Red Cross Sint Maarten

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19

1. How Likely am I to catch COVID-19?

The risk depends on where you live or where you have travelled recently. The risk of infection is higher in areas where a number people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. However, it’s important to be aware of the situation and preparedness efforts in your area.

2. Who is at risk of developing severe illness?

While we are still learning about how COVID-2019 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others. 

3. Should I worry about COVID-19?

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, However, it can cause serious illness. First and foremost among these actions is regular and thorough hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene. Secondly, keep informed and follow the advice of the local health authorities including any restrictions put in place on travel, movement and gatherings. If you feel sick contact your general practitioner and 914.

4. Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be transmitted through the air?

The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill.  WHO is assessing ongoing research on the period of transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to share updated findings.

5. Is there a vaccine our treatment for COVID-19?

Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.

6. Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. Disposable face mask can only be used once. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is ill then you are wasting a mask. There is a world-wide shortage of masks, so WHO urges people to use masks wisely.

WHO advises rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and mis-use of masks  (see Advice on the use of masks).The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

7. How to put on, take off and dispose of a mask?

  • Remember, a mask should only be used by health workers, care takers, and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough.
  • Before touching the mask, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • Take the mask and inspect it for tears or holes.
  • Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip is).
  • Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the colored side).
  • Place the mask to your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it molds to the shape of your nose.
  • Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
  • After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
  • Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
  • Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask – Use alcohol-based hand rub or, if visibly soiled, wash your hands with soap and water.

8. Is there anything I should not do?

The following measures ARE NOT effective against COVID-2019 and can be harmful:

  • Smoking
  • Wearing multiple masks
  • Taking antibiotics

In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.