Public Health

How To Care For Yourself At Home With Coronavirus

Jacqueline Slobin23 Mar 2021

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or had a recent exposure, it is essential that you isolate from others immediately. Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, and sore throat. 

If you have any of these symptoms, you may want to get a COVID-19 diagnostic test. It is important to note that diagnostic tests can yield false negative results, so even if you have a negative test, you should continue to isolate yourself if you have symptoms. 

A membership with Mira can help you access a free at-home PCR COVID-19 test. 

How To Tell People You May Have COVID-19 

If you are experiencing symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19, it is essential that you tell everyone you were in contact with 72 hours before your test or symptom onset. Although it can be stressful and nerve-wracking to tell people you may have COVID-19, it is important that they are aware of the situation so they can isolate and get tested as well. 

When telling people you may have COVID-19, timing matters. People can start spreading COVID-19 72 hours before they show symptoms, so it is important that all of your close contacts isolate immediately. 

Some important things to keep in mind: 

  • Contact all friends or family members you have recently seen
  • Contact your employer if you have been working in-person
  • Contact your school if you are a student
  • Contact any restaurants or facilities you have been to in the past 3 days
  • Do not rely on your state’s contact tracing personnel to notify people you were in contact with. Due to high numbers of COVID-19 cases, it could take some time for contacts to be notified and contacts may be missed

Below is a sample message you can send to a friend you were in close contact with: 

“Hey, after we saw each other two days ago I tested positive for COVID. I just wanted to let you know so that you can isolate yourself and get a test. I’m sorry for putting you at risk and if you need any help scheduling a test let me know.” 

7 Ways To Isolate From Others If You Have COVID-19

If you have symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19, you should not leave your home unless it is to seek medical attention. If you live in a house or apartment with others, you should take the following precautions to prevent spreading COVID-19 to household members. 

  1. Stay in a separate room from other household members at all times, if possible
  2. Use a separate bathroom, if possible and wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer
  3. If you need to come into contact with other people from your home, wear a mask at all times. Wash or change your facemask each day
  4. Always cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  5. Do not share items with people from your household (ex: utensils, cups, plates)
  6. Avoid contact with pets
  7. Frequently disinfect any shared spaces or items, such as doorknobs, countertops, and bathrooms

According to the CDC, you should no longer be contagious with COVID-19 once 10 days have passed since your positive test result, symptoms are improving, AND you have not had a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. 

Tips for a Quick Recovery 

If you have a mild case of COVID-19 with manageable symptoms, you will likely not need to seek medical attention. Below we outline some tips to help take care of yourself and manage your illness from home:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink a lot of fluids
  • Take fever reducing medication if you have a fever
  • Drink tea or warm beverages if your throat hurts
  • If symptoms worsen, contact your medical provider about treatment

When Should You Stay Home vs. Seek Treatment For COVID-19

If you are young and do not fall into a high risk category for COVID-19, you may be able to recover on your own at home. 

If you are a high risk group with underlying medical conditions or begin to experience more moderate symptoms, you may want to contact your primary care doctor to make them aware of your situation and get guidance. Not all doctor’s offices are treating COVID-19 positive patients in-person, so if you would like to see your doctor, make sure to call in advance. 

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should call 911 or seek emergency care immediately: 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent chest pain or pressure
  • Inability to stay awake
  • Confusion
  • Blue-colored lips or face

Note: this list is not comprehensive - if you are experiencing any severe symptoms you should seek medical attention or call your provider. You can also use the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Self-Checker, which can help you decide whether you should seek care. 


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