If you test positive for COVID-19, there are several steps you can take to keep yourself and the ones close to you safe. The majority of people who come down with COVID have mild to moderate symptoms – fever, chills, cough, and other symptoms similar to a bad cold or the flu and recover in a couple of weeks. Those with more serious cases may take several weeks to recover.
Follow these steps if you test positive for COVID-19:
- Call your primary care physician as soon as possible. Your physician can help you monitor symptoms and can order special treatments if you are eligible. If you do not have a primary care physician, call one of the following:
- Stay home except to get medical care. Most people can recover at home without medical care; at the same time, you don’t want to delay seeing a doctor if you feel really sick or are running a high fever. If you are sick, be sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. Over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help with the fever and muscle aches.
- Stay away from other people. If you can, stay in a room away from the rest of your family and use a separate bathroom. If you must be around other people or animals in or outside of your home, be sure to wear a mask.
- Tell your close contacts they may have been exposed. You could start infecting people as much as 48 hours (2 days) before you feel any symptoms. You can help protect your loved ones by letting them know as soon as possible they may have been exposed.
- Monitor your symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough or other symptoms similar to the respiratory flu. If you have a pulse oximeter, use it to monitor your oxygen level. This is a device, available in many drug stores, that clips onto your finger to measure your blood oxygen level. If your oxygen drops below 94, call your doctor. If you experience severe symptoms — such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face — call 911 immediately and let the operator know you have or may have COVID.
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Visit cdc.gov for more advice about steps you can take to keep those around you safe.