Yes. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is released into the air (it gets airborne) when people sing, cough, speak, shout, and even just breathe in and out. You can get infected when the virus enters your body through your nose or mouth when you breathe in (‘inhale’ the virus-filled aerosol that was exhaled by someone with Covid-19). Remember – most people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms of the disease but can still spread it!

Transmission of the virus almost always occurs indoors. When people with COVID-19 sing, talk, shout, cough, sneeze or exhale, virus-filled ‘respiratory aerosols’ can travel through the air for long distances (for long distances!) – especially indoors and in poorly ventilated environments.

Therefore you should:

  • wear a well-fitting and high-quality mask (see question 13)
  • keep a physical distance of 2 meters
  • encourage people to go outdoors
  • reduce time spent indoors
  • avoid crowds
  • ensure that indoor spaces are well-ventilated (open doors and windows; don’t use air-conditioning)

Another way of possibly transmitting the virus is when heavier droplets (filled with the virus) land on furniture, door handles, and other surfaces. Here the virus can stay alive for up to a few days. When you touch these things and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes, you can infect yourself. You can now further spread the virus by touching other people or surfaces with your contaminated hands.

You must cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and keep a distance from other people (called physical distancing). This is also why you should wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with water and soap or sanitizer with an alcohol content of more than 60%, and clean objects and surfaces regularly

The virus is too small to see with the naked eye.

The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is released into the air (it gets airborne) when people sing, cough, speak, shout, and even just breathe in and out. You can get infected when the virus enters your body through your nose or mouth when you breathe in (‘inhale’ the virus-filled aerosol that was exhaled by someone with Covid-19). Remember – most people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms of the disease but can still spread it.

Transmission of the virus almost always occurs indoors. When people with COVID-19 sing, talk, shout, cough, sneeze or exhale, virus-filled ‘respiratory aerosol’ can travel through the air for long distances– especially indoors and in poorly ventilated environments.

Therefore you should:

  • wear a well-fitting and high-quality mask (see question 13)
  • keep a good physical distance
  • encourage people to go outdoors
  • reduce time spent indoors
  • avoid crowds
  • ensure that indoor spaces are well-ventilated (open doors and windows; don’t use air-conditioning!)

Another way of possibly transmitting the virus is when heavier droplets (filled with the virus) land on furniture, door handles, and other surfaces. Here the virus can stay alive for up to a few days. When you touch these things and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes, you can infect yourself. You can now further spread the virus by touching other people or surfaces with your contaminated hands.

You must cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and keep a distance from other people (called physical distancing). This is also why you should wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with water and soap or sanitizer with an alcohol content of more than 60%, and clean objects and surfaces regularly.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever (temperature >37.8°C), tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, blocked nose, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not like cancer. Like the common cold, it is a disease (infection) caused by a virus. See question number 14 and 22 about vaccines and treatments.

You can protect yourself from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by:

  • wearing a well-fitting and high-quality mask (see question 13)
  • keeping a physical distance of 2 meters
  • encouraging people to go outdoors
  • reducing time spent indoors
  • avoiding crowds
  • ensuring that indoor spaces are well-ventilated (open doors and windows; do not use air-conditioning)
  • getting vaccinated

Yes—it can take up to two weeks for the symptoms to appear. When the virus enters your body, it needs time to grow. You can compare it to a plant: you put the seed in the earth but nothing visible happens straight away. It takes a little bit of time to grow and be visible. The same applies to this virus. It needs time to grow before you have symptoms of being sick. Unfortunately, people can already spread the disease in this period before they even know that they are sick.

  • Wash your hands:
    • Before preparing and eating food
    • After sneezing or coughing
    • After using the toilet
    • And at other times during the day.
  • Try to wash your hands at least ten times per day. Wash with water and soap, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Physical distancing: Keep at least 2 metre distance from others at all times: this also means not shaking hands, hugging or kissing other people
  • Sneeze and cough into a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue away into a waste bin and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue – sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose

And ask/instruct others to do the same.

