Coronavirus Q&A

Coronavirus Q&A

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the CDC, patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

What should I do if I'm experiencing any of these symptoms?

Please seek medical attention. Call your healthcare provider first to alert them of your recent travel history and/or symptoms. If you are a patient coming to Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital or any other healthcare facility or clinic, and have any of these symptoms, please tell the staff immediately.

How is COVID-19 spread?

Coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person to person, including close contact between people (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by touching objects that have the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

What can I do to prevent myself from infection?

There is no vaccine or approved anti-viral medications for treatment. To prevent the spread of this and any other infection, it is important to follow healthy habits, which include:

  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to go to a healthcare provider's office.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Drink plenty of clear fluids (such as water, sports drinks and electrolyte beverages for infants) to keep from becoming dehydrated.
  • Frequently clean your living quarters.
  • Get a flu vaccine. 

Should I wear a mask?

According to the CDC, healthy people do not need to wear a mask as a preventive measure. Here is guidance from the CDC on the use of masks:

  • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
  • The use of face masks is also crucial for healthcare workers and people who are taking care of someone with a confirmed case of or under investigation for COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).

I've been hearing a lot of different theories about COVID-19. How can I find out what's true?

While there is still much to be learned about COVID-19, there is a fair amount of misinformation circulating about the virus. The World Health Organization has dispelled several myths related to the virus by answering questions that include:

  • Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?
  • Is it safe to receive a letter or a package from China?
  • Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus?
  • Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?
  • Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

Read the full list and learn more.

How can I learn more about COVID-19?

For the latest updates on COVID-19, visit the CDC website and refer to these additional resources: