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Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

What symptoms should I look for?

Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. Patients may exhibit gastrointestinal problems or diarrhea.

How long does it take to show symptoms after exposure?

Most people fall ill five to seven days after, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay at home, except to get medical care. The current CDC guidance recommends that you call a medical professional if you notice symptoms and live in or have traveled to an area with a known coronavirus outbreak, or have had close contact with someone who has traveled to an area with an outbreak, or have had close contact with anyone infected. Don’t rush to the emergency room - it is most likely packed with sick people and overworked employees and doctors.

The CDC also suggests that you avoid public transportation, ride-sharing services and taxis, and that you separate yourself from other people and animals in your home as soon as possible.

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What if someone in my family gets sick?

Follow the steps listed above if you think your children, or anyone else in your household, may be infected. Children infected with the new coronavirus tend to have mild or no symptoms, and it is unclear how easily they transmit the disease to other people.

Patients at high risk should check in with their doctor as soon as they have symptoms.

Is there a cure?

There is no cure for covid-19. People with covid-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration has approved one drug, remdesivir, to treat covid-19 in certain situations.

There are currently two vaccines authorized and recommended to prevent covid-19, made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Vaccines to protect against covid-19 are being administered in Arkansas as of early January. Most people currently being vaccinated in the state are healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, EMS and law enforcement or firefighters who serve as first-responders.

The state is currently in Phase 1 of its vaccination plan. Phase 2 is intended to vaccinate the general population, and is expected to begin sometime after April. Read more about the state’s vaccine plan here.

When should I seek emergency treatment?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the following symptoms - if you are otherwise healthy - should prompt you to seek emergency treatment. Difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face, any other symptom that is severe or concerning

How does this compare with the flu?

The coronavirus seems to be more deadly than seasonal flu and quite contagious. Early estimates of the coronavirus death rate from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated, have been about 2%, while the seasonal flu, on average, kills about 0.1% of people who become infected. But children appear to be more affected by the flu.

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How does the virus spread?

The virus that causes covid-19 most commonly spreads between people who are within about 6 feet of one another. It appears to spread through respiratory droplets or small particles in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get covid-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Research has demonstrated that the virus’s survival depends on the type of surface it lands on. The live virus can survive anywhere between three hours and seven days, depending on the material. But there is good news: The virus is relatively easy to destroy using any simple disinfectant or bleach. Here’s how long the virus typically lasts on common surfaces:

Glass - 5 days

Wood - 4 days

Plastic & stainless steel - 4 days

Cardboard - 24 hours

Copper - 4 hours

Sources: CDC, The New York Times, Cleveland Clinic, Arkansas Department of Health