Make sure you follow the instructions specific for your country. If you live in Qatar and you think you might have the virus, you should call the Ministry of Public Health COVID-19 Hotline: 16000.

If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care immediately

Most countries request that you call first before you go into a medical facility

  • You will then receive the correct instructions and it will allow them to prepare for your arrival
  • This helps to prevent overloading healthcare facilities
  • In Qatar: call the Ministry of Public Health COVID-19 Hotline: 16000

Yes, you can train as normal. A healthy lifestyle will help your body fight infections. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. You must, however, adapt your exercise to comply with the current COVID-19 measures in your country of residence. These measures may include regular testing programs for elite athletes and wearing face masks. Physical distancing and hand hygiene remain important: Keep at least 2 metre distance from others as far as possible. If you suffered from COVID-19 it is best to seek medical advice before resuming your normal training program.

No, you cannot boost your immunity; you can only protect or maintain the immunity you have. A healthy lifestyle will help you achieve this. Healthy eating, exercising and getting enough sleep are all part of a healthy lifestyle. Click on the following links if you want more information on healthy eating and sleep hygiene . It is also important to stay active during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

- Exercises for athletes during self-quarantine: Watch the Video
- COVID-19 nutrition…Support your immune health: Download PDF”

No, eating specific foods or taking supplements will not prevent you from getting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But, healthy eating can protect and maintain your immune system. So, if you are not eating healthily, now might be a good time to start. Read this about a healthy diet.

Yes, you should wear a mask especially indoors when you are close to other people, and there’s an increased risk that you or people close to you might have coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Comply with the current COVID-19 measures in your country/local area. You don’t need to wear gloves.

Wearing a mask should be a normal part of being around other people. Make sure you use, store and clean or dispose of masks properly.

It is important to make sure you wear the right type of mask and that you are wearing it correctly: watch the following video for instructions.

Stay safe by taking some simple precautions when COVID-19 is spreading through your community. These are physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue and getting vaccinated.

Wearing gloves is not recommended.

Basically, a vaccine is to help stop you being infected with the virus. No vaccine is 100%, but if you are fully vaccinated, the research is telling us you will have a much less serious illness.
A treatment is something you have when you have the infection and are trying get rid of it, or lessen the effects of the infection, which in this case is due to the Coronavirus.

Yes, you can get the infection twice. Infection will give you some immunity, but this doesn’t last forever. If you are having symptoms of Coronavirus infection, even if you have had it before, you should get a test. This is also a good reason to continue the social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing we have all got used to.

 

Although the overall risks are low, women who are pregnant are more likely to get severely ill from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) compared to women who are not pregnant.  It is easier to get very sick from respiratory illnesses such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to pregnancy-related body changes, which can continue for a while after pregnancy.
 

Certain factors can further increase the risk:

  • Having underlying medical conditions
  • Being older than 25 years
  • Living or working in a community with high numbers of COVID-19 cases or low levels of COVID-19 vaccination
  • Working in places where social distancing is difficult or not possible
  • Being part of some racial and ethnic minority groups, which have been put at increased risk of getting sick from COVID-19 because of the health inequities they face

 

Effect on Pregnancy Outcomes

Women who have coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during pregnancy are also at increased risk for preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) or stillbirth and might be more likely to have other pregnancy complications compared to women without coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during pregnancy.

If you become severely ill with COVID 19, your sperm may be affected. It is not clear whether this is temporary or not. If you are unsure or concerned about this, you should consult your doctor who will be able to carry out the relevant tests.

 

 

This only applies if you had close contact with an infected person during the period that they can spread the virus, otherwise known as the infectious period.

If you had close contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), you should follow the guidelines of your national government to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Recommendations to get tested, to quarantine and duration of quarantine, will be different from country to country and may depend on your vaccination status, if you had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, and the virus variant. You can read more (Qatar Ministry of Public Health’s website) here.

