COVID-19 and Your Health (2022)

What to Do If You Are Sick

Updated Mar. 22, 2022

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If you test positive and are an older adult or someone who is at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, treatment is available. Contact a healthcare provider right away after a positive test to determine if you are eligible, even if your symptoms are mild right now. You can also visit aTest to Treat locationand, if eligible, receive a prescription from a provider. Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective.

If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you are sick:

  • Keep track of your symptoms.
  • If you havean emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), call 911.

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

Stay home for at least 5 days

  • Stay home for 5 days and isolate from others in your home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas and do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
  • Do not travel and avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis if possible.
(Video) COVID-19 and Your Health

Isolation and Exposure Calculator

A tool to help you determine if you need to isolate or take other steps to prevent spreading COVID-19.

Separate yourself from other people

As much as possible, stay in a specific roomand away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a well-fittingmask.

Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contactsknow they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.

  • SeeCOVID-19 and Animals if you have questions about pets.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, someone from the health department may call you. Answer the callto slow the spread.

Monitor your symptoms

(Video) Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Your Oral Health

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or other symptoms.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

When to seek emergency medical attention

Look for emergency warning signs*for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor

  • Call ahead.Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
  • If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office,and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

If you are sick, wear a well-fitting mask

  • You should wear a mask if you must be around other people or animals, including pets (even at home).
  • Wear a mask with the best fit, protection, and comfort for you.
  • You don’t need to wear the mask if you are alone. If you can’t put on a mask (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.
  • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2 years, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the mask without help.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw away used tissues in a lined trash can.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Handwashing Tips
(Video) Covid-19 and Your Lung Health

Avoid sharing personal household items

  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
  • Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.

Clean surfaces in your home regularly

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (for example, doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, and countertops) in your “sick room” and bathroom. In shared spaces, you should clean and disinfect surfaces and items after each use by the person who is ill.
  • If you are sick and cannot clean, a caregiver or other person should only clean and disinfect the area around you (such as your bedroom and bathroom) on an as needed basis. Your caregiver/other person should wait as long as possible (at least several hours) and wear a mask before entering, cleaning, and disinfecting shared spaces that you use.
  • Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
  • Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean visible dirty surfaces with household cleaners containing soap or detergent. Then, use a household disinfectant.
      • Use a product from EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
      • Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet with a disinfectant for a certain period of time (look at “contact time” on the product label).
      • You may also need to wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, depending on the directions on the product label.
      • Immediately after disinfecting, wash your handswith soap and water for 20 seconds.

COVID-19 and Your Health (1)

Take steps to improve ventilation at home

  • Improve ventilation (air flow) at home to help prevent from spreading COVID-19 to other people in your household.
  • Clear out COVID-19 virus particles in the air by opening windows, using air filters, and turning on fans in your home.
  • Use this interactive toolto learn how to improve air flow in your home.

When you can be around others after being sick with COVID-19

(Video) Your Health - COVID-19 Long Haulers

Deciding when you can be around others is different for different situations. Find out when you can safely end home isolation.

For any additional questions about your care, contact your healthcare provider or state or local health department.

Video and Print Resources

COVID-19 and Your Health (2)

10 Things You Can Do to Manage COVID-19 at Home

Video Length: 00:01:32

[PDF - 484 KB, 1 page]

10 Things You Can Do to Manage Your COVID-19 Symptoms at Home

File Details: 484 KB, 1 page

View PDF in English
Other Languages

[PDF - 361 KB, 1 page]

Don’t Delay: Test Soon and Treat Early

File Details: 361 KB, 1 page

View PDF in English
Additional Languages

More Information

  • Travelers
  • Specific Groups of People
  • People Who Are Sick
  • Healthcare Professionals
  • Health Departments
  • Laboratories

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(Video) Fear of Contracting COVID-19 Can Be Dangerous to Your Health

FAQs

How can COVID-19 affect your health? ›

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may experience stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness. And mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, can worsen.

How long will I test positive after having Covid? ›

You may continue to test positive on antigen tests for a few weeks after your initial positive. You may continue to test positive on NAATs for up to 90 days. Reinfections can occur within 90 days, which can make it hard to know if a positive test indicates a new infection.

