You wake up with a dry cough or headache. It could be the common cold or allergies, or it could be the coronavirus.
So, what should you do next?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health experts recommend taking the following steps if you’re feeling sick and think you may have COVID-19.
Do an inventory of symptoms: Dry cough is one. Are you also short of breath? Do you have a fever? Normal body temperature is 98.6 Fahrenheit, and anything above 100 degrees is considered a fever. New symptoms recently added by the CDC also include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
Not everyone with COVID-19 will have all symptoms and a fever might not be present.
Stay home: Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and can recover at home with medical care. Monitor your symptoms while getting rest, staying hydrated, and taking over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen.
Separate yourself from other people: As much as possible, stay in a designated room and away from other people and pets in your household. If you need to be around people, wear a mask.
Avoid sharing personal household items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people in your home. Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put them in the dishwasher.
Practice good hygiene: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away used tissues in a lined trash can and immediately wash your hands using soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Call ahead before visiting your doctor: If you’re seeking medical attention, health care providers recommend calling ahead. Most medical consultations are happening remotely through the phone or video conference.
However, you should seek emergency medical attention and call 911 if you experience trouble breathing, persistent chest pain, bluish lips and sudden confusion.
How do I know when I’m not sick anymore?
If you had COVID-19 symptoms, the Virginia Department of Health says you can leave your designated “sick room” after you haven’t had a fever for at least 72 hours without fever-reducing medicine, other symptoms have improved and at least seven days has passed since your symptoms first appeared.
If you tested positive for COVID-19 but were asymptomatic then you can leave your “sick room” after you received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours a part.
The state health department recommends to take extra precautions for at least three more days by keeping at least six feet apart from others and wearing a cloth face covering.