Close contact

Close contact is defined as being less than 2 metres away from an infected person, for more than 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. This can be three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes. Several factors can influence your risk of exposure to COVID-19, including the proximity and duration of the exposure, ventilation, vaccination status, and mask use. 

Infectious period

The duration of the infectious period for people who tested positive for COVID-19 depends on the variant of the virus. On average, it ranges between 2-3 days before and 8 days after symptom onset. This means, an infected person can spread the virus 2-3 days before they develop any symptoms. People with no symptoms or those who are vaccinated can still spread the coronavirus. However, latest research has shown that vaccinated people are infectious for a shorter period of time.

 

If you had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, during their infectious period, you should follow the recommendations outlined on the Ministry of Public Health website or call 16000.

 

 

COVID-19 measures differ from country to country. In countries where you are allowed to walk, run or cycle outside, you should follow the recommendations for physical distancing by keeping at least 2 metres between you and other people.  

This is because the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads through tiny droplets that form when you cough, sneeze or exhale and these tiny droplets can travel through the air and land on anything within 2 metres.  

That is why keeping a physical distance of at least 2 metres apart is recommended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But this is only true when you are indoors and standing still, or outdoors in calm weather when there is no wind.  

As many cyclists and wheelchair-using athletes will know, if you are moving at speed the air behind you behaves differently and a ‘slipstream’ is formed. If you are immediately behind someone that walks, runs, or cycles, the droplets that form when they cough, sneeze and exhale, get caught in the slipstream and can travel through the air much further than 2 metres. Similarly, if someone is immediately behind you when you cough, the droplets could travel much further behind you than 2 metres. 

That is why we advise that when you are walking, running or cycling near someone else, you should keep a greater distance than the 2 metres for when you are standing near them. We suggest 4-5 metres when walking, 10 metres when running and 20 metres when cycling fast. The slipstream is confined to a narrow space directly behind the runner or cyclist, so the risk can be further reduced by not exercising directly in front or behind someone else.

The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread easily and quickly between people, potentially making a lot of people ill at the same time.

Some people with COVID-19 will need to be admitted to hospital; some will need treatment in an intensive care unit.

If many people get COVID-19 at the same time, the number of people needing care in hospital or in an intensive care unit may become higher than the number of beds available

Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing makes it more difficult for the virus to spread from person to person. This will slow down the number of people getting ill and mean that the peak (maximum) number of people being ill at the same time will be lower.

This allows hospitals to deal better with the amount of sick people and can potentially save many lives. It is likely that many people will still be infected or get sick in the foreseeable future, but this will be spread out more over time, giving hospitals a chance to treat everyone who needs to be treated. This is called “flattening the curve” and is explained in the diagram below.

A government’s decision to impose, reduce or end restrictions, is based on many factors. For instance, how quickly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading, how infectious it is, and how likely it is to make people severely ill. Fortunately, COVID-19 vaccinations are very effective, significantly reducing the chances of severe illness, hospitalization or death. 

However, many people getting severely ill in a short period of time (especially in areas/countries with low vaccination uptake), might overwhelm medical services. To keep healthcare accessible to everyone, governments imposed a lockdown, semi-lockdowns, or a combination of measures to slow and prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible. If this wasn’t done, a sudden increase in severely ill COVID-19 patients could have impacted essential health care. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, several variants of the virus caused waves of infections (in many countries, including Qatar). Some variants spread more quickly and caused people to become more ill (and being hospitalized). Therefore, the imposed measures, if any, may be different for each variant and its unique characteristics.

Measures might only be reduced if the spread of COVID-19 is slow enough to allow hospitals to treat everyone who needs treatment. The virus has an incubation period (the period between catching the virus and showing signs of illness) of up to two weeks. Therefore, governments often waited at least two weeks to see what the effect of their measures was. 
 

