Are you immune to COVID-19 once you get it? Butler health expert weighs in on common questions


Digital generated image of macro view of the corona virus. (Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There are still many unknowns to COVID-19 and a quick internet search might give you inaccurate or conflicting answers. 

That’s why we went directly to an expert to ask more of your most pressing questions.

“We are a data-driven society and we want to make sure we have evidence, but in this case, it’s very challenging,” said Ogbonnaya Omenka, an Assistant Professor in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Butler University. 

It’s challenging for experts and you at home. Omenka answered three questions that we’re hearing frequently in our newsroom. As an expert, he was able to provide some insight. 

Are you immune to coronavirus after you get it once?

“What we know about previous viruses the answer is the classic yes. We anticipate that there will be some sort of immunity from this novel coronavirus and this is why the FDA recently approved an antibody test to help,” said Omenka.

Omenka believes just like the flu, it could come back during seasons and we will need to develop a vaccine. 

How do popular medicines like Tylenol, Advil or Ibuprofen play a role or do they help? 

“Taking Tylenol does not necessarily target any of the root cause. What it does is relieve the symptoms, which in this case high fever,” Omenka said.

The World Health Organization added they have not heard of negative effects due to the use of Ibuprofen.  

Can the virus live on beverages or food as some people are concerned when it comes to carryout? 

“Keeping in mind the emphasis on washing your hands and not touching your nose or face or mouth, for the entry of not just virus but any pathogen from entering your system, so then the nature of the virus doesn’t give it any power on its own, ” said Omenka.

He believes what we can and need to do is prepare.

“When you have proactive measures, as soon as the actual moment comes you are automatically behind the line given that you planned ahead of time,” said Omenka.

As researchers continue to study COVID-19, new information will follow when it comes to our questions. We’ll be sure to keep updating stories as new information comes in.  

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