Symptoms, and What to Do If You Think You Have Coronavirus
By Sara Butler
The novel coronavirus is now in every single U.S. state and on six continents. In many places, you have a very good chance of being exposed to someone who has the virus or catching the virus yourself. So, the big question is: How do you prevent it and how do you protect others if you suspect you have it?
Start With Protecting Yourself
The best thing you can do to stop the spread of coronavirus is to practice good hygiene at home and everywhere you go. You should:
- Wash your hands - Use warm soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after you cough or sneeze in your hand, use the bathroom, before you eat, and after you’ve been out in public. If you suspect you have coronavirus, continue to wash your hands frequently, as well.
- Stop touching your face - Viruses can infect you if you touch an infected surface and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Try to break the habit of touching your face to slow down transmission.
- Avoid contact with people who are infected - This one should be easy. Play it safe by practicing social distancing; stay at least six feet away from others and do not shake hands.
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to not get it. Experts tell us that’s not always going to be the case.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
What are the symptoms of coronavirus? While you may have heard they’re similar to a regular cold, there are a few things to be on the lookout for. According to the CDC, if you experience these symptoms two to 14 days after exposure, then you may have coronavirus:
- Fever of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
These symptoms can range from mild to severe. If you develop any of the following emergency warning signs, then you need to seek medical attention as soon as you can:
- Difficulty breathing or severe shortness of breath
- Confusion, or inability to get roused by someone
- Persistent pressure or pain in the chest
- Bluish face or lips
That is not an all-inclusive list. If you’re worried about your symptoms, get medical advice as soon as you can.
Work on Protecting Others
So far, it’s been found that coronavirus complications happen most often in people who are over the age of 60 or have other chronic health conditions such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes. To help keep those people safe from coronavirus, you should take some precautions -- especially if you suspect you’ve been exposed to coronavirus or may have it.
If you suspect you have been in contact with someone with coronavirus, self-quarantine for 14 days to ensure you don’t have it while watching for symptoms. If you develop symptoms such as a dry cough and fever, then start the 14-day quarantine over again. Contact your local hospital or healthcare provider if your symptoms -- such as a fever over 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or difficulty breathing -- cannot be controlled with over-the-counter medications.
If you suspect you have coronavirus, do not leave your home except to get medical care. Even those who are only mildly ill with the virus can easily spread it to others. Restrict activities outside of your home and do not go to public areas, school, or work. You shouldn’t use taxis, rideshares, or public transportation, either. If you do go out, wear a mask to further protect those around you.
Keep Away from Others
As much as is possible, you should stay in just one room of your home if you share it with others. Use a separate bathroom if possible and do not share items with other people in the home. This may be a challenge, but it’s the best thing you can do to keep the virus from spreading.
You should also keep yourself away from your pets when you’re sick with coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention haven’t received any reports of animals becoming sick with the virus, but it’s still a recommendation they make until more information about the virus can be gathered. If you do need to care for animals when you’re ill, then make sure to wash hands before and after contact with them and wear a facemask.
If you need to go to the hospital and suspect you have coronavirus, then call first. This way, they can take steps to ensure others are not exposed or infected. They may also have special instructions for you to follow upon arrival, such as going to a specific treatment area that doesn’t expose the general population of the hospital.
Wear a Facemask
At this time, the World Health Organization, as well as the CDC, recommends that you only wear a facemask if you are ill or caring for someone who is. When you’re around others, such as in a vehicle or if you share a room, then put on a facemask. If you are having difficulty breathing and cannot wear a facemask, then have everyone wear one who enters the room you’re in. And remind them to wash their hands before and after!
Cover Your Cough
When you cough or sneeze, make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, then throw the tissue away immediately in a trash can lined with a trash bag. Wash your hands directly afterward, preferably with soap and warm water. If it’s not available, then a hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol is a good replacement. If you can’t cough or sneeze into a tissue, you can always go into the inside of your elbow; it may be kind of icky, but this is a national emergency. If you do that, remember not to bump elbows with anyone in lieu of a handshake.
Clean High-Touch Surfaces
Each and every day, the surfaces in your home that are frequently touched should be cleaned with a disinfectant. This includes tabletops, bathroom fixtures, keyboards, phones, remotes, bedside tables, counters, doorknobs, tablets, and toilets. Follow the instructions on the cleaning products in order to ensure it’s fully effective.
Coronavirus has been a frightening thing for many. Do what you can to reduce transmission to yourself and others. Hopefully, scientists will come up with effective ways for the human race to overcome this tiny foe. But even after that happens, you should still keep washing your hands.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of chiropractic care, exercise and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.