There are two main types of treatments for diseases and illnesses:  

  1. Treatments that cure you (for instance, antibiotics for a urinary tract infection, which is caused by bacteria, not viruses)  
  2. Treatments that help manage symptoms (for instance, paracetamol for lowering fever)  

There are currently no treatments to cure COVID-19, but there are treatments to help manage the symptoms.   

If you are mildly ill, your body’s immune system will fight the virus and the infection will go away by itself. The main approach in this instance is to prevent the spread of the infection to others. However, you should ensure you are well-hydrated, take adequate rest and may wish to take paracetamol to lower a high temperature.  

If you are more severely ill, you might need admission to hospital for treatment to help manage the more serious symptoms. This will include making sure you have enough oxygen and fluids in your body. Sometimes this needs to be done by supporting your breathing using a ventilator and giving you fluids in to your veins through a cannula. 

 

The period during which someone who has COVID-19 can spread it to someone else is called the infectious period. Certain COVID-19 variants are more transmissible (spread easier between people) than other variants. Even people with no symptoms can spread the coronavirus.

Latest research suggests that people tend to be most infectious early in the course of their infection. With an average period of infectiousness between 2-3 days before and 8 days after symptom onset.

  • If you have mild-to-moderate symptoms you are probably not infectious anymore 10 days after the onset of symptoms; as long as your symptoms are improving, and your fever has resolved.
  • If you have more severe symptoms or a weakened immune system you are likely to remain infectious for longer, around 20 days after symptoms onset.
  • If you have no symptoms you can still spread the coronavirus to others, but it is safe to suggest that you are no longer infectious after 10 days of a positive test.


I am vaccinated – Am I still infectious?

If you are vaccinated and tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), you can still transmit the infection to others. But research has shown that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus than unvaccinated people. That’s because the concentration of the virus declines faster in people who are vaccinated, which means they are infectious for shorter periods of time. While these results are promising, more studies are needed to fully understand virus transmission related to the different variants among people who are up to date with their vaccines.

Regardless of your vaccination status, if you test positive for COVID-19, continue to follow the latest guidelines by the national health authorities.

Receiving all recommended vaccination and booster doses, mask use, physical distancing, testing, and improved ventilation continue to be key in decreasing transmission and preventing infection.

 

Your ability to return to normal training and competition depends on your type of sport and the level and type of activity you have been able to maintain while you could not train normally.  

If you have been able to maintain the intensity and frequency of your training but only lost volume, you may proceed with normal training and build up to what you and your coach would consider match or competition fitness.

If you are competing in a highly technical sport (such as gymnastics, diving etc.), you have probably not been able to train your typical skills. So, if you are returning to training and competition in a highly technical sport, it is important to start with training your advanced motor skills (the typical skills you need for your sport).  

If your recent training has lacked intensity, frequency and volume, your cardiovascular fitness strength and skill levels have probably declined and it will take you longer to build back to normal training. A gradual return to training over several weeks is necessary to enhance performance and prevent injury.

You should communicate closely with your coach throughout this period of uncertainty, especially because even athletes within the same sport will have individual variations in their fitness and training requirements. Your coach should be able to provide both sport-specific and general fitness advice to help you return as strong as possible and as safely as possible. 

The average recovery time after COVID-19 infection is two weeks for mild cases and three to six weeks for severe illness. The safe and ideal time for athletes to return to optimum sport performance after recovery from COVID-19, varies among athletes (just as it does among non-athletes). It depends on age, activity goals, the severity of COVID-19 infection and any other underlying medical conditions.

