVID-19 and help you decide whether you need testing. It may be recommended you self-isolate in your home for a period of time.

If you live with family or roommates, this entails:

  • Staying in a separate room and using a different bathroom, if possible.
  • Avoiding the sharing of personal household items, including drinkware and towels.
  • Wearing a mask if you do need to be in the same room for even a brief amount of time.
  • Everyone in the household should be vigilant about hygiene, from covering coughs and sneezes to thoroughly washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, plus cleaning frequently touched surfaces daily.
I had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. How long should I quarantine?

The CDC still endorses a quarantine period of 14 days post-exposure, if possible. However, to lessen the stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising, it now offers the following shorter quarantine options:

  • After day 10 without testing
  • After day 7 after receiving a negative test result on a test that occurred on day 5 or later

These alternatives should be considered in conjunction with your local public health authorities.

When to Seek Care (2 questions)
I’m experiencing mild symptoms; what should I do?

Unless you are in a high-risk group (older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions) for developing complications, the best thing you can do is self-isolate and monitor your symptoms carefully.

  • Get rest and stay hydrated; this helps support your immune system.
  • Use the same over-the-counter medications you would to treat the symptoms of a cold, such as acetaminophen for fever and aches and cough/cold medicine.
  • For questions or peace of mind, take advantage of virtual care, as needed.
How do I know if I need emergency care?

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. If possible, call your healthcare provider ahead of time and tell them your COVID-19 status. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or difficulty waking up
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Severe and constant dizziness or lightheadedness

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

Testing (11 questions)
What is the CDC’s current recommendation around getting a COVID-19 test if I’ve been exposed?

The ever-evolving situation that is COVID-19 can be confusing and add to the anxiety we are all feeling right now. Looking to credible sources of guidance, like a 98point6 physician or your healthcare provider, and seeking answers to any questions you may have is always the right move.

Several factors, including test availability and delayed test results reporting, have influenced the CDC to recently revise their guidelines regarding who should be tested. Currently, testing is recommended for symptomatic individuals and for asymptomatic individuals who have been in “close contact” with a person who has COVID-19. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a person who has a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes total in the last 24 hours. There are exceptions to this updated recommendation; for example, if you live with someone at high-risk of COVID-19 complications, such as an elderly person or an individual with an underlying health condition, you can discuss with your doctor whether testing might be helpful, even with no symptoms and a lesser degree of exposure.

Regardless of any of the CDC’s recommendations, you can get a COVID-19 test order from a physician at any time—none of these guidelines will prevent you from doing so. And no matter what your circumstances are, even if you just want reassurance, you can always speak with a 98point6 physician to determine if a test is right for you. 98point6 continues to order tests for patients who request one and/or when our physicians determine a test is warranted.

What are the different types of COVID-19 testing? How do I know which one I need?

The FDA has created a web page describing the basics about testing for COVID-19. There are three main types of tests available today:

  • COVID-19 diagnostic viral tests, also known as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests, use a sample taken from the nose or mouth by swab or saliva to determine whether you have an active infection with the virus. PCR tests are considered the “gold standard” because they are the most sensitive and specific. This means you are less likely to get a false positive or a false negative result. If you have symptoms, a 98point6 physician can help determine if a PCR test is the appropriate next step.
  • COVID-19 rapid diagnostic viral tests, also known as antigen tests, use a sample taken from the nose or mouth by swab or saliva to determine whether you have an active infection with the virus. Rapid antigen tests provide results in less than 15 minutes and are much less expensive than diagnostic PCR tests. These tests are best suited for rapid diagnostic situations (e.g., in a doctor’s office, as well as screening testing for return-to-work or return-to-school programs). Although some antigen tests can be less sensitive and less specific than PCR tests, the recent antigen tests authorized by the FDA are on-par with PCR. If you have symptoms, a 98point6 physician can help determine if a rapid diagnostic test is the appropriate next step.
  • Antibody tests (also known as serological tests) use a blood sample to reveal markers of immune response in the form of antibodies, which frequently show up in the blood more than a week after symptom onset. In addition to confirming a suspected case after a patient has recovered, antibody tests can also reveal who was infected but didn’t know it due to mild or no symptoms. If you have questions about antibody testing for COVID-19, a 98point6 physician can help determine if an antibody test is appropriate.
Can your doctors order testing?

Our physicians can provide orders for viral and antigen tests; they can also guide patients to testing locations and directly order antibody testing if you meet the requirements necessary.

What does a positive antibody test result tell me?

Our bodies make specific antibody proteins in response to infections. A positive COVID-19 antibody test tells you that your immune system has responded to an infection or exposure by making a detectable amount of these antibodies. If you have a positive result and have questions, start a visit with one of our physicians. They can help you understand your next steps.

Does a positive COVID-19 antibody test mean I am immune?

No. At this time, antibody tests cannot tell you whether or not you are immune to COVID-19. Because this is a new virus, it is not known how long the antibodies remain present after infection or exposure. Additionally, some people may have a prolonged period of viral shedding after recovery, which means you can still spread the infection to others. A positive antibody test is also unable to determine:

  • How sick you may or may not become
  • If you can get sick with the virus again
  • If you are contagious
  • If you can or should return to work or other activities

With a positive result, you should continue to practice social distancing, good hand hygiene and limit your exposure to others, as you may be contagious and may still be vulnerable to re-infection.

I have a positive antibody test result. Can I give plasma?

Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you may be an eligible donor if you’ve had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test, and meet other general donor criteria. Individuals must have complete resolution of symptoms for at least 28 days before they donate or alternatively have no symptoms for at least 14 days prior to donation with a negative viral/PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test for active COVID-19 disease. Please check with this website from the FDA to find out more.

What does a negative COVID-19 antibody test mean?

We are still learning about the body’s response to COVID-19. This means that there is a possibility that you could have had the virus and, depending on when you took the test or other factors, you test negative for antibodies.

Some COVID-19 patients have developed antibodies, only for them to later be undetectable. Whether these patients retain immunity or resistance to reinfection, and to what degree, is not yet known or understood.

For this reason, it’s recommended that everyone, regardless of test results, continue to exercise precautions to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission. If you have a negative result and have questions, start a visit with one of our physicians, who can help you understand next steps.

If I have a positive antibody result, can I return to work?

At this time, there are no guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) for returning to work based on the results of viral/PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests or antibody tests for the general public. If you are a healthcare provider, we suggest that you check with your place of employment for further guidance on return to work.

How much does a COVID-19 test cost?

If you’re receiving a viral or antibody test for COVID-19, it’s possible that your lab costs may be covered. As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, most insurance plans are covering or reimbursing for qualifying COVID-19-related testing costs. While some testing and lab locations may require payment at the time of testing, or bill you afterwards, it’s possible that these costs are reimbursable either through your insurance provider or your state (if you’re on Medicaid, a state-sponsored health plan or uninsured). If you do need to pay out-of-pocket for your test, know that the cost can vary. If you are billed by your lab, please contact your insurance provider or state health department to discuss how to get reimbursed for your labs related to COVID-19.

When is the best time after COVID-19 exposure to get a test?

It is important to understand that the timing of when a person is tested has an impact on the test results. It can take several days after someone is exposed to the virus for there to be enough virus to be detected. For example, being tested on the day of your exposure or the next day will likely result in a negative (not infected) test result, even in individuals who may later go on to develop infection.

COVID-19 tests are mostly likely to detect an infection three (3) to seven (7) days after exposure. COVID-19 PCR tests, which test for virus DNA, are still considered the gold standard, but antigen tests, which test for viral proteins, are increasingly used for testing symptomatic patients and for screening asymptomatic patients. For those who develop symptoms, the CDC recommends getting tested no later than 7 days after symptom onset or exposure to the virus. A 98point6 physician or your healthcare provider can help you determine the best time to be tested. Whenever you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 exposure, symptoms or testing, a physician is your best source of information, guidance and reassurance.

A student in my child’s class has been diagnosed with COVID-19. My child was exposed, but is displaying no symptoms. Should they get tested?

The CDC recommends that close contacts of students or staff with COVID-19 be quickly identified and tested. To make sure this happens, school administrators should work with local health officials on contact tracing efforts.

If your child is attending in-person school or daycare, make sure you have a solid understanding of the policies surrounding cases, quarantines and closures. Open, transparent communication counts and goes both ways, so ask questions to make sure you are comfortable and aware.

Medications and Treatment (5 questions)
I heard that taking ibuprofen can worsen the symptoms of COVID-19. Should I avoid it?

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used to treat fever and mild to moderate pain. At some point, you may have heard news or rumors suggesting that this medication could aggravate COVID-19.

Based on currently available information, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases maintain there is no evidence that ibuprofen increases the risk of serious complications or of acquiring the virus that causes COVID-19. That said, if you are still uneasy, acetaminophen is an alternative medication that can be used for fever and pain.

Do vaccines against pneumonia or flu offer any protection?

Because COVID-19 is new and different, it needs its own vaccine. Other vaccines, such as the flu shot and pneumococcal vaccine, do not provide protection against COVID-19. Depending on your medical history, these vaccinations may still protect you from other illness or complications of COVID-19, so discuss them with a physician if you have questions.

I heard chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are treatments for COVID-19. Do you prescribe those drugs?

There has been talk in the media about the use of malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine; however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that these medications are unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19. Our clinic does not prescribe these medications under any circumstances, and can provide suitable alternatives if you will be traveling to a destination where malaria is a consideration.

Can I be prescribed remdesivir?

The FDA has approved the antiviral drug remdesivir for use in adult and pediatric patients ages 12 and older to treat severe cases of COVID-19 in a hospital setting. At this time, remdesivir is not available for prescription.

Are dexamethasone and regeneron effective COVID-19 treatments?

While dexamethasone, a steroid, and regeneron, an antibody cocktail, are getting significant media attention—including some positive outcomes in rare cases—firm scientific proof about the effectiveness and safety of both treatments remain early and mixed.

Steroids like dexamethasone work by suppressing your immune system in order to decrease the damage caused by an infection. While this seems unconventional, the treatment has been shown to protect patients from serious COVID-19 side effects by reducing excess lung inflammation. One large clinical trial demonstrated a benefit among hospitalized patients who were receiving respiratory support, whether with oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation. However, that same study showed no benefit; in fact, it showed a trend toward worse outcomes with the use of dexamethasone in patients with milder disease who did not require oxygen.

The general conclusion, per the medical community, is that the drug could possibly cause “more harm than good” in some patients, particularly those with early or mild disease. The bottom line is that dexamethasone is widely available and can be prescribed by your doctor, but has only proven to help in patients who are sick enough to require hospitalization.

As far as regeneron, the FDA has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the antibody cocktail to be given to patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at risk for progression to severe disease.