Authored by JoannaRasmuson

COVID-19: What To Do if You Are Sick

March 19, 2020 | COVID-19

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have it, follow the steps below to help protect other people in your home and community.

Stay home except to get medical care

  • Stay home – people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor – call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation – avoid using public transportation, rid-sharing or taxis.
  • Ask to work from home or take leave if you have symptoms.

Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

  • Stay away from others – as much as possible, you should stay in a specific “sick room” and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available. If you are able, clean and disinfect your spaces often including the bathroom after each use if a separate bathroom is not available.
  • Limit contact with pets and animals – you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people with the virus limit contact with animals until more information is known.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor

  • If you have a medical appointment, 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.

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick you should wear a facemask when you are around other people and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • If you are unable to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live in your home should stay in a different room. If your caregiver enters the room, they should wear a facemask. Visitors are not recommended.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw used tissues in a lined trash can.
  • If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or bent elbow, not your hands.
  • 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.

Avoid sharing personal household items

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

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your isolation area (“sick room” and bathroom) every day. Let a caregiver clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in other areas of the home. If your caregiver needs to clean and disinfect your “sick room” and bathroom, they should do so only on an as-needed basis. The caregiver should wear a mask and gloves and wait as long as possible after you have used the bathroom.
    • High-touch surfaces include phones, remotes, countertops, handles, tabletops, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.
  • Clean with soap and water and then use a household disinfectant. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure the safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. Many also recommend precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Stay in touch with others by phone or email

  • If you live alone and become sick, you may need help. If you have a chronic medical condition and live alone, ask family, friends and healthcare providers to check on you during an outbreak. Stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Take care of your emotional health. Outbreaks can be stressful for adults and children.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Seek medical attention but call first. Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening (for example, if you have difficulty breathing). Before going to the doctor’s office, urgent care or emergency room, call ahead and tell them your symptoms. They will tell you what to do.
  • Wear a facemask – if possible, put on a facemask before you enter the building. If you can’t put on a facemask, try to keep at least 6 feet away from other people to protect others around you.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities will give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, call 911 to get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

For more information and resources, including what to expect when interacting with Revere Health and steps you should take if you think you might have coronavirus” button_url=””


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.