Transcript for More answers to your COVID-19 questions
And your questions now around this baffling global pandemic continue to pour in. ABC's chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton is standing by with more answers for all of you. Dr. Jen, we'll begin with the first question. How effective and useful are homemade masks? I'm seeing lots of offers for making face masks from designers to home sewers, but how effective are they really? Short answer, Amy, their effectiveness is unknown. From the beginning of this pandemic of this outbreak, it's just as important to stay what you don't know as what you do know. Those made at home masks are untested but when the CDC said that healthcare workers could use a bandanna if necessary, at this point it's probably better than nothing. Rosie the riveters, I give them the thumbs up for helping. The next question, how long the virus can last on surfaces. So the next question is, with all of the concern about the virus surviving on surfaces, should we be concerned about our food being safe if we're ordering for delivery or takeout? This is a tough one, Amy. I thought of that myself. I can tell you scientifically, if there's -- if the food worker coughed on your food and then you ate it, your stomach acid will likely kill that virus, but if you eat with your hands maybe not so much. But it's a balance because you want to support these restaurants when they're really struggling right now. I've been trying to order in just once a day to keep them going. All right, fair enough. The next question we have here, are there any over-the-counter medications we shouldn't be taking? I love that question because it's about the caution with the things that are over the counter, there's so much interest right now in these alternative or complementary supplements, could it protect us? Right now there's no data on it. If it can help it could also hurt. Big organizations are saying don't go to these supplements yet. We don't know how they could interact with the virus. There have been controversial data not peer reviewed yet, that ibuprofen may cause irregular lagss, if you have a choice between a acetaminophen not ibuprofen. Our next question -- another question about the virus' life on surfaces. How long does the virus live on a bath towel, should we be changing it daily? That's such a good question. They don't know yet. They studied this in the labs last week. On surfaces like stainless steel, carbon and plastic and how long the particles linger in the air. The range was anywhere from 3 hours to 3 days. They don't know about money, clothes, bath towels, if you're concerned, wash it more. Yeah, when in doubt just go ahead and throw it in the laundry. Our next question, has anyone looked at the data from the people who regularly get the flu shot? Could this be why the children seem to be less susceptible to the coronavirus? I love this question, too. It's really how scientists think. The answer is no, we haven't looked at that data yet. But basically, the flu vaccine is not going to give any protection against this coronavirus. However, it may be seen that people who have been vaccinated against the flu have less chance of serious complications from the covid-19. We don't know. We need data on U.S. Cases. With so much unknown right now, Jen, is there anything we can be doing that's known to be effective to boost our immune systems? You know, we talk about this all the time, Amy, the best things you can do all the time and especially now, get seven to nine hours of sleep, wash your hands as much as possible and exercise if it's possible, depending on where you are has been shown to boost the immune system and has been associated with lower chance of various upper respiratory infections. I'm doing pushups in my apartment. Because I can't leave for the next week. But exercise is really, really important. I'm going to challenge you that to pushup challenge. On social media. All right, Dr. Jen, thank you. If you have any questions for Dr. Ashton, send them to her Instagram -- @drjashton. While the number of
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