More answers to your COVID-19 questions

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton discusses if bleeding gums, nodules on your lungs, and hives or rashes are potential symptoms of COVID-19.
5:15 | 04/22/20

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Transcript for More answers to your COVID-19 questions
Well, we turn once again now to Dr. Jen Ashton for her important medical expertise with your questions answered, so, Dr. Jen, thanks as always for being here. We'll get right to our first question. Have there been any reports of bleeding gums related to covid-19? Great question, and it's important to remember, Amy, that the oral health and well-being, some people say it's a window into our overall health and well-being, so it is important to look in the mouth at the gums for signs and symptoms of any disease. Covid-19 is no different, not really anything appearing yet in terms of bleeding gums as a symptom. Periodontal disease is the most common inflammatory condition facing adults in this country, so plenty of people have bleeding gums on a regular basis. We still have to follow it this terms of its significance for covid-19, but I also want to just remember and remind people that dental emergencies are still happening in the setting of this pandemic, and oral surgeons and dentists tend to be forgotten in the incredible work they're doing, so we need to keep them in our minds as well. Yeah, certainly important to remember there. Our next question, can covid-19 cause nodules on your lungs? The lung findings in covid-19 obviously is where all of the attention is and where it started, but when you talk about nodules, these are really radiographic findings, so these are things that radiologists or doctors can see on imaging tests like x-rays or C.A.T. Scans. The most significant imaging test for covid-19 patients is a C.A.T. Scan actually, so sensitive, in fact, that some people were suggesting that we should be using that to actually diagnose patients even though it's really not feasible for a number of reasons, but nodules can represent areas in the lung tissue that are inflamed, that are blocked, so to speak. We don't know if that will be long term or if that damage will persist because this illness is just too new. All right, our next question in terms of symptoms, are hives and rashes potential symptoms of covid-19? There's been a lot of attention in the last couple of days, Amy, about the dermatologic or skin manifestations of covid-19. Some reports from Italy suggest that 20% of patients with covid-19 have some kind of skin problem, whether it's a rash, hives, if could be ulceration or discoloration in the fingers or toes, rash on the trunk or mottled skink so we're still collecting data on this. There are theories that would make sense. It could be an immune reaction. We can see skin findings with other viral infections. It could be due to circulation or clotting effects or general inflammation, but we're definitely hearing more and more about it. Could you have the hives or the rash without any other symptoms? Would that be possible? I think we don't know yet. I think, you know, if you have hives and that's your only sign or symptom, I don't think it's feasible right now to go out and rush to try to get tested, but I would definitely follow not only your hiefshgs hives but your overall signs and symptoms as well. We keep hearing testing is the key to re-opening but how realistic is that. Well, you know, what people haven't been talking a lot about, Amy, is, you know, they're saying, well, tests are more available, but we have to remember what goes into the tests are parts and pieces and supplies and equipment and reagents, and those things will be or could be in short supply so there's really a supply issue. There's who's processing the tests. There's the turnaround time, the cost involved and the accuracy, so, you know, testing is important in an ideal world but how realistic it is or will be to help us in the next one to two years yet alone one to two months is still unknown. All right. And our last question, do we know what specific factors facilitate the spread of covid-19 into nursing homes? Well, there's some theories. You know, we have to remember that the elderly who are in nursing homes, they are among the most vulnerable in terms of at risk populations and nursing homes themselves are vulnerable locations at baseline. People are coming in and out from hospitals, from the community, visitors, employees and staff that are also potentially working in other medical facilities where there are at baseline some potential rates of infection. So the CDC has really focused on protecting this population with new planning protocols in place and we've seen visitation restricted really to protect this population and we also have to remember as we get older our immune system becomes weaker and less robust, so this is a very vulnerable population. I know. My 97-year-old grandfather, it's his birthday today, and my family is going to try to social distance, wish him a happy birthday but it's for his own protection. So many realizing that we have to protect the most vulnerable. Dr. Jen, thank you so much for being with us today, and you can submit your questions to Dr. Ashton on Instagram @drjashton. Well, Ramadan begins this

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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