Covid-19

Covid-19 Questions Answered, Courtesy of the FDA

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Frequent hand washing is a key way to stay safe during the pandemic. slavoljubovski - Pixabay

Every week, the FDA sends out a Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions notice. That quickly can add up to information overload, so we thought we’d share. We rounded up a few of the most helpful Qs and As for easy reading. Some answers have been edited strictly for length.  

 

 Q. What is an emergency use authorization and how is it being used to respond to COVID-19?

  A. In certain types of emergencies, the FDA can issue an emergency use authorization, or EUA, to provide more timely access to critical medical products (including medicines and tests) that may help during the emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternative options.

The EUA process is different [from] FDA approval, clearance, or licensing because the EUA standard may permit authorization based on significantly less data than would be required for approval, clearance, or licensing by the FDA. This enables the FDA to authorize the emergency use of medical products that meet the criteria within weeks rather than months to years. 

EUAs are in effect until the emergency declaration ends but can be revised or revoked as we evaluate the needs during the emergency and new data on the product’s safety and effectiveness, or as products meet the criteria to become approved, cleared, or licensed by the FDA.

 

Q. Can I prevent or treat COVID-19 by using disinfectant sprays, wipes, or liquids on my skin? 

A . No. Disinfectants should not be used on human or animal skin. Disinfectants may cause serious skin and eye irritation. 

Disinfectants are dangerous for people to inject, inhale, or ingest. If you breathe, inject, or swallow disinfectants you may be seriously hurt or die. If someone near you swallows, injects, or breathes a disinfectant, call poison control or a medical professional immediately.

Disinfectant products such as sprays, mists, wipes, or liquids are only to be used on hard, non-porous surfaces (materials that do not absorb liquids easily) such as floors and countertops, or on soft surfaces such as mattresses, sofas, and beds.

 

Q. Does spraying people with disinfectant lower the spread of COVID-19?

A. Currently there are no data showing that spraying people with aerosolized disinfectants, or having people walk through tunnels or rooms where disinfectant is in the air, can treat, prevent, or lower the spread of COVID-19.

Surface disinfectants should not be used on people or animals. Disinfectant products, such as sprays, mists, wipes, or liquids are only to be used on hard, non-porous surfaces (materials that do not absorb liquids easily) such as floors and countertops, or on soft surfaces such as mattresses, sofas, and beds. … 

Human antiseptic drugs, such as hand sanitizers, are intended for use on human skin, but are not intended … to be sprayed in the air in very small droplets.  Due to serious safety concerns, including the risk of inhalational toxicity and flammability, the FDA’s temporary policies for alcohol-based hand sanitizers during the COVID-19 public health emergency specifically do not apply to aerosol sprays. In addition, hand sanitizers are intended for use on the hands, and should never be used over larger body surfaces, swallowed, or inhaled.

 

Q. Can I inject, inhale, or ingest (swallow) disinfectants to prevent or treat COVID-19?

A . No. Disinfectants should not be used on human or animal skin. Disinfectants may cause serious skin and eye irritation. 

Disinfectants are dangerous for people to inject, inhale, or ingest. If you breathe, inject, or swallow disinfectants you may be seriously hurt or die. If someone near you swallows, injects, or breathes a disinfectant, call poison control or a medical professional immediately.

Disinfectant products such as sprays, mists, wipes, or liquids are only to be used on hard, non-porous surfaces (materials that do not absorb liquids easily) such as floors and countertops, or on soft surfaces such as mattresses, sofas, and beds.

 

 

Q. Can I make my own hand sanitizer?

A. The FDA does not recommend that consumers make their own hand sanitizer. If made incorrectly, hand sanitizer can be ineffective, and there have been reports of skin burns from homemade hand sanitizer. The agency lacks verifiable information on the methods being used to prepare hand sanitizer at home and whether they are safe for use on human skin.

 

Q. What is the risk of using a hand sanitizer that contains methanol (wood alcohol) or 1-propanol?

A. Methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although people using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidentally swallow these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute are most at risk.