Do healthy people need to worry about Covid? ›

Do adults younger than 65 who are otherwise healthy need to worry about COVID-19? Yes, they do. Although the risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 increases steadily with age, younger people can get sick enough from the disease to require hospitalization.

What is the greatest challenge that you have experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

Social isolation is one of the biggest mental health challenges we are facing with this crisis. Many people are living alone or away from their support systems, which are usually essential wellbeing boosters in a time of crisis.

How can you protect your mental health from Covid? ›

If you notice that you are exhibiting a few of these common signs of distress, the following steps may help you take control of your mental and emotional health: Take care of physical health. Exercise regularly and don't neglect your physical health during this time. Go for a walk, jog, do yoga, or just get moving.

How do you survive Covid? ›

To care for yourself, follow these steps:
  1. Keep a daily routine, such as taking a shower and getting dressed.
  2. Take breaks from COVID-19 news and social media.
  3. Eat healthy meals and drink plenty of fluids.
  4. Stay physically active.
  5. Get plenty of sleep.
  6. Avoid use of drugs, tobacco and alcohol.

How long is Omicron contagious for? ›

We know that people tend to be most infectious early in the course of their infection. With Omicron, most transmission occurs during the one to two days before onset of symptoms, and in the two to three days afterwards.

Are you still contagious after 5 days of Covid? ›

The researchers found that patient samples did not contain infectious material after eight days following the onset of symptoms. This means, that up until eight days, the patients can still spread the disease. After that point, patients are unlikely to spread the virus.

What does Covid sore throat feel like? ›

A sore throat could range from feelings of scratchiness to severe pain. Some people say a COVID sore throat feels like allergies. Others say it is like having strep throat.

When do Covid symptoms start? ›

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Possible symptoms include: Fever or chills.

How long does a COVID cough last? ›

In the case of COVID-19, this cough could last for as long as six months after the viral infection, especially if the patient contracted Omicron because it is more airway dependent than the original strain.

How long does long Covid last? ›

What is long COVID? Most people with coronavirus (COVID-19) feel better within a few days or weeks of their first symptoms and make a full recovery within 12 weeks. For some people, symptoms can last longer. This is called long COVID or post COVID-19 syndrome.

How should you deal with difficulties and problems in your life? ›

10 Ways to Overcome Challenges in Life
  • Make A Plan. While you don't know what is going to happen in the future, you can always plan ahead. ...
  • Know You're Not Alone. Every person in this world has their low points. ...
  • Ask For Help. ...
  • Feel Your Feelings. ...
  • Accept Support. ...
  • Help Others. ...
  • Think Big. ...
  • Positive Mindset.

How did you overcome the pandemic? ›

Take care of yourself, eat regularly, exercise, sleep enough and reduce all other sources of stress. Do things that give you back the control of your own life. Dedicate time to activities that improve your mood. That can be listening to music, a film, a good book, a hobby you haven't had time for before.

How do you deal with your worries during this time of Covid-19 pandemic? ›

  1. Stay connected with people. Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing. ...
  2. Talk about your worries. ...
  3. Support and help others. ...
  4. Look after your body. ...
  5. Stick to the facts. ...
  6. Stay on top of difficult feelings. ...
  7. Do things you enjoy. ...
  8. Focus on the present.

How do you make yourself feel better with Covid? ›

Most people with coronavirus (COVID-19) or symptoms of COVID-19 feel better within a few weeks.
...
Treating a high temperature
  1. get lots of rest.
  2. drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear.
  3. take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable.

How can you protect your emotional health? ›

There are many ways to improve or maintain good emotional health.
  1. Be aware of your emotions and reactions. ...
  2. Express your feelings in appropriate ways. ...
  3. Think before you act. ...
  4. Manage stress. ...
  5. Strive for balance. ...
  6. Take care of your physical health. ...
  7. Connect with others. ...
  8. Find purpose and meaning.
23 Jun 2020

What should I take with Covid? ›

Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home. You can treat symptoms with over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), to help you feel better. Learn more about what to do if you are sick.

