What to do if You're Sick with COVID-19

UPDATED May 15, 2020 at 3:40 p.m.

Stay home when you are sick with symptoms of COVID-19, except to get medical care. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, as well as severe tiredness/fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, runny nose/congestion, or decreased appetite. Call ahead before going to your healthcare provider

Isolate Sick Person to Protect Other Household Members

  • Stay in a separate room from the rest of your household members. 
  • Use a separate bathroom if possible. 
  • Keep toothbrushes separate if you must use the same bathroom. 
  • Family and roommates should avoid contact with sick person and practice self-quarantine. 
  • Wear a mask if you go into shared spaces.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. Learn about disinfecting your home if someone is sick from CDC.
  • Review our specific recommendations for Isolation, Quarantine, Self-Monitoring and Social Distancing:  English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Arabic
  • View our information on temporary housing for COVID-19 in English or Spanish if you:
    • Have COVID-19 and, if you returned home, you would put a family member at risk for COVID-19.
    • You are homeless and have COVID-19 or are at-risk for COVID-19.
    • To see if you qualify, speak with the person coordinating your hospital discharge or call the Health Department at 734-544-6700.

Managing Symptoms at Home

  • Many can manage mild symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever, fatigue, abdominal cramps, mild nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, at home. Consult with your health care provider about managing your symptoms.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) up to every 4 hours or ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) up to every 6 hours for fever. You can alternate these if you need relief prior to when the next dose is due. Do not exceed the maximum dose per day for any medication. Neither FDA or WHO currently recommend avoiding ibuprofen. Contact your healthcare provider if you have questions about your personal health.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks. Eat when possible. 
  • Avoid other family members and friends by following the Isolation instructions.
  • Review 10 ways to manage respiratory symptoms at home from CDC.

When to Seek Medical Care

Call your doctor if you have: 

  • Fever that does not come down with medication. 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours or any bloody diarrhea. 
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Symptoms that keep getting worse and feel unmanageable.
  • Other reported symptoms include: chills, repeated shaking with chills, severe tiredness, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, runny nose, and/or a new loss of taste or smell

Call ahead to the Emergency Department or Call 9-1-1 if you have: 

  • Difficulty breathing/inability to catch your breath. 
  • Chest pain or persistent pressure. 
  • Feel faint, light-headed, new confusion, or unstable in any other way.
  • Bluish lips or face

When Seeking Care at a Health Care Facility:

  • Call ahead to get instructions from your health care provider. 
  • Avoid using public transportation to get to your medical provider or emergency department. Do not use busses, Uber, Lyft, or taxi cabs. If you are unable to drive yourself and do not have a ride, call 9-1-1 for transport by ambulance. Inform them of your symptoms ahead of time. 
  • If a family member or friend is giving you a ride, wear a mask or fabric that covers your mouth and nose while you are in the vehicle with them. 
  • If you are driving yourself, apply a mask or fabric that covers your mouth and nose before exiting your vehicle.

COVID-19 Testing Information

When is it Safe to Leave Home?

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