Samantha Runstrom, M.D.
Birthing Centers, Family Medicine
With current restrictions and stay-at-home orders, now is the time to focus on minimizing potential exposures and spread of COVID-19. One way to accomplish this is by managing any new viral symptoms at home.
Most people with suspected or known COVID-19 symptoms can manage their symptoms at home — similar to other viruses or illnesses — to further minimize spread of the virus. But what does managing symptoms at home mean?
Here are 10 things you should do to speed your recovery and prevent the illness from spreading to others you live with:
1. Stay home.
Do not go to school or work, and do not shop. Designate one member in the household to be the shopper to minimize multiple people in your household from having to go out in public. If you must venture away from home, do not use public transportation or ride-sharing vehicles.
2. Sneeze or cough into your elbow rather than into your hands.
This stops germs from infecting others you are in contact with. Put used tissues in the wastebasket.
3. Wash your hands often.
Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice as a guideline. You also can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
4. Get plenty of rest.
Your body is fighting an infection and requires more rest than normal.
5. Drink plenty of fluids.
Being hydrated lessens congestion and allows mucus to be cleared more easily out of your body. It also helps your kidneys filter waste and toxins.
6. Stay away from other people in your home.
Remain in one room and use a separate bathroom, if available. If you need to be around other people, wear a face mask.
7. Avoid sharing personal items.
This includes dishes, towels and bedding that could spread infection to other people.
8. Clean household surfaces.
Use household cleaning products according to the instructions on counters, doorknobs, light switches and other