Swallowing or drinking a hand sanitizer with 1-propanol can result in decreased breathing and heart rate, among other serious symptoms, and can lead to death. Hand sanitizer with 1-propanol contamination can irritate your skin (or eyes, if exposed). Although it is rare, some people have reported allergic skin reactions. 

 

 

Q. What should people do if they have been exposed to hand sanitizer with potential methanol or 1-propanol contamination?

A. People who have been exposed to contaminated hand sanitizer and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects.

FDA encourages health care professionals, consumers and patients to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of hand sanitizers to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (please provide the agency with as much information as possible to identify the product).

 

Q. I recently recovered from COVID-19, can I donate convalescent plasma?

A. COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood. Individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other laboratory criteria. Individuals must have fully recovered from COVID-19, with complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days before donation of convalescent plasma. You can ask your local blood center if there are options to donate convalescent plasma in your area. Learn more about how to donate.

 

Q. Can SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, be transmitted by blood transfusion?

 A. In general, respiratory viruses are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus.

 

 

Q. Can COVID-19 be transmitted through human cells , tissues, or cellular and tissue-based products (HCT/Ps)?

A. Respiratory viruses, in general, are not known to be transmitted by implantation, transplantation, infusion, or transfer of human cells, tissues, or cellular or tissue-based products (HCT/Ps). The potential for transmission of COVID-19 by HCT/Ps is unknown at this time. There have been no reported cases of transmission of COVID-19 via HCT/Ps.

Routine screening measures are already in place for evaluating clinical evidence of infection in HCT/P donors. 

Q. Will there be drug shortages due to COVID-19?

A. The FDA has been closely monitoring the supply chain with the expectation that the COVID-19 outbreak would likely impact the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to supply or shortages of critical medical products in the U.S. 

We have been reaching out to manufacturers as part of our approach to identifying potential disruptions or shortages. We will use all available tools to react swiftly and mitigate the impact to U.S. patients and health care professionals when a potential disruption or shortage is identified.

Q. Are there any at-home tests for COVID-19?

A. Yes. There are now COVID-19 tests available for purchase online or in a store that can be used completely at home. At-home tests allow you to collect your own sample and test it with a system that gives you results in minutes at home.

Additionally, the FDA has authorized some tests that can be purchased online or in a store that allow you to collect your own sample and then send it to a laboratory for analysis. 

Q. Can I get COVID-19 from a food worker handling my food?

A. Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. However, the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person in some communities in the U.S. The CDC recommends that if you are sick, stay home until you are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. 

Anyone handling, preparing and serving food should always follow safe food handling procedures, such as washing hands and surfaces often

 Q. Can pets carry the virus that causes COVID-19 on their skin or fur?

A.   Although we know certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair, there is no evidence that viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets.

However, because animals can sometimes carry other germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, including washing hands before and after interacting with them and especially after cleaning up their waste.

There are no products that are FDA-approved to disinfect the hair or coats of pets, but if you do decide to bathe or wipe off your pet, first talk to your veterinarian about suitable products. Never use hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes or other industrial or surface cleaners, as these can penetrate the skin or be licked off and ingested by your pet. If you have recently used any of these products on your pet, or your pet is showing signs of illness after use, contact your veterinarian and rinse or wipe down your pet with water. 

Q. Since domestic cats can get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, should I worry about my cat?

A. We are still learning about this virus and how it spreads, but it appears it can spread from humans to animals in some situations. The FDA is aware of a very small number of pets, including cats, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The majority of these cases were linked to close contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19.

At this time, there is no evidence that pets, including cats and dogs, play a role in spreading COVID-19 to people. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person, typically through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking.

People sick with COVID-19 should isolate themselves from other people and animals, including pets, during their illness until we know more about how this virus affects animals. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with pets.

Did you find this information helpful? Are you still looking for more answers? Let us know , and we will do it again.

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