What to do next if you think you have the coronavirus? Since the virus is spreading like wildfire, you always think about your next move. With several countries suffering from community spread, all of us are trying to keep ourselves safe from the contagious disease. But, you always have confusion regarding how to proceed or what steps to follow when you observe the signs. Are you unsure about who to call first? With the limited number of kits, you need to understand that the health department suggests testing only for severe cases. So, only people who have come in direct contact with COVID-19 patients or people suffering from severe signs get the top priority while testing. COVID-19 is caused by a new strain. So, it is a fairly new disease with limited information. Read ahead to know more about the steps you need to take to ensure the safety of everyone.
What You Should Know If You Have The Coronavirus?
As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 is a new disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. While the first case came to light in late 2019, within a few months, the disease has infected lakhs of people across the globe. Scientists are trying to learn more about the new strain and how to stop its complications. The present information indicates that older people, young children, or people suffering from an underlying medical condition can suffer from serious complications due to the disease. So, it can result in fatal complications.
Reduce Your Risk Of Coronavirus Infection
While you need to think about the next steps if you suspect an infection, you must also take steps to reduce the risk of getting sick. So, what are the steps you can take?
- Follow the guidelines suggested by the health department and maintain hand hygiene. Use a mask and maintain social distancing.
- Continue your medication for the underlying health issue. Try not to change your treatment plan without consulting your doctor.
- You need to have the supply of prescription and non-prescription medications for at least two weeks. Stocking medications will reduce the necessity to go out to the pharmacy to get it.
- Check if your vaccination is up-to-date. It is important to keep vulnerable people safe by ensuring they receive the vaccination. So, people above 65 years of age or suffering from health issues due to compromised immune systems or liver disease need to get the vaccination against pneumococcal and influenza disease.
- Get immediate medical care when you suffer from severe issues due to COVID-19. Consult the emergency department to ensure you get the necessary care to address the underlying condition.
Do You Think You Have The Coronavirus? Then, Monitor Your Symptoms
If you traveled from a high-risk area with the outbreak or come in contact with a person suspected of the infection, then you need to take action. It is important to monitor your body for symptoms. Since the incubation period of the SARS-CoV-2 is suggested as 14 days (in most cases), you need to stay at home for the suggested duration. Check for the following signs:
- Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is a serious condition. Having trouble breathing needs immediate medical attention as it can lead to death. So, you need to follow the care instructions offered by your healthcare provider to avoid any complications. If you are in self-quarantine when the symptoms occur, remember to report it to your local health department. The local health department can offer you guidelines on the next step you need to take and offer the necessary information.
Emergency Medical Attention If You Think You Have The Coronavirus Infection
It is important to observe the symptoms closely when you have the coronavirus infection. At times, some signs need immediate medical attention. Else, it can lead to life-threatening complications. So, you need to take immediate action when you suffer from the following:
- Have trouble breathing
- Pressure or persistent pain in the chest
- Feel confused
- Trouble to wake up or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
While all symptoms are not listed here, you need to call your healthcare provider immediately if you suffer from any distressing symptoms. The severe or troubling signs if you have the coronavirus infection often indicate something serious. So, get immediate medical advice. If you need to go to the hospital, then follow the guidelines suggested below:
- Inform your doctor regarding your suspicion of suffering from COVID-19.
- Make an appointment beforehand to allow the doctor to take the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the disease.
- Wear a mask while going out.
These guidelines will help take necessary action to limit the spread of the disease. Your doctor can offer medical care without exposing you to other patients. So, be a responsible person and inform your doctor about your seeking care for yourself or someone suspected of having COVID1-9.