Most athletes will be able to return to their optimum sport performance within a few weeks after they have recovered. If you are otherwise healthy and experienced only mild COVID-19 symptoms, you could resume light exercise after you have been symptom free for 3-5 days. It is important that you only start exercising again when all symptoms, especially fever, are gone. Loss of taste or smell may persist beyond 10 days, but this is not considered a major symptom inhibiting sports activities. It is important to gradually increase your exercise load over 7 days. It is best to first increase training frequency, then duration and finally intensity. If you experienced more severe illness, or suffer from other underlying medical conditions, it is advised to get medical advice before you resume sports trainin


“Long COVID”

For a small group of people symptoms might last longer. These symptoms can be the result of “Long COVID”.
Long COVID is a range of symptoms that can last weeks or months after first contracting COVID-19 and is not related to the seriousness of the infection. We do not yet fully understand why some people develop Long COVID while others don’t, and if or, when people will recover from it. The symptoms include:  

  • Tiredness or fatigue 
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating  
  • Headache 
  • Loss of smell or taste 
  • Dizziness on standing 
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations) 
  • Chest pain 
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath 
  • Cough 
  • Joint or muscle pain 
  • Depression and/or anxiety 
  • Fever 
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities 

If you are experiencing long term symptoms after recovering from COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider to discuss assessments and treatment options. 
 

We do not yet know the long-term effects of COVID-19 on people who become infected. 

Most people become mildly ill and are likely to recover fully within a few weeks.

However, the outlook is much less certain for the small group of people who become more severely ill and develop complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS occurs when your lungs become damaged due to fluid leaking into the lungs, which stops you from breathing normally. To help their lungs recover, the breathing of someone with ARDS might be supported using a mechanical ventilator in an intensive care unit.  

We know from other diseases that recovering from the lung damage caused by ARDS takes a long time and sometimes people will not recover fully. This means that they will have long-term difficulties with breathing. 

On a positive note, athletes are generally young and healthy, so they have a lower risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19.   

Ibuprofen is useful in bringing down a high temperature and help the muscle aches that can occur with COVID-19 infection, and can be used safely. It does not put you at any greater risk of infection or more serious infection. Of course, any medication can have side effects, and you should check with your pharmacist if you have any doubts whether you might possibly get any of these.

You cannot tell the difference between a headache caused by COVID-19 and a headache due to many other causes. If you have COVID-19 you will likely experience other symptoms as well: fever, dry cough, tiredness, body aches, shortness of breath, sore throat, diarrhea, runny or blocked nose and a new loss of taste or smell. On the other hand, there are many different causes of headache and you should seek medical advice if you experience a headache that is unusual for you, especially one that might be severe or persistent. 

If you think you might have COVID-19, contact 16000 in Qatar. 

In convalescent plasma therapy, blood plasma is donated by someone who has recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and transferred to a patient battling the virus with the hope the donor’s antibodies help fight the infection. 

For non-severe COVID-19 patients, the World Health Organization does not recommend convalescent plasma therapy use. While the therapy has significant costs, there is no benefit in patients with mild symptoms. The treatment also faces practical challenges, such as finding donors as well as collecting, storing, and transporting the plasma.

While convalescent plasma has no benefit in patients with mild symptoms, it was less clear for severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients. For these subgroups, the therapy is still being used, but only in clinical trials.

In future pandemics, before a definitive treatment is found, there might still be a place for convalescent plasma therapy. As new coronavirus variants arise and become resistant to available vaccines or antibodies, we may need to turn back to convalescent plasma until other treatments become available. Patients with an immune system disorder, who cannot produce sufficient antibodies on their own, might also benefit from convalescent plasma therapy.

At present, it is considered unlikely that pets can spread COVID-19 virus to people and no cases of pet-to-owner transmission have been recorded to date. We know certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair of animals, but this is not the case with viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

The virus that causes coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), appears to spread from people to animals, during close contact. Several animals worldwide have been infected with coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), including pets like cats and dogs, farmed mink, and large cats, gorillas, and otters. More research is needed to understand how different animals are affected by the virus.

If you become sick with COVID-19, it’s best to restrict contact with your pets, just like you would around other people. If you must care for your pet while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with your pet and wear a face mask. Do not put masks on pets or wipe / bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen, or other products such as hand sanitizers, as they may harm the animal.

The risk of getting infected with COVID-19 through surface transmission is low. The most common way to get infected is through aerosol transmission (see questions 1 and 2). You can clean surfaces by using soap and detergent. Disinfection is only necessary when there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours.

