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COVID-19 Information

What to Do If You Are Sick

If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able torecover at home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider.

  • Keep track of your symptoms.
  • If you have an emergency warning sign(including trouble breathing), get emergency medical care immediately.


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Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to helpprotect other people in your home and community.

Stay home except to get medical care

  • Stay 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.
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such asacetaminophen, 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 troublebreathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

Separate yourself from other people

As much as possible, stay in a specific room and 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 thehome, wear a mask.

Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spreadCOVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting yourclose contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or other symptoms.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local healthauthorities 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 aresevere or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care forsomeone 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 mask over your nose and mouth

  • You should wear a mask over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or animals,including pets (even at home).
  • You don’t need to wear the mask if you are alone. If you can’t put on a mask (because of troublebreathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet awayfrom 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, oranyone who is not able to remove the mask without help.

Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, medical grade facemasks are reserved for healthcare workers and some first responders.

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 notavailable, 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 afterblowing 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 least60% 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

Avoid sharing personal household items

  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in yourhome.
  • Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom; wear disposable gloves. Letsomeone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but you should clean your bedroom andbathroom, if possible.
  • If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, theyshould do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and disposable glovesprior to cleaning. They should wait as long as possible after the person who is sick has used the bathroombefore coming in to clean and use the bathroom.
High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom
  • Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
  • Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergentif it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.

When you can be around others after being sick with COVID-19

Deciding when you can be around others is different for different situations. Find out when you can safely end home isolation.

Is it COVID-19 or Flu?

Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similiar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with the flue or COVID-19.

The Difference and Similarities between Flu and COVID-19

For any additional questions about your care, contact your healthcare provider or state or local health department.

I wear a mask because…

CDC staff give their reasons for wearing a mask.

Wear a mask because…

Print Resources


Caring for yourself at home: 10 things to manage your health

What you can do if you have possible or confirmed COVID-19:


Can Pets Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Some animals have tested positive for coronavirus. People who are sick shouldn’t have contact with their pets. If someone must care for a pet while sick, they should wash their hands before and after contact and wear a face mask. If your pet is sick, call your vet for advice on what to do.

Who Should Wear a Face Covering?

If you need to go out, cloth face coverings (or a face mask, if you have one) on adults and kids over 2 years old can help slow the spread of the virus:

  • To see how to put on and remove cloth face coverings and face masks, clean them, or make your own cloth face covering, check the CDC’s guide
  • Even when you are wearing a cloth face covering (or a face mask), keep at least 6 feet between you and other people.
What Should I Do if a Family Member Has Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The symptoms of coronavirus (fever, cough, sore throat, and trouble breathing) can look a lot like illnesses from other viruses. If a family member has trouble breathing, go to the emergency room or call an ambulance right away.

Call your doctor if someone in your family has a fever, cough, sore throat, belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, dizziness, or just doesn’t feel well. If this person has been near someone with coronavirus or lived in or traveled to an area where lots of people have coronavirus, tell the doctor. The doctor can decide whether your family member:

  • can be treated at home
  • should come in for a visit
  • can have a telehealth visit
  • needs to be tested for coronavirus
How Do Doctors Test People for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

To test someone for coronavirus, doctors send a mucus sample from the nose and back of the throat to a lab. If the person coughs up mucus, doctors might send that for testing too.

How Can We Protect Ourselves from Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

To help protect yourself and your family from the coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Avoid people who are sick. If someone at home is sick, take precautions to prevent the virus from spreading.
  • Try to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people.
  • Follow national and local recommendations for social distancing, leaving your home, and wearing a face covering.
  • Wash your hands well and often. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Teach your kids to do the same.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Use a household cleaner or wipe to clean surfaces and objects that people touch a lot.
How Is Coronavirus (COVID-19) treated?

Doctors and researchers are working on medicines and a vaccine for coronavirus. Most people with the illness, including children, get better with rest and fluids. People who are very ill get care in a hospital with breathing help, IV fluids, and other treatments.

Should We Cancel Our Travel Plans Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Recommendations for travel are changing every day. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for the latest updates.

What Is the Future of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Experts aren’t sure what will happen. Some things that may influence what happens with coronavirus include:

  • how effective areas are at controlling its spread
  • how long it takes to develop medicines to treat coronavirus
  • how long it takes to develop a COVID-19 vaccine
Where Can I Get Updated Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Check the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) websites for up-to-date, reliable information about coronavirus.