If you’re reading this, chances are good that you’re snug inside your home while we all ride out the pandemic situation. But even if you’ve practiced regular hand washing and social distancing techniques, it is still possible to get sick. Some people will still experience regular colds, allergy symptoms, the flu, or other illnesses during this time. And yes, Covid-19 is a possibility for anyone. Here’s what to do if you get sick.
Don’t proceed to the emergency room, unless you are truly experiencing a life threatening emergency. For one thing, you don’t want to expose yourself to all of the illnesses in the waiting room. Second, if you do have Covid-19, you wouldn’t want to expose everyone else to the illness. And most importantly, hospital staff are severely overworked right now. They need to focus on the most critically ill patients, and for most of us, minor illness is not an emergency.
If you think you might have Covid-19 and your symptoms are severe, proceeding to the emergency room is certainly what you want to do. But do call ahead first, so that they can review their procedure with you. You might be asked to use a separate entrance or take other precautions to avoid exposing others to the potential illness.
Call your doctor. We can’t stress this enough. Before going anywhere for medical attention (except in emergency) calling ahead is proper procedure now. Your doctor can assess your symptoms over the phone, decide if you need to be tested for Covid-19, and direct you on how to complete that lab work.
Otherwise, it might be possible to receive a prescription over the phone, or to schedule an appointment when necessary.
Don’t panic. Remember that for most people, Covid-19 is not a deadly illness. If you are over the age of 60, are immune compromised, or have health conditions that predispose you to complications (such as asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes) then you certainly want to be extra careful. These are the people who need to seek more urgent care. Everyone else should still call their doctor and discuss their options, but there is no need to panic.
If you test positive for Covid-19, or if you experience mild symptoms but do not qualify for testing, follow self-quarantine procedures precisely in order to protect others from infection. This guide from the CDC shares more of this information in detail.