As a general rule the virus that causes Covid 19 is able to survive longer on non-porous surfaces than porous surfaces.

Surface

Estimated survival time

Paper

3 hours

Copper

4 hours

Cardboard

24 hours

Plastic

3 days

Stainless steel    

3 days

 

One important aspect to be aware of is that it can be dangerous if any person contracts COVID-19 during the time that they are having surgery or shortly after surgery. This can increase the risk of dying from COVID-19 by tenfold. It is therefore understandable that elective surgeries are being placed on hold until it is safer to do them.

There are two types of surgeries: emergency surgeries and elective surgeries. Elective surgeries are planned and normally not urgent. Because the hospitals in most countries are very busy dealing with patients affected by COVID-19, elective surgeries have been postponed. Emergency surgeries can still take place.

Elective surgeries can take place again when there has been at least a two-week decrease of registered COVID-19 cases, and this is different for each country or region. Several countries have reached or will soon reach this condition, but other factors, such as patient and staff safety, staffing levels and resource availability, are also considered by individual hospitals before resuming elective surgeries.

Elective surgeries will most probably be done in hospitals and clinics that do not treat COVID-19 patients. You must be free of COVID-19 symptoms to be able to undergo surgery and your stay after the surgery will be as short as possible to minimize the risk of getting COVID-19 while in hospital.

You might be concerned that paralympic athletes are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. However, all paralympic athletes are different and your individual risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 depends on your personal disability and health situation. People with an immune system that is not working well or chronic conditions like lung disease, heart conditions, severe obesity, diabetes, liver and/or kidney disease are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

There are no studies on the effect of COVID-19 on paralympic athletes, and no evidence that paralympic athletes have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 compared to the general population.

All athletes should follow their national medical guidelines and that of the World Health Organisation on prevention, and immediately report to local medical authorities in case they develop COVID-19 symptoms.

There is no evidence that the virus causing COVID-19 can spread through the water in pools. Also, if swimming pool water is adequately disinfected with chlorine or bromine, the virus will be inactivated.

It is important that all visitors and staff follow the general rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19 recommended by their local authorities.

Individuals should keep a physical distance of at least 2 metres and wear face masks when out of the water. Staff should apply best practice to clean and disinfect the venue.

Coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) spreads through tiny droplets and aerosol that form when you talk, cough, sneeze and exhale, even if you don’t have symptoms. A mask protects you to some extent (depending on the type of mask) from inhaling virus-filled air (aerosols and droplets) from others who may be ill. Masks also protect others when you may carry the virus without knowing it and exhale virus-filled air when exercising.

During exercise you exhale with more force and so the droplets can spread further with the distance depending on the environment (especially wind or ventilation). We therefore recommend you wear a face mask (e.g., cloth mask or a bandana) when you exercise with other people or when you exercise indoors. Although cloth face masks don’t filter tiny viral particles as well as surgical masks, they are good at filtering the droplets from your mouth and nose that might contain the virus. 

Healthcare workers use surgical or respirator masks depending on their working environment. For exercise, cloth masks are excellent, more comfortable and affordable, and better for the environment; you can wash and re-use them. Cloth masks with a finer texture, more layers and a better fit will protect you even better. There is currently no evidence that wearing a cloth mask during exercise is safe or unsafe for people with respiratory (breathing) or cardiac (heart) problems.

When you are exercising with a face mask, continue to adhere to measures of physical distancing (see also question 19 on physical distancing during workouts) and adequate hand hygiene. Find an open space where you can exercise alone but wear your mask or bandana until you reach this open space.

You do not need a mask if/when you are:

  • an elite athlete who is training and competing in a “performance bubble”: the performance bubble is a controlled environment in which athletes minimize their contact with the outside world and are regularly tested for COVID-19  
  • exercising in open air away from everyone (if you will not encounter other people within 3 to 10 meters of yourself)
  • swimming (See question 34 on swimming pools)

Also see question 13 on how to wear and remove a mask.