What is the COVID cough like? ›

A common symptom of COVID-19 is a dry cough, which is also known as an unproductive cough (a cough that doesn't produce any phlegm or mucus). Most people with dry cough experience it as a tickle in their throat or as irritation in their lungs.

What is the new treatment for COVID? ›

Paxlovid is the latest COVID-19 treatment that's been all over the news. The drug was granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December for anyone ages 12 and older who weighs at least 88 pounds, and is at high risk for severe disease.

Can you get COVID twice? ›

Reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 means a person was infected, recovered, and then later became infected again. After recovering from COVID-19, most individuals will have some protection from repeat infections. However, reinfections do occur after COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of Covid Omicron? ›

All of the variants, including omicron BA.5, cause similar COVID-19 symptoms:
  • runny nose.
  • cough.
  • sore throat.
  • fever.
  • headaches.
  • muscle pain.
  • fatigue.
15 Sept 2022

What are the symptoms of Omicron Subvariants BA 4 and BA 5? ›

BA.5 symptoms are similar to previous COVID-19 variants and subvariants. The most common symptoms include fever, runny nose, coughing, sore throat, headache, muscle pain and fatigue.

Is Omicron a milder? ›

The original Omicron strain has a relatively mild version of the virus, causing less severe disease and death than Delta, which preceded it.

What helps COVID cough? ›

If you have a wet cough with lots of mucus, you want to take an expectorant to help get the mucus out. If you have a dry cough, a cough suppressant is what you want. Make sure you choose the right one. For pain, try acetaminophen.

Where is COVID headache located? ›

Headache is one of the earliest and most common symptoms during the acute phase of COVID-19; characteristically it appears as oppressive pain in the upper/frontal part of the head and affects between 14 and 60% of patients during the acute COVID-19 phase [13, 14].

When does cough start with COVID? ›

Based on what researchers have learned about COVID-19 thus far, the first symptoms—which generally occur within seven days after infection—can include the following, which are listed in order of their usual appearance: Fever or chills. A persistent cough.

What does COVID headache feel like? ›

Researchers have discovered that some of the prominent features of a COVID-19 headache include: Having a pulsing, pressing, or stabbing sensation. Occurring bilaterally (across the whole head) Presenting with severe pressure that won't respond to typical pain relievers, like ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

How long does a COVID headache last? ›

How long do COVID-19 headaches last? Headaches from COVID-19 illness usually last 10 to 14 days. But people can still experience headaches even after they recover. One study found that more than half of people continued having COVID-related symptoms up to 6 months after their illness.

How do I get COVID off my chest? ›

Breathing exercises
  1. Sit or lie in a comfortable position.
  2. Put one hand on your tummy just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath through your nose and let your tummy push your hand out. ...
  4. Breathe out through pursed lips like you are whistling. ...
  5. Do this breathing 3 to 5 times.

Is a COVID cough dry or wet? ›

What Kind of Cough Is Common in People With the Coronavirus? Most people with COVID-19 have a dry cough they can feel in their chest.

Do you cough up mucus with COVID? ›

About one-third of people with COVID-19 experience a cough with mucus (phlegm). This is due to lung congestion that can occur during the infection and persist even after it resolves. Your lungs and airways can start to produce extra phlegm when you catch a virus like COVID-19.

How do I get my energy back after COVID? ›

Being unwell and recovering from an illness may make you feel tired. Fatigue is feeling tired all the time and is not relieved by sleep and rest.
...
Reduce tiredness and fatigue
  1. developing a healthy sleep routine.
  2. having a nap when you can, if you need to.
  3. drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated.
  4. eating nutritional food.

Why does my chest hurt after COVID? ›

In some people with long Covid, heart palpitations may be caused by a problem with their autonomic nervous system (which controls things such as your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure). This condition is called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS).

When is COVID not contagious? ›

Isolation can be discontinued at least 5 days after symptom onset (day 0 is the day symptoms appeared, and day 1 is the next full day thereafter) if fever has resolved for at least 24 hours (without taking fever-reducing medications) and other symptoms are improving.

How can I solve my problems? ›

Six step guide to help you solve problems
  1. Step 1: Identify and define the problem. State the problem as clearly as possible. ...
  2. Step 2: Generate possible solutions. ...
  3. Step 3: Evaluate alternatives. ...
  4. Step 4: Decide on a solution. ...
  5. Step 5: Implement the solution. ...
  6. Step 6: Evaluate the outcome.

