As the threat from coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread through the U.S., we wanted to make sure that you’re prepared. We’ve put together some information on what to do if you think you have COVID-19:
CALL YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN
DO NOT go to the emergency room or an urgent care center, CALL your doctor first.
If you are coughing and are told to come to the doctor’s office, please wear a protective face mask (we have a few left to use if needed).
Safe options for testing:
If your symptoms seem indicative of Covid-19, a good doctor may prefer to come to your home, video call with you, or come to your car, rather than having you walk into their sterilized office.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Common symptoms can include:
- dry cough
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- runny nose
- body aches.
Severe symptoms can include:
· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
· Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
· New confusion or inability to arouse
· Bluish lips or face
If you exhibit these milder symptoms and think you have Covid-19, note that testing is discouraged unless you have severe symptoms or an underlying risk factor.
Even if your doctor swabs you for the COVID virus, due to the severe shortages in test kits at the local labs, the Fairfax County Health Department is authorized to only run the test if a person has specific symptoms and circumstances.
Most people won’t qualify for testing yet. When enough tests kits become available, this guideline will likely change.
Remember that 80% of the population will not have any severe symptoms. The government is trying to save their resources for those people with the most urgent medical needs.
There is not currently any treatment or anti-viral for Covid-19. Severe cases require hospitalization, but minor or moderate symptoms would follow the same at-home protocol that you would follow if you had the flu. Treat your symptoms with pain relievers, decongestants, and inhalers for breathing. Call your doctor for more suggestions depending upon your symptoms.
Minor symptoms = stay at home: If you are experiencing MINOR symptoms – you do NOT need to be tested to confirm. Self-quarantine until you are symptom-free and have not had a fever for 3 days.
Your doctor can order labs and x-rays via tele-medicine so there are indirect ways of checking if any of your symptoms might be explained by other causes.
Your doctor can still swab you for influenza and strep throat which are common illnesses with similar symptoms.
In general, stay calm, stay home, keep your house and hands as sterile as possible, and call your doctor, if needed.