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

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) Health officials concerned about potential COVID-19 surge | GMA

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

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) Ontario’s top doctor urges mask-wearing, warns mandate could return for COVID-19

FAQs

How does 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 for Covid after having it? ›

If negative, multiple tests may be necessary. After a positive test result, you may continue to test positive for some time after. 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.

How long are you contagious Omicron? ›

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.

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.

What helps Covid recovery? ›

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

How do you stop long COVID? ›

Tips for managing long Covid symptoms
  1. Pace yourself - plan what you're going to do and don't over-exert yourself.
  2. Try to break tasks which feel difficult down into smaller chunks, and alternate easier and harder activities.
  3. Consider the best time of the day to do certain activities based on your energy levels.
14 Oct 2022

Are you still contagious after 5 days? ›

People are most contagious with COVID-19 during the first 5 days of their illness. Many people don't have any symptoms during the first 2 to 3 days of their illness. This is why COVID-19 outbreaks are so hard to contain. On average, people are contagious for 5 to 10 days.

How long does Covid stay in your body? ›

Most people with COVID-19 get better within a few days to a few weeks after infection, so at least four weeks after infection is the start of when post-COVID conditions could first be identified. Anyone who was infected can experience post-COVID conditions.

How long do 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.

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 Omicron symptoms if vaccinated? ›

Symptoms of Omicron can be similar to the original COVID-19 virus and other variants, which can include a combination of the following: fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, headache, sore throat, muscle pains/aches and fatigue.

Can you have Covid and test negative? ›

A negative result means it's likely you are not infectious. 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.

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.

How does this pandemic affect your thoughts and feelings about yourself? ›

Even if you're at home with family, the reality of social isolation can still trigger loneliness, sadness, and anxiety. You may also find that spending all day, every day with your family is stressful and creates challenges, no matter how much you love them.

What food is good for COVID? ›

Kiwis, berries, oranges, sweet potatoes, peppers—these all have lots of vitamin C, which support immune health. Put them in a salad or smoothie. If you feel well enough, eat protein. Protein improves healing capacity—after all, it is the building block of all cells, including immune cells.

How do you clear your lungs with COVID? ›

Breathe out fully. Take a small breath in through your mouth, nose or both and hold. On top of the air already in your lungs, take another small breath.
...
Breath stacking is a technique that can be used to:
  1. help expand your lungs.
  2. keep the muscles flexible.
  3. help you have a stronger cough to clear your phlegm.

Does COVID get better after 5 days? ›

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have no symptoms – you may end after day 5. If you test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms – you may end after day 5 if: You are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) Your symptoms are improving.

How do I get my energy back after COVID? ›

Fatigue is common after viral infections like COVID-19. Most people recover after 2 to 3 weeks. Fatigue is feeling like you lack energy.
...
It's important to:
  1. eat well.
  2. have a healthy sleep routine.
  3. drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.

What is the fastest way to recover from COVID at home? ›

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.

What is mild COVID like? ›

Fatigue. Muscle or body aches. Headache. New loss of taste or smell.

Why do I keep testing positive for Covid? ›

Positive COVID-19 Test: A Sign of Viral Shedding

Viral shedding is the release of a virus as it multiplies inside your body. If you are shedding virus, it means you can pass it on and infect other people. Testing positive for COVID-19 is an indication of viral shedding.

What if I test positive but have no symptoms? ›

If you tested positive for COVID-19 but have not had any symptoms: Isolate for at least 5 days after you tested positive for COVID-19. You can leave isolation after 5 full days if you have not developed any symptoms.

What is Covid Omicron incubation period? ›

A study conducted during high levels of Delta variant transmission reported an incubation period of 4.3 days,(2) and studies performed during high levels of Omicron variant transmission reported a median incubation period of 3–4 days. ( 3,4)

How long does Covid last on blankets? ›

A study published in found that at room temperature, COVID-19 was detectable on fabric for up to two days, compared to seven days for plastic and metal. However, when it was exposed to high heat, the virus became inactive within five minutes.

How long does 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.

Can you test negative for Covid and still be contagious? ›

You can have COVID-19 and spread it to others even if you do not have symptoms. Your COVID-19 test can be negative even if you are infected. Most people do not test positive for the virus until days after exposure. You may also be exposed to the virus afteryou are tested and then get infected.

What does your throat feel like with COVID? ›

Well, it can feel exactly the same as a cold, according to Brian Curtis, MD, vice president of Clinical Specialty Services for OSF HealthCare. That makes it hard to tell the difference between a cold and a mild case of COVID. It's even harder to tell the difference knowing that sore throat is a COVID symptom.

How do you treat Omicron at home? ›

Take proper rest and treat the mild symptoms at home and be in a strict self-quarantine for 7 days to avoid further spread. Currently, there are no specific drugs and medication are available to prevent or treat Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Does Omicron start with a sore throat? ›

Compared to other SARS-CoV-2 variants, the Omicron variant is associated with generally less severe symptoms that may include fatigue, cough, headache, sore throat or a runny nose.

