Q: Hi, Doctor. I am deeply concerned about this present pandemic Covid19. Thankfully, there have been survivors of the disease. Here is my question, can a person who just recovered from the disease develop an immune system that will help him never to contact it again?
Thanks for your Great impact
A: Hallos! Thanks for writing in
You’ve raised a good question.
We have seen some news coming out of China that suggest that some people who had tested negative to the virus, soon afterwards, tested positive again. And so the concern is, ‘does this mean a reinfection?’ or perhaps ‘the patient never really fully recovered from the initial infection?’ Or ‘maybe it’s the residual RNA (genetic material) from the virus?’ We don’t fully have the answers to this now – knowledge on COVID-19 keeps evolving.
What we do know is that with the other coronaviruses, the antibodies that patients produce during the infection confers some immunity for that specific virus which can last for months or even years
What is important for everyone to know for now is that nothing should give you a false sense of security – not masks, not the fact that you were infected and are now negative or that you feel your immune system is up to the task. Everyone should focus on doing the right things
- Stay home
- If you must go out, wear a face mask and practice social distancing. On wearing a mask, as I said before, new things keep coming to light about this virus and now there are concerns that it could be spread by even people who are not showing symptoms by just breathing or talking. So, protect yourself, you or the person you’re talking to could be asymptomatic (not showing symptoms). Use a cloth mask so we can save the hospital grade masks for the frontline medical staff who really need them
- Wash your hands often with water and soap. Washing under running water is ideal. If you don’t have running water, have someone pour water over your hands. Do this for at least 20 seconds
- For those times that you are not able to wash your hands, please use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Rub all over your hands in much the same way as when you’re washing your hands and rub until dry
- If you need to cough or sneeze, do that into the crook of your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, dispose of it immediately in a trash can/dustbin and wash your hands immediately. Remember that if you’re wearing an outfit that overs your elbow, you’ve deposited some germs there and it’s a great idea to wash these clothes at the end of the day. And take a bath!
One of the silver linings of COVID-19 is a return to personal hygiene. Let’s all take this seriously and send this virus packing!