Facts, not Fear: Your coronavirus questions answered

A shopper puts on gloves before entering a Stop & Shop supermarket during hours open daily only for seniors Thursday, March 19, 2020, in North Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Our viewers are asking new questions about how the COVID-19 disease is spread and what it means for those being called back to jobs when they still have lingering health issues.

We're committed to getting you answers, because we want you to have facts, not fear.

Q: Joanne from Carmel wanted to know if pneumonia vaccines taken before the outbreak will help with the breathing issues associated with coronavirus, especially in those over the age of 60?
A: According to health experts, there are two types of pneumonia shots - Prevar 13 and Pneumovax 23. The vaccines are generally prescribed for seniors and those ages 19-64 with chronic respiratory issues or weakened immune systems. While the World Health Organization says these vaccines are not effective against COVID-19, experts do recommend vaccinations against respiratory illnesses to protect your overall health. And these vaccines are offered year around.

Q: A couple of essential workers who are being asked to return to the job want to know if they can file for short term disability if they've taken a COVID-19 test and their results have not come back. We asked a local law firm to provide some guidance.
A: Sandra Blevins, of Betz and Blevins said, "Short Term Disability is governed primarily by policies of the employer and policies the employer already has in place. The employer may be self-insured, or they may be insured by an actual insurance policy, in which case, the definitions under those policies would cover short-term disability. But there is this a new action that's been passed by Congress that is allowing for emergency leave, but it's not effective until April 1, 2020" added Blevins. She recommends anyone in need of an emergency option before April 1 check out the Family Leave Act. Betz and Blevins will also take phone inquiries from individuals who are facing more complex situations.

Q: With all the constant hand washing many are getting dry and cracked skin. The question is, can cuts and cracks create exposure to coronavirus?
A: Dr. Sonya Campbell Johnson, a board certified dermatologist in Indianapolis, said we don't have to worry about contracting the coronavirus through a small cut or scrape. "The virus is larger than the pores, so you do not have a point of entry even when you do have a crack, but you do want to keep your hands protected. By that, we're recommending people wash their hands all the time because the virus, once it's on the skin, it can transport that if they touch their mouth or their eyes or their nose. That's a point of entry in those areas," explained the doctor. Dr. Campbell Johnson recommends the use of a moisturizing lotion particularly one with the additive called Ceremides. She says it's relatively new and is often advertised right on the label. She says by avoiding products with a lot of acid, you can avoid dry and cracked skin.