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Coronavirus Guidance and FAQ

COVID-19 Resources

Stay healthy and safe

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation has been closely monitoring the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and its spread throughout the United States.  The number of patients affected by COVID-19 is increasing and our understanding of the effects of the virus is expanding.

Based on experiences throughout the world and more recently in the U.S., people who have chronic medical issues may be at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, including those with pulmonary fibrosis.  Public health officials recommend patients in the higher risk category should reduce the risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

COVID-19 results from an infection by a respiratory virus (coronavirus) that can lead to inflammation and injury within the lungs. In some people, this can progress to a serious illness. However, most people infected with the virus will not become gravely ill.

The CDC, National Institutes of Health and other infectious disease researchers are currently working together to study how the virus is transmitted and to develop a vaccine to treat those infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

How is COVID-19 spread?
The virus is thought to spread primarily from droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes within six feet of other people. Also, it may be spread when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches the eyes, nose or mouth.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms, which are not specific for COVID-19, appear to occur within 14 days of exposure and should be communicated to your physician include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Worsening cough
  • Increased shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What should I do if I think I have been infected with COVID-19?

If you get sick, stay home and call your pulmonologist. If he/she is not available, contact your primary care physician. Let your doctor know about your symptoms and that you may have COVID-19. Get medical attention immediately if you have:

  • More difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Increased oxygen requirement

What steps can I take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

To complement the safe practices outlined below, two vaccines have been approved for Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA and other regulatory agencies across the world.1,2 Achieving this in less than one year was an extraordinary effort that built on groundbreaking scientific work from the prior ten years. This allowed the efficient and rigorous conduct of clinical trials, in which these vaccines were demonstrated to be safe and over 94% effective in preventing COVID-19 illness.3 Combined with safe practices, vaccination with either of these vaccines will provide a pathway for a safe return to a more normal life over the coming months. For more detailed information, please read the PFF’s recent statement on The Importance of SARS-CO-V-2 Vaccination to Prevent COVID-19 and its Impact in the Pulmonary Fibrosis Community.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available. Please see the CDC’s Handwashing Information for more information.
  • Avoid contact with people outside your household, distancing yourself by at least six feet.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wear a cloth face mask whenever you are in a public place when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (grocery stores, pharmacy, etc.).
  • Avoid non-essential travel.
Contact your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms or think you have been exposed.

I am a lung transplant recipient. How can I protect myself from infection?

Lung transplant recipients should use an abundance of caution. Stay near your home and with those you live until the outbreak subsides. If you take a walk around the block, be sure to practice social distancing (distance yourself from other people by six feet). Ask family members or neighbors for help with getting groceries and essentials. Follow the advice of your transplant team with regard to the use of a face mask. The CDC now recommends that everyone wear a cloth face mask in public.

I am on the lung transplant waiting list. What should I do?

Patients on the waiting list for a lung transplant should maintain contact with their transplant center. According to the American Society of Transplantation, the risk of acquiring COVID-19 from an organ donor is low. However, transplant surgery may be delayed due to the threat of exposure in the hospital and the current strain on medical personnel and resources.

For more information about the COVID-19 coronavirus and considerations for those living with pulmonary fibrosis, please see our Guidance Statement in English or Spanish.

Below are resources available for pulmonary fibrosis patients, caregivers, and loved ones. If you have any questions, please call our Patient Communication Center at 844.TalkPFF or


Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
The Importance of SARS-CO-V-2 Vaccination to Prevent COVID-19 and Its impact in the Pulmonary Fibrosis Community (December 28, 2020)
COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Information and Resources (December 11, 2020)
Frequently Asked Questions from PF Patients | English | Spanish (December 11, 2020)
PFF Guidance on COVID-19 | English | Spanish (October 27, 2020)
In-Person Testing and Signature Requirements Waived for Home Oxygen Needs (April 2, 2020)
PFF Statement on Lung Fibrosis in COVID19 ARDS Survivors (April 4, 2020)
Webinar: PFF Response to COVID-19: The Current Landscape (July 29, 2020)
Webinar: PFF Respuesta a COVID-19 (June 10, 2020)
Webinar: PFF Response to COVID-19: Continuing the Conversation (April 15, 2020)
Webinar: PFF Response to COVID-19: Adjusting to a "New Normal" (May 27, 2020)
Webinar: PFF Response to COVID-19 Disease Education Series (April 1, 2020)

American Society of Transplantation
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Frequently Asked Questions From Transplant Candidates and Recipients

American Thoracic Society
COVID-19 Infection versus Influenza (Flu) and Other Respiratory Illnesses
Socializing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Brown Alpert Medical School Center for Digital Health
*Be sure to click "Learn More & Lower Risk" once you've entered all information about the activity in question and received the results of your risk overview!

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
What you need to know | English | Spanish | Simplified Chinese
What to do if you are sick | English | Spanish | Simplified Chinese
If You Are At Higher Risk
Travel in the United States
Protect Yourself


Infectious Disease Society of America
What the Experts Say About COVID-19 Risks

International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy

Statement on Unproven Stem Cell Treatments for COVID-19

Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
COVID-19 Translation Resources

Mental Health Resources
CDC: Manage Anxiety and Stress
Greater Good In Action Wellness Practices
Mental Health America Self-Screening Tools
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) COVID-19 Information and Resources
NAMI COVID-19 Resource Guide 

National Institutes of Health

World Health Organization


1 Administration, U. S. F. D. A. Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, <> (2020).

2 Administration, U. S. F. D. A. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, <> (2020).

3 Polack, F. P. et al. Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine. The New England journal of medicine,doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2034577 (2020).


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