Treatment If You Think You Have The Coronavirus
In most cases, people with SARS-CoV-2 infection feel like they need to undergo elaborate treatment to overcome the disease. But, COVID-19 has no specific treatment plan. No medication is available that alleviate the presence of virus from your body. You get treatment only to address the symptoms you suffer. So, for mild symptoms, you can stay at home. For more severe symptoms, you need to stay at the hospital. The treatment options available are:
Treatment For Mild Symptoms
For mild symptoms, you can stay at home and recover. Never leave your home when you are recovering from the infection unless you need to see a doctor. Here are the steps you need to take at home:
You need to stay in a specific room as much as possible. Limit your contact with others in your family. Stay in a room with a separate bathroom. If you are around other people or animals in your home, wear a face mask.
You need to rest properly when you think you have the coronavirus. Your body is fighting the infection. So, you will feel exhausted. By getting more rest, you allow the body to recover faster.
You need to drink plenty of fluids as the infection causes dehydration. So, to avoid complications caused due to loss of fluids, you need to drink more water and other fluids.
Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
To kick the virus to the curb, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So, it is essential to eat a nutritious diet, sleep well, and stay active. Try to keep your regular routines and schedules without coming in contact with others. You have several different methods to communicate with your loved ones using digital technology.
Take Over-The-Counter Medications
You can take over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen to ease the symptoms. It will help you feel better.
Talk To A Professional
With all news channels covering COVID-19 infection and death, it is normal to feel sad, confused or stressed when you show symptoms of the disease. So, you need to deal with the stress by talking to people you trust. Open up about your concerns with your friends or family. You can also call and talk to professionals like health workers or counselors.
Stay in Touch With Doctor
You need to consult a doctor regarding the steps you take at home. If your doctor has concerns about the symptom, get immediate medical care.
Treatment In A Hospital If You Have The Coronavirus
If you have severe symptoms, then you need to seek medical assistance. Keep in touch with your doctor. Shift to the hospital immediately if your condition worsens. In the hospital your doctor will check for the following:
- Oxygen levels in your bloodstream using a clip-on finger monitor.
- Check your lungs and listen to its working.
- Take a chest x-ray or a CT scan for better evaluation.
The treatment focuses on easing your symptoms and not curing the infection. Based on the symptoms, you will need the following treatment option to ease them.
- For shortness of breath, you are provided with oxygen through two small tubes, inserted in you nostrils.
- In serious cases, you need an external machine to facilitate breathing. So, the doctor will connect you to ventilators.
- You get necessary fluids through an IV to avoid complications due to dehydration.
- When you stay in the hospital, the doctors will closely monitor the breathing.
Make Appointment Before Visiting Doctor If You Think You Have The Coronavirus
You need to make a call to your doctor beforehand if you visit the hospital. It is important to think about the safety of the other unsuspecting patients who have a high risk of getting infected due to exposing themselves to SARS-CoV-2. If you have COVID-19, then coming in close contact with you can put other vulnerable people at risk. So, here are the suggestions you can follow:
- Postpone your routine medical checkup to other dates.
- If you have other minor medical issues that need attention, then opt for getting the necessary advice by phone or telemedicine.
Have a medical appointment that you cannot postpone? Then, call your doctor to inform them regarding your suspicion or diagnosis of COVID-19. It will help the doctor take necessary steps like using PPE (personal protection equipment), isolating you from other patients, or maintain social distancing to protect themselves or others from the infection.
The Next Step If You Think You Have The Coronavirus: Opt For A Face Mask
Irrespective of if you think you have the coronavirus or not, opt for a facemask. You need to wear a cloth covering your nose as well as the mouth. Try to opt for a face covering when you need to go outside in public places, around other people, pets, or other animals. You need to cover your face when you stay at home. It is essential when you suffer from COVID-19. Try to follow the suggestion provided below:
- You can forgo the use of a mask when you are alone at home.
- Some people have trouble using a facemask due to breathing problems. In such cases, you need to cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze. Opt for tissue and use it to cover your nose as well as mouth. Throw it away after using the tissue.
- Practice social distancing when you are around other people. Always stay at least six feet away from the people to ensure you protect other people around you.
