LOS ANGELES - Even with the various precautions that individuals can take to ward off potential contraction of the novel coronavirus, it is still possible, and easy, to become infected with COVID-19. And with the number of cases expected to balloon, it only raises the necessity of being prepared in the event you do contract COVID-19.
First, it’s important to determine whether you actually have COVID-19 symptoms, which can be similar to those of the seasonal flu. Common symptoms for both conditions are cough, fever and shortness of breath.
You shouldn’t panic if you are experiencing these symptoms, nor should you necessarily brush them off thinking that you may only have the flu. What you should do is call your doctor and ask about get tested for COVID-19.
It’s better to stay home and communicate with your doctor remotely in order to avoid potentially infecting others at a medical office, according to the CDC. But if you are experiencing an emergency, you should call 911 and let the operator know that you may have symptoms of COVID-19.
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The first step that you can take is calling your local health care provider to tell them that you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms. From there, your specific health care provider can give guidance as to how to get tested. Directory information for each state’s public health agency is available from the CDC on this website.
There have been reported struggles in doctors’ attempts to secure coronavirus testing due to the current lack of test kits across the United States. But the Trump administration in recent days announced new initiatives to make more tests available.
Staying at home
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should not go to work, school or other activities as to not potentially infect other individuals. The same applies if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, as you may have the condition and can still infect others even though you have yet to be diagnosed.
Consider your living situation
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and live with others who do not have the condition, it is important you remain in self-quarantine in your own room and practice social distancing, where you are six feet away from others. If you have access to a separate bathroom, only use that one as to prevent the possible spread of infection. Also avoid high touch objects and surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches and remote controls.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and live alone, make sure that you practice self isolation and social distancing, regularly disinfect surfaces in your house, wear a mask and cover your coughs and sneezes.
Washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds is vital as well.
Have food, toiletries and prescriptions on hand
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and do not require hospitalization, you’ll likely be in self isolation for 14 days or until your symptoms subside. That means you’ll need to have the necessary food in place to sustain you while you are infected.
Having two weeks worth of food, such as shelf-stable pantry goods and freezer items, is important, as well as fruits and vegetables, and items that are high in Vitamin D3, zinc, Vitaminc C, and beta-glucan.
It’s also important that you have enough toiletries and hygiene items, such as soap and toilet paper, to last for that time as well.
There are options available regarding how that food can be purchased, including apps and grocery stores that offer home delivery. Consumer Reports provides tips such as avoiding a direct hand-off, tipping electronically and ordering earlier than expected. You can also consider having a friend or loved one deliver groceries and necessary items to your house.
It’s important to keep in mind that you can still potentially infect these individuals while you are sick, so you should make sure deliveries are made to your home but a safe distance away from where the person delivering can become potentially infected. For example, instead of having a friend ring your doorbell and come inside to deliver your groceries, they could deliver them several feet away from your front door and contact you to let you know they have arrived.
Monitor your physical and mental health
While you are recovering, it is important to pay attention to your symptoms and notice if they are improving. Therapeutic measures can include drinking plenty of fluids, taking medication and using supplemental oxygen, according to Healthline. Individuals should follow treatment guidelines that their doctor or physician has provided.
It is also important to consider one’s mental health while in self-isolation. The CDC notes this can include maintaining regular contact with family and friends, sharing your experiences, connecting with others online who are experiencing similar events, maintaining hope and remaining positive and avoiding too much consumption of coronavirus-related media or content.
Telemedicine mental health options, such as video therapy or counseling, also exist and can be beneficial.