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 many times can I catch Covid? ›

Can you get Covid-19 twice? Yes, it is possible to get Covid-19 two, three or even more times. Covid reinfections have become more common because of the Omicron variant, and because immunity from previous infection and immunisation has reduced over time.

How can you tell if you have Omicron or Delta? ›

Of the more-frequent symptoms, loss or altered sense of smell, sneezing, runny nose, brain fog, eye soreness, headache, fever, and dizziness were reported significantly more often during Delta prevalence, while sore throat and hoarse voice were significantly more often reported during Omicron.

How long test positive Covid Omicron? ›

During the Omicron BA. 1 period, 80.2% of symptomatic persons with COVID-19 returning for repeated testing were RAT–positive after 5 days, and 34.9% were still positive after 10 days, regardless of vaccine status.

Is sneezing a symptom of Omicron? ›

The study found that sneezing is the fourth most common reported symptom associated with omicron.

Can you get Covid 3 times? ›

In fact, with the highly infectious omicron variant in circulation, it's becoming less unusual to have COVID-19 three times — or even four.

Can a rapid test give a false positive? ›

There is a chance that any test can give you a false positive result. If you have any doubt about your rapid antigen test result, it is recommended to discuss your results with a healthcare professional to determine next steps which may involve a confirmatory PCR test.

Can a person be immune to Covid? ›

Getting COVID-19 offers some natural protection or immunity from reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 . It's estimated that getting COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccination both result in a low risk of another infection with a similar variant for at least six months.

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 do personal challenges make a better person? ›

Challenging experiences shapes leaders, survivors and resilient souls who have come from the darkest depths and back. They realize what is most important to them and they stick to that so they can do what really matters to them, and what makes them happy.

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 do you handle Covid? ›

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or other symptoms.
...
Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
  1. Stay home for 5 days and isolate from others in your home. ...
  2. Take care of yourself. ...
  3. Stay in touch with your doctor. ...
  4. Do not travel and avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis if possible.

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 the pandemic affects the mental health of 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 I keep testing positive for Covid? ›

Positive COVID-19 Test: A Sign of Viral Shedding

Viral shedding is the release of a virus as it multiplies inside your body. If you are shedding virus, it means you can pass it on and infect other people. Testing positive for COVID-19 is an indication of viral shedding.

Can antigen test detect Covid 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.

Is it possible to have Covid and test negative? ›

However, false negatives can occur for a number of reasons, including people being tested too soon after exposure to the virus (which may not let enough of the virus build up to a level that is detectable), differences in how well the coronavirus is able to make copies of itself in one person compared to in another ...

Can U 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.

What if I test positive but have no symptoms? ›

If you tested positive for COVID-19 but have not had any symptoms: Isolate for at least 5 days after you tested positive for COVID-19. You can leave isolation after 5 full days if you have not developed any symptoms.

Can you get a false positive Covid test? ›

There's also a chance that a COVID-19 rapid antigen test can produce false-positive results if you don't follow the instructions carefully. False-positive results mean the test results show an infection when actually there isn't one.

Can you test negative for Covid and still be contagious? ›

You can have COVID-19 and spread it to others even if you do not have symptoms. Your COVID-19 test can be negative even if you are infected. Most people do not test positive for the virus until days after exposure. You may also be exposed to the virus afteryou are tested and then get infected.

What does a faint line on a COVID test mean? ›

Two lines – even faint lines – indicate the test is positive. The test has failed and should be retaken. Negative result.

How accurate is rapid COVID test? ›

Rapid antigen tests are most accurate when they are used in people who have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, especially during the first week of illness. People who test negative may still be infected.

What can cause a false positive for COVID? ›

There are many potential causes of a false positive result, including the following:
  • Mislabelling at the point of collection and at the point of processing. ...
  • Contamination during sampling and processing. ...
  • Low-level reactions in the PCR process, which may be generated for several reasons.

Should I clean my nose before a Covid test? ›

IMPORTANT: Swabbing the nostrils is critical for obtaining an accurate result. If you do not swab your nose, the device will produce a false negative result. TO TIME THE TEST. soap and water for 20 seconds before starting the test.

Can you get Covid 3 times? ›

In fact, with the highly infectious omicron variant in circulation, it's becoming less unusual to have COVID-19 three times — or even four.

Can a person be immune to Covid? ›

Getting COVID-19 offers some natural protection or immunity from reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 . It's estimated that getting COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccination both result in a low risk of another infection with a similar variant for at least six months.

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.

When is COVID infectious? ›

You can pass on the infection to others, even if you have no symptoms. Many people with COVID-19 will no longer be infectious to others after 5 days. If you have a positive COVID-19 test result, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days after the day you took your test.

Videos

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2. The Power of Nutrition: Chronic Disease, COVID-19 and Your Health
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3. Will COVID cases spike again this fall?
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4. 6 Tips to protect your mental health during COVID-19 | Sparkol
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6. Your Health - COVID-19 Long Haulers
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