Have you received notification that you tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19? There is no reason to panic. Most individuals who are not at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness typically experience a flu-like episode and fully recover.
If you are older than 65 and/or you are immunocompromised or have an underlying chronic health condition, you have a higher risk of developing more severe COVID-19 illness. Follow the same practices as everyone else, closely monitor your symptoms, and seek medical care if your symptoms worsen.
As a courtesy and as an important step in controlling the pandemic, try to notify the people with whom you have been in contact over the past 7 to 10 days.
The same type of home care you would use for cold or flu symptoms also works for most patients infected by SARS-CoV-2. [For pain relief and fever reduction with coronavirus, there are some reports to avoid ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and use acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead, but there is no scientific evidence to support the claim.]
But, severe COVID-19 illness extends beyond cough, fever and congestion. Immediately notify your healthcare provider for any of the following symptoms:
Start a journal to record your temperature readings. Measure your temperature more frequently if fever occurs. Note the dates when symptoms emerge, their severity, and their resolution. This is powerful information to share with your healthcare team as they track your progress or in case complications ensue. You can expect to remain in isolation until any fever has resolved for three days with steady improvement in your other symptoms.
Give yourself the time and space to completely recover, which takes a few days to a week in most cases of COVID-19. Reach out to friends and family and other support groups.