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1. Is there a vaccine against the novel coronavirus?

No, since this is a new disease, there is currently no vaccine available and it could take up to 12-18 months to develop one.

2. Am I protected from COVID-19 if I got a flu shot this year?

Influenza and the virus that causes COVID-19 are two different viruses and the seasonal flu vaccine does not protect from COVID-19. However, the flu vaccine is strongly recommended because it helps to avoid confusion with COVID-19 if you develop symptoms, enabling earlier isolation of possible coronavirus cases.

3. Is Tuberculosis vaccine (TB) protective against COVID-19?

Since at present there is no scientific evidence that TB vaccine can provide protection against the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), this vaccine remains indicated for vulnerable categories of the population exposed to these infections.

4. Is it necessary to continue with the normal vaccination activities envisaged in the general vaccination schedule?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) it is essential to maintain vaccination appointments, especially for routine vaccinations. During vaccination appointments, it is recommended to observe the preventive measures for COVID-19.


5. What can I do to protect myself?

Please stay up to date with the latest information on the spread of the pandemic, available on the WHO website and on the Italian Ministry of Health website and take the following personal protection measures:

  • wash your hands often. It is strongly recommended to make sure that hydroalcoholic solutions for washing hands are available in all public places, gyms, supermarkets, pharmacies and other gathering places
  • avoid close contact with people with acute respiratory infections;
  • avoid hugs and handshakes;
  • maintain an interpersonal distance of at least 1 meter, when in social contact;
  • respiratory hygiene (sneeze and/or cough in a disposable paper towel and throw it away immediately or wash it after use, then wash your hands well with soap and water or hydroalcoholic solution and dry them thoroughly. avoiding hand contact with any respiratory secretions);
  • avoid communal use of bottles and glasses, in particular during sports activities;
  • do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands;
  • cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough;
  • do not take antiviral drugs and antibiotics, unless prescribed by your doctor;
  • first, clean surfaces with soap and water or regular mild detergents to remove dirt. Then sanitize all surfaces with sodium hypochlorite or alcohol solutions (bleach). Make sure the solutions are diluted properly
  • during any social contact, it is strongly recommended to use a respiratory tract protection, as an additional measure to other individual health and hygiene protection measures.

If you have a fever, cough or experience any breathing difficulties and you suspect that you have been in close contact with a person with respiratory disease Covid-19:

  • stay at home, do not go to the emergency room or to a doctor's surgery but call your family doctor, paediatrician or the ‘guardia medica’ (out-of-hours primary care service). Alternatively, call the regional telephone information hotline. Call the emergency number 112/118 only if strictly necessary, if your symptoms get worse, or if you experience serious breathing difficulties.
6. Can the virus be transmitted via food?

Normally, respiratory diseases cannot be passed on through food. However, safe food hygiene practices should be followed, and contact between raw and cooked food should be avoided. 

It is safe to drink tap water, thanks to treatment processes that remove viruses, environmental conditions that compromise virus vitality (temperature, sunlight, high pH levels) and the final disinfection step.

Source: ISS - National Institute of Health 

7. What are the recommendations for people in solitary confinement with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?

Anyone with suspect or confirmed COVID-19 should stay away from other family members, if possible, in a well-ventilated single room and should not receive visitors

The sick person must rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food, and wear a surgical mask that needs to be changed every day. If he/she does not tolerate the mask, he/she must adopt a strict respiratory hygiene: cover his/her mouth and nose with a disposable paper tissue/handkerchief when he/she coughs or sneezes and throw it away immediately, or wash it after use, wash his/her hands with soap and water or with hydroalcoholic solution.

8. What are the recommendations for family members caring for people in home isolation under suspicion of or confirmed COVID-19?
  • The carer must be in good health, have no diseases that put him/her at risk, wear a surgical mask carefully placed on his/her face when in the same room as the patient
  • Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water or a hydroalcoholic solution after every contact with the patient or his/her surroundings, before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the bathroom and whenever hands appear dirty.
  • Crockery, cutlery, towels and sheets must be used exclusively by the sick person. They must be washed often with soap and water at 60/90 °C.
  • Surfaces frequently touched by the sick person must be cleaned and disinfected every day
  • If the sick person gets worse or has breathing difficulties, call 112/118 immediately
9. I have completed my self-isolation period. What must I do to return to work?

After completing the home isolation period, if you developed no symptoms, you may return to work. The days you stayed home are covered by the certificate issued at the beginning of the isolation period. 

Should somebody develop symptoms during the period of fiduciary isolation, the Department of Public Health, which is responsible for the national health surveillance, will carry out a test with the SARS-CoV-2 swab. In the event of a positive outcome, clinical recovery (i.e. complete absence of symptoms) is required, before going back to work. At that point, two consecutive swabs will be performed within 24 hours, to confirm that the patient has completely recovered. If both swabs are negative, the person can go back to work, otherwise the fiduciary isolation period will be resumed.

10. Is there a treatment for the novel coronavirus?

At present, there is no specific treatment for the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Treatment remains mainly based on a symptomatic approach, providing supportive therapies (e.g. oxygen therapy, fluid management) to infected people, which can nevertheless be highly effective.

Several clinical trials are underway for the treatment of COVID-19 disease. The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) provides information on its website about the drugs that are made available to COVID-19 patients.

11. Can antibiotics be useful to prevent infection with novel coronavirus?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections.

12. Can high-blood pressure medications with ACE inhibitors or sartans or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen) worsen COVID-19?

There is no scientific evidence of any correlation between the use of ibuprofen or antihypertensive drugs and worsening of the COVID-19 disease. Therefore, on the basis of current knowledge, there is no recommendation to change your current treatment.

13. There are psychological support initiatives for people in this time of stress related to the COVID - 19 pandemic

Since April 27th, the psychological support toll-free number 800.833.833, set up by the Ministry of Health and the Civil Protection, is active.

The number, which is active every day from 8AM to midnight, can also be reached from abroad dialling +39.02.20228733. Access to this service is also guaranteed to hearing impaired citizens.

To learn more, go to the page Psychological Support Free-toll Number on the New Coronavirus themed site of the Ministry of Health.

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