- If you have young children under the age of two, elderly people, or people with low immunity in your home, then try to make them stay away from people suspected of COVID-19. It is because placing a mask on such people can cause more harm than good. So, opt for facemasks for people who can remove the covering themselves.
Types Of Face Masks If You Think You Have The Coronavirus
You have different types of masks available. But, you need to choose it based on your risk of contracting or spreading the infection. Here are the different types based on your need:
- Use cloth facemask when you suspect the disease to avoid the spread of SARS-CoV-2. It will help prevent the virus spread through droplets from your coughing, talking, or sneezing.
- Reserve surgical masks are for first responders and healthcare workers who come in constant contact with infected people.
- An N95 respirator is the medical-grade mask suggested for healthcare workers who take care of infected people daily.
Cover Your Sneezes And Coughs
Some people have SARS-CoV-2, but they never realize it as they have no symptoms associated with the condition. So, irrespective of the infection, you need to learn to cover your coughs and sneezes. It will avoid the spreading of the virus through infected droplets. It is a good habit that can prevent not just COVID-19 but also other contagious air-borne diseases. So, follow the steps suggested below:
- Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- After using the tissue, throw it away in a lined garbage can.
- Wash your hands immediately after throwing it using soap and water. When you wash your hands make sure your rub your hands and areas between the fingers for at least twenty seconds. Rinse off with water.
- When soap or water is not available, then you can opt for sanitizer. Choose an alcohol-based product (with at least 60% alcohol) for getting rid of germs from your hands.
Maintain Hand Hygiene If You Think You Have The Coronavirus
During the COVID-19 season, maintaining hand hygiene is essential to reduce the risk of suffering from the infection. It reduces the transmission of harmful pathogens from your hands to your face, eyes, or mouth. Here are the steps you need to follow to keep your hands clean and avoid contracting or transmitting SARS-CoV-2.
Wash Your Hands Properly
You need to follow a proper handwashing technique to ensure your hands are clean. Wet your hands and use soap. Rub your hands together to form a lather. Rub areas between your fingers, nails, and back of the hand. Rinse off with water to remove the presence of germs or harmful pathogens from your hands.
Frequency Of Hand Washing
During the COVID-19 season, try to keep your hands clean. So, opt to wash your hands several times a day. Wash your hands properly after the following:
- Going to the bathroom
- Blowing your nose
- Before preparing food
- Before having food
It is always right to use soap and water when your hands are visibly dirty. Only soap can rinse away the dirt or oil accumulated on your hands.
Use Hand Sanitizer
In the absence of soap and water or you are busy, then you can use a hand sanitizer to keep your hands free from germs. Choose an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for the best results. It is important to select a product with at least 60% or more alcohol content. While applying, try to cover all surfaces of your hands. Rub the hand sanitizer on your hands until it dries. Using hand sanitizer on dirty hands will not offer protection.
Other Instructions For Good Hygiene
Apart from the hand hygiene instructions, you must also follow the guidelines suggested below to prevent the spread of the infection if you think you have the coronavirus:
- Refrain from touching your mouth, nose, or eyes with your unwashed hands.
- Avoid sharing your household items with others.
- Never share your drinking glasses, dishes, cups, eating utensils, bedding, or towels with people living with you in your home.
- Wash all the personal items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or you can put them in the dishwasher.
Clean And Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces
If you think you have the coronavirus, then you need to clean all the surfaces that come under the high-touch category every day. You need to clean the room as well as a bathroom with a bleach or bleach-like solution. Wear disposable gloves while you clean the room and bathroom. Ask others to clean the common areas in your home. But, you need to clean the bedroom and bathroom to avoid contamination. It is possible when you suffer from mild symptoms. If you are too sick to clean your room, then ask your caretaker or cleaning help for keeping the surfaces clean. It is important to clean and disinfect on an as-needed basis. While cleaning the help must wear a mask as well as disposable gloves before cleaning. Before cleaning, the person with COVID-19 infection needs to use the bathroom and leave the place.
