If you have a cough and fever, you may be worried about having the coronavirus disease. What should you do if you think you have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)? Let us understand this in detail.
The outbreak of coronavirus disease has resulted in numerous cases worldwide and resulted in many deaths too. COVID-19 is caused due to a novel virus, which can transmit from person to person through droplet spread. If you have come across a person infected with COVID-19, you are at greater risk of getting the infection. It may take around 1 to 14 days before the symptoms begin to appear. If you note any symptoms of COVID-19, you must take the necessary steps.
What Should You Do If You Think You Have The Coronavirus Disease?
The main symptoms of COVID-19 include cough and fever, while breathing difficulty, if present, is a warning sign. Knowing what should you do if you think you have the coronavirus disease can help you protect your health and prevent the infection from spreading further.
Most people have mild illness and can recover at home. If you feel you are exposed to COVID-19, call your healthcare provider immediately for medical help.1 Keep a track of your symptoms. Mild symptoms like cough and fever can be managed with medical advice, however, if you experience difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical assistance.
Here are some important steps you need to take if you feel you have the coronavirus disease.
Stay Home Except To Get Medical Care
In most mild cases, people recover at home without any special medical assistance. Make sure you remain at home and do not go out except to get medical care. Talk to your medical caregiver and discuss your complaints. Make sure you have medical aid at hand, in case any warning signs or breathing difficulty develops. Avoid visiting public places, public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis to present the spread of infection.
COVID-19 infection can spread among those in close contact with an infected person. Hence, stay away from other family members. If possible, stay in a separate room or a sick room in your home and use a separate bathroom. This is important to protect your family members from getting infected if you think you have the coronavirus disease.
Assess Your Risk
If you think you have the coronavirus disease, you can speak to your healthcare provider or local health department. Answer questions to assess your risk of having COVID-19.2 The questions generally include information about:
- Your travel history to other countries or those areas affected with COVID-19.
- Your exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, being their close contact or with them for a long period of being exposed to their cough or sneeze.
- Your present complaints like cough, fever, sore throat, muscle ache or shortness of breath.
- Your potential exposure to COVID-19, as stated by a public health officer.
Monitor Your Symptoms
Keep a watch on your symptoms. Cough and fever are common symptoms. However, if you notice any breathing difficulty, it may be a serious problem, for which you need immediate medical attention. Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider or local health department. According to the given instructions, continue checking your symptoms and report to the local health authorities, as appropriate.
Know The Warning Signs
Know the warning signs to take the right action, if you think you have the coronavirus disease. Some of the warning signs of COVID-191 that demand immediate medical attention include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
In case of such symptoms, consult your medical provider or call 911 for a medical emergency. Inform about your symptoms to them and if possible, wear a mask before the help arrives.1
Get Medical Aid
Prefer telephonic conversation for medical consultation that is not urgent. If you are visiting your doctor, for any other complaints, discuss your symptoms first. Keep them informed that you think you have the coronavirus disease. This will help them prepare accordingly and prevent the spread of infection among doctors, medical staff and other patients.1
If you visit a designated medical care facility for evaluation and treatment, make sure you go alone, unless you need assistance. Seek help from the emergency department, if you have warning signs.2
Follow Hygiene Safety and Precautions If You Think You Have The Coronavirus Disease
Preventive measures have always proved to help prevent diseases. Coronavirus disease spreads rapidly among close contacts when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Hence there are certain guidelines to be followed by everyone to stay safe and to prevent the spread of infection.
If you think you have the coronavirus disease, one of the most important things to do is maintain hygiene. Social distancing is also one of the measures advised to control the spread of COVID-19 infection. You must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people, while more distancing may be better. This will help people around you.
For some of the hygiene and preventive measures, you must take the following measures:
- If you are sick, wear a mask or a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth, when going out. Also, use a mask when particularly you are interacting with other people, animals or pets events at home.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. If you use a tissue, throw it away immediately. Clean your hands thoroughly.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol sanitizer containing 60% alcohol. Wash your hands after sneezing, coughing, after using the bathroom or before preparing food or touching other surfaces.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes with unwashed hands. Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, glasses, towels or bedding with other people at home.
- Clean and disinfect all ‘high touch’ surfaces like doorknobs, cabinet handles, desks, counters and tabletops, bathroom items, laptops, remotes, keyboards with a disinfectant. If washable areas or items are dirty, clean them with soap and water first and then use a disinfectant. Make sure you clean and disinfect all the areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.1
These handwashing and personal hygiene practices can be greatly beneficial in controlling the spread of infection. It protects your family members from getting infected and maintain good health.
The thought of having COVID-19 is scary, but medical providers are constantly working to provide their best support. Being aware of what you should do if you think you have the coronavirus disease, keeps you in a better position to face the situation. Stay calm, take all the necessary prevention measures and support the mission of controlling the spread of COVID-19 infection.
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