Coronavirus basics: What to do if you think you’re infected
Know the symptoms
The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are a fever, a dry cough, and difficulty breathing, though some patients also experience diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Do not assume you are virus-free and noncontagious if you haven’t yet shown symptoms, but for now, seek testing only if you are symptomatic or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Seek medical attention immediately if your symptoms include persistent chest pain, confusion, or a bluish face or lips.
Call your doctor
If you have a fever, dry cough, or other worrisome symptoms, your doctor can determine whether you should be tested. Test kits are currently hard to come by in many areas, but you can expect a test in which a swab is inserted in one nostril, with results after a wait of a few days. If you are told to visit a doctor’s office or ER, call ahead so that staff can take precautions, and wear a kerchief or respiratory mask to contain your cough. Don’t bother with masks if you’re not sick, because there’s a nationwide shortage and health-care workers need them.
Most people who contract the virus will recover without intervention, so if you’re not considered high-risk and don’t require urgent medical attention, stay home and self-isolate for at least two weeks, avoiding even the people you live with. Stay in your own bedroom, and ideally, use your own bathroom. Wash your hands often, only grab food when no one else is in the kitchen, and disinfect any surfaces you touch. Drink lots of water, sleep as much as possible, run a humidifier, and manage symptoms with over-the-counter cough suppressants and fever reducers such as Tylenol. Your doctor can tell you when you’re no longer contagious. Sources: CDC.gov and Vox.com