How COVID-19 affect our life? ›

In addition to having grave health consequences, the pandemic has also crushed our goals, upended our family dynamics and job roles and undermined out economic stability. As a result, the unprecedented global crisis caused by the pandemic has had a major impact on our mental health.

How does Covid affect mental health? ›

Information overload, rumors and misinformation can make your life feel out of control and make it unclear what to do. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may experience stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness. And mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, can worsen.

How do you overcome Covid stress? ›

Below are ways that you can help yourself, others, and your community manage stress.
  1. Take breaks from news stories, including those on social media. ...
  2. Take care of your body: ...
  3. Make time to unwind. ...
  4. Connect with others. ...
  5. Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.

When does Covid get worse? ›

A person may have mild symptoms for about one week, then worsen rapidly. Let your doctor know if your symptoms quickly worsen over a short period of time.

How has the pandemic affected mental health in students? ›

20% of college students say their mental health has worsened…” Read more. “Nearly three in 10 (29%) say their child is “already experiencing harm” to their emotional or mental health because of social distancing and closures.

Why do you feel stress in pandemic? ›

Some common causes of stress during the coronavirus pandemic are uncertainty, lack of routine and reduced social support, says Mark Flanagan, LMSW, MPH, MA, a social worker at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont.

Are you contagious after 10 days? ›

They should wear a mask through day 10. A test-based strategy may be used to remove a mask sooner. People with moderate or severe COVID-19 should isolate through at least day 10. Those with severe COVID-19 may remain infectious beyond 10 days and may need to extend isolation for up to 20 days.

Are you contagious a week after positive test? ›

If you had symptoms

If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home. You are likely most infectious during these first 5 days. Wear a high-quality mask if you must be around others at home and in public. Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask.

Do antigens test positive after recovery? ›

Thus, if the person being tested has recently had COVID-19 and completed their period of isolation, it is possible for that person to receive a negative antigen test result and a positive confirmatory NAAT, potentially indicating a persistent detection of SARS-CoV-2 after recovery from COVID-19.

Can you get Covid back to back? ›

Reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 means a person was infected, recovered, and then later became infected again. After recovering from COVID-19, most individuals will have some protection from repeat infections. However, reinfections do occur after COVID-19.

How long does Omicron symptoms last? ›

How long do omicron symptoms last? Most people who test positive with any variant of COVID-19 typically experience some symptoms for a couple weeks.

How long does Covid stay in the air? ›

The virus spreads when other people breathe in infected droplets or when the droplets land in the eyes, nose or mouth of a person nearby. Infection with the COVID-19 virus may also occur if someone is exposed to very small droplets or aerosols that stay in the air for several minutes or hours.

How long does Covid immunity last? ›

(2021). Naturally acquired SARS-CoV-2 immunity persists for up to 11 months following infection. The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Am I contagious after 10 days COVID? ›

You are considered contagious from two days before your symptoms begin until 10 days after your symptoms began. If you have no symptoms, you are considered contagious beginning two days before your test sample was collected and until 10 days after your test sample was collected.

How long are you contagious if you're vaccinated? ›

You do need two weeks for your immune system to mount its full response. You are then considered fully immunized. If you're fully vaccinated, you can now be safely with other people in your private life, in your home or their home, if they are also fully immunized.

Can you test negative and still have Covid? ›

But a negative test is not a guarantee you do not have COVID-19 and there's still a chance you may be infectious. You should follow advice on how to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

What can give you a false positive Covid test? ›

That you likely have an active COVID-19 infection. Antigen tests can give false positive results. If you do not have symptoms but you receive a positive antigen result, your health care provider may recommend a molecular test to confirm the result.

Is Covid worse the second time you get it? ›

Symptoms during reinfection are likely to be less severe than during the initial infection, but some people can experience more severe COVID-19 during reinfection.

Do dogs get Covid? ›

The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals during close contact. Pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. The risk of pets spreading COVID-19 to people is low.

How quickly can you get Covid? ›

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.

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