What to Expect and When to Call
Most people with COVID-19 experience symptoms that are not too severe. You should start to improve over the next several days, but monitor yourself and reach out to us should you develop:
- Shortness of breath
- A fast heart rate
- Ongoing or persistent chest or abdominal pain
- Persistent high fevers
- Trouble eating and drinking
Medications to Treat Symptoms
If your cough is severe, call your PCP to discuss possible treatment options. You may feel better if pain and fever are controlled with Acetaminophen (Tylenol). You may take Ibuprofen (Motrin) or Naproxen (Aleve) if you cannot take Acetaminophen. If you use an inhaler, reach out to your PCP to see if you need to use it more regularly.
Isolation: How-To and Timeline
Based on the most recent science that suggests that the majority of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurs soon after infection, the CDC revised guidance regarding isolation which is, regardless of vaccination status, no less than 5 days of isolation plus 5 more days of wearing a well-fitted mask around others, both at home and in public. It is important to recognize that, while the greatest risk of transmission occurs in the first few days after infection, there is some residual risk of transmission after 5 days of infection.
The CDC has furthered expanded how and when it is safe to end isolation based on your symptoms, when it is safe to travel and what to do if you are asymptomatic and develop symptoms.
How to Avoid Spreading COVID-19 to Others
It is thought the virus spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets, so it is important to practice social distancing, wear a facemask whenever possible and wash your hands often.
- Stay home except to get medical care. Don't go to work, school, public areas or use public transportation, ride shares, or taxis.
- Separate yourself from other people in your home. When possible, stay in a different room from other people. If you, or someone you live with, is pregnant, on medications that weaken the immune system, or has cancer be sure to bring it to your care team's attention. If available, use a separate bathroom. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water
- If you need to visit your healthcare provider while in isolation, call ahead. Before any medical appointments, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have COVID-19 so they can take steps to keep other people from getting infected or explore alternative care options such as a virtual visit
- Wear a facemask. If possible, wear a facemask when in a room with other people and when you visit a healthcare provider. If you cannot wear one, others should do so or not stay in the same room with you.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can
- Wash your hands. Especially after you cough and sneeze – but also frequently throughout the day – wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Measures That You as a Caretaker or Cohabitant Can Take at Home
- Stay at home and follow the CDC guidelines for quarantine based on your vaccination status.
- Use a separate bedroom and bathroom if possible.
- Do not have visitors in the home.
- Do your best to stay at least 6 feet away from other people in the house.
- Put on a mask and ask the sick person to put on a mask before entering the room.
- Wear gloves when you touch or have contact with the sick person's blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, mucus, vomit, and urine. Throw out gloves into a lined trash can and wash your hands right away.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Do not share eating or drinking utensils with anybody.
- Monitor your health every day:
- Be alert for any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath.
- Do health checks including taking your temperature every morning and every night or anytime you feel like you might have a fever.
- If you need to seek medical care, call to inform your doctor that you are under quarantine, and do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares to get to your appointment.
COVID-19 Vaccine Consideration After Infection
If you are not currently vaccinated, we highly recommend you consider getting vaccine after your period of isolation is over. There is likely some degree of protection from getting COVID-19 again, but it is not yet known how strong or long-lasting that protection may be. Getting COVID-19 again is rare in the 90 days following the first infection, so people who had COVID-19 may choose to wait until the end of this 90-day period.