While cleaning, it is important to use the right product offering the best results. So, you can opt for cleaners as well as disinfectants. Before using the disinfectant, you need to use soap or detergent to clean the dirty surfaces. Use the products first to clean the area of dirt, blood, stool, or body fluids. Then, use household disinfectants for removing all the virus particles. While cleaning follows the pointers suggested below:
Surface You Need To Clean
Try to focus on the high-touch surfaces that people tend to come in contact with more. When such surfaces get contaminated, then it can transfer to your hands and reach your body through nose, mouth, or eyes. So, you need to focus on cleaning the following:
- Bathroom fixtures
- Bedside tables
Follow Instructions On Cleaning Products
It is important to follow the instructions on the label on the cleaning products. Following the guidelines properly will ensure safe as well as effective use of the cleaning product.
- Before cleaning the surface, you need to keep the surface wet for several minutes. It will ensure all the harmful germs are killed.
- Follow the recommended precautions like wearing gloves and ensuring good ventilation in the room while using the product. Ventilation is a must as the cleaning product can emit fumes that can cause problems when you inhale it.
- Choose an EPA-registered household disinfectant that offers effective results.
Discontinue Home Isolation If You Have The Coronavirus
For people suffering from mild symptoms of COVID-19, doctors suggest resting at home. You have no specific treatment option to cure the viral infection. People who are in self-quarantine can leave their home under the following conditions:
Not Undergone Coronavirus Test
With several health agencies across the globe finding it difficult to get the test kits to detect the presence of the virus. The excess samples in the labs also make it difficult to test every person. So, only high priority cases are tested. If you have not undergone a test to determine if you are still contagious, then you can leave home when you meet all the three criteria suggested below:
- If you have no fever or related symptoms for at least 72 hours (that is at least three full days of no high body temperature without using any medication reducing fever).
- Other symptoms you suffer like shortness of breath or cough has improved.
- At least ten days have passed since you have first observed the symptoms related to the condition.
If you meet all the three criteria, then you can get advice from your doctor to ensure it is the right time to leave self-quarantine.
Undergone Coronavirus Test
If you have undergone the test to detect the antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, then based on the results you have the following scenarios:
If the test results come back negative, then you are no longer contagious. So, you can leave your home. But, follow the social distancing and use a face mask. Also, ensure proper hand hygiene. Reports from China and other countries indicate the recurrence of COVID-19 in people who have suffered from the disease before. So, you need to take ample precautions to avoid such a scenario.
If you have undergone the test to see the contagious nature earlier and it has come back positive, then you need to stay at home. But, you can leave home after you meet the following criteria:
- You no longer suffer from fever or high body temperature without using any medication to reduce it.
- Improvement in the symptoms you have suffered until now and feel your breathing as well as coughing has improved.
- You receive two negative tests in a row. The test you need to undergo at least twenty-four hours apart. Your doctor will follow the guidelines suggested by the country’s health ministry.
Some people have no symptoms associated with the condition. But, when they test for the viral antibodies, it comes back positive. In such cases, they need to stay in their home in self-isolation. If you have not undergone the second test to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2, then you can leave the home when they meet the following conditions:
- At least ten-day have passed after you have undergone the first positive test.
- You see no symptoms associated with the disease (like cough or breathing trouble) since undergoing the first test.
- For people who have undergone the second test to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2, then you can leave the home after you receive two negative tests in a row (twenty-four hours apart).
In short, your tests must come back negative before you leave your house or hospital. It is important to eliminate the presence of COVID-19 from your body first to go out in public.
Since you have no medication or vaccination available for COVID-19, you have to get rest and help your body kick the virus. So, if you think you have the coronavirus, consult your doctor and follow the steps suggested. By following the guidelines, you keep yourself as well as others safe.View Article Sources