PDDH Offers Advice On What To Do If You Have COVID-19 Symptoms
PDDH: Here’s What To Do If You Have Symptoms of COVID-19
We have all been doing our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by social distancing, paying close attention to our hand hygiene, and disinfecting surfaces. Unfortunately, there is community transmission of COVID-19 in CT and within our local communities and testing is still a bit challenging in CT. There are now many testing sites; they all require you to have a doctor’s order for the test. You must meet the current testing criteria, which can change frequently, in order to get tested.
Since it’s so important to stay home if you have COVID-19, you need to know the symptoms, especially if you cannot get tested. The most common symptoms are fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, and shortness of breath. Some less common symptoms can include: sore throat, headache, nasal congestion, runny nose, cough with sputum or blood-stained sputum, diarrhea, and nausea. There are also reports of people losing their sense of smell or taste associated with COVID-19. Please note that all of these can be symptoms of other illnesses as well as COVID-19. If you have these symptoms and cannot get tested, assume you have COVID-19 and stay home except to get medical care.
If you are at higher risk for severe illness (over 60; with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease; a weakened immune system; are pregnant) and you have these symptoms, call your healthcare provider for advice.
If you are mildly ill with COVID-19 you can isolate at home during your illness, you may not need medical care. If you are mildly ill, and have questions about your symptoms, consider calling one of the many hospital hotlines or a telehealth option offered by many health insurance plans.
Monitor your symptoms carefully. Symptoms may get much worse in the second week of illness. Seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms worsen. Call 911 if you are having difficulty breathing, let them know you have symptoms of COVID-19. Call your doctor before going to their office. They will instruct you on what you should do to minimize spread once you arrive at their office; they may have a designated area to screen patients. Wear a facemask, if you have one.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, members of your household and other close contacts should self-quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with you while you were symptomatic. They should be monitoring for symptoms.
While you are symptomatic, isolate yourself from other household members. Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom if possible. Wear a mask if you are around other people. Cover your cough. Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. Use paper towels to dry your hands, not a common towel. Don’t share personal household items. Frequently disinfect the high-touch surfaces of your isolation room and have another household member disinfect the high-touch surfaces in other parts of the house. If someone else has to clean and disinfect your room, it should be on as as-needed basis while wearing a mask and gloves.
Once you are feeling better, there are guidelines for when you can stop home isolation. In order to stop isolation, you must be free of fever for a full 72 hours without fever-reducing medication, and your other symptoms must have improved, and at least 7 days must have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
As always, we all need to continue to stay safe, stay home. Practice strict social distancing and excellent personal hygiene to protect yourself and others.
For more details about COVID-19, how to care for an ill person, and how to disinfect your home, please visit www.pddh.org.