You might develop pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you got the vaccine.

In general, you can experience tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. These are some of the common side effects associated with COVID-19 vaccines. However, these side effects are much less serious than COVID-19 symptoms or complications associated with COVID-19. It is normal to experience side effects after the vaccine because your body is trying to build immunity from the disease. These side effects normally last for a day or two only. Contact your healthcare provider if redness or tenderness increases after 24 hours or if other side effects do not go away after a few days. If you have pain where you got the vaccine, apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the injection area or exercise your arm. If you have fever, drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly.

There is limited but growing evidence that it is safe for pregnant women to have the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe illness (see question 16). Having the vaccine will protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.

When deciding if you want to take the vaccine you should consider:

  • Your risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • Your individual risk of severe illness

If you want to discuss taking the vaccine while pregnant, contact your healthcare provider.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is when the heart suddenly stops pumping, you stop breathing and lose consciousness. Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is death due to a cardiovascular cause that occurs within one hour of the onset of symptom.

SCD may be caused by a wide variety of heart conditions. In 15% of the cases the cause is a myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that is most commonly caused by viral infections such as flu, gastroenteritis (infection of the digestive system) or COVID-19.

FIFA keeps track of all sudden cardiac arrests and deaths during football. And they did not see an increase in cases since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no evidence that COVID-19 infection increases the risk of sudden cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death in athletes, but there is evidence that COVID-19 may cause inflammation of the heart.

To reduce the risk of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), do not exercise when you have an infection. It is important that you only start exercising again when the symptoms, and especially the fever, are gone and you are symptoms free for at least three days before starting light activity and progress to more intense training during the course of the next week.

If you experience chest pain, palpitations, severe shortness of breath, or dizziness or have an episode of loss of consciousness after returning to sport from a viral infection stop exercising and discuss your symptoms with your doctor for evaluation.

 

Please also refer to question 38.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is when the heart suddenly stops pumping, you stop breathing and lose consciousness. Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is death due to a cardiovascular cause that occurs within one hour of the onset of symptom.

Although SCD is caused by many different heart conditions, 15% of cases is caused by myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that is most commonly caused by viral infections such as flu, gastroenteritis (infection of the digestive system) or COVID-19. Myocarditis is also a very rare side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • If you don’t experience side effects after the vaccine, you can continue exercising as usual.
  • If you do experience side effects do not exercise until you are symptom free for at least 3 days.
  • If you experience chest pain, palpitations, severe shortness of breath, dizziness, or lose consciousness after returning to sport from COVID 19, stop exercising and see your doctor.

FIFA keeps track of all sudden cardiac arrests and deaths during football. And they did not see an increase in cases since the start of the COVID-19 vaccination programmes. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines increase the risk of SCA or SCD in athletes.

Myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, can be caused by viral infections such as flu, gastroenteritis (infection of the digestive system) or COVID-19. Most people don’t have any symptoms, or the symptoms are very mild and unspecific, like feeling tired. The risk of getting myocarditis is low but increases when you exercise while having a viral infection, especially if you have a fever.

To reduce the risk of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), do not exercise when you have an infection. It is important that you only start exercising again when the symptoms, and especially the fever, is gone.

See a doctor before you start training if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is pounding or racing)
  • Intense dizziness
  • Unexplained shortness of breath

If you had a mild COVID-19 infection and don’t have any of the symptoms above, you can resume light exercise again after you have been symptom free for 3 days. It is important to gradually increase your exercise load in 7 days.

Please also refer to question 39.

If you don’t experience side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, you can continue exercising as usual; If you do experience side effects, do not exercise until you are symptom free for at least 3 days.

If you experience chest pain, palpitations (the sensation of a racing or pounding heart), severe shortness of breath, or dizziness or have an episode of loss of consciousness after resuming sports stop exercising and discuss your symptoms with your doctor for evaluation.