Is there a vaccine for the coronavirus? Does the flu shot help prevent Coronavirus?
A vaccine for this coronavirus is not available at this time, although a lot of labs are working on it. The seasonal flu vaccine does not prevent coronavirus. However, CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months of age get the seasonal flu vaccine because it will help protect you for the most common strains of the flu.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. While much remains unclear, and epidemiology may vary depending on location, strain, and access to medical care, a pattern is emerging that:
Early symptoms may be nonspecific, such as fever, body aches or chills, scratchy throat, and or/mild stomach upset (diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, loss of smell)
A few days later a dry cough may emerge, that can worsen to start including shortness of breath over several days
Upper respiratory symptoms like nasal congestion or sneezing are less common
In addition, it remains true that 80% of people will have mild disease, and most - but not all - with more severe disease are older or have underlying medical conditions. And: we still don’t know how many people have no symptoms at all.
Is COVID-19 worse than the flu?
While data is still very incomplete, it looks as if COVID-19 is significantly more transmissible than influenza and likely slightly more dangerous, however, true mortality remains unknown since we do not have a “denominator” (the total number of people infected). While older populations and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe disease from both, COVID-19 seems to affect children much less than flu. And only a small percentage of COVID-19 patients have significant upper respiratory symptoms like nasal congestion.
Is there a treatment for COVID-19?
No. There is at this time no treatment for COVID-19 other than supportive care, meaning analgesia (Tylenol) if needed for fevers and body aches, hydration, and respiratory support through inhalers, oxygen, or respirators (intubation) in a hospital setting. Scientists all over the world are racing to test existing medications and to identify new ones that might work, and several clinical trials are already ongoing.
When to Get Help
People who have a fever (>100.3F), cough or shortness of breath should stay home, put on a (paper) mask if available, and call their healthcare provider for advice.
Students should call the UHS Nurse Advice Line immediately at (510) 643-7197 for further guidance.
People with milder, nonspecific symptoms such as nasal congestion or mild cough without fever should, as always, practice good hand hygiene and self-care, avoid close contact with other people, consider wearing a paper mask, and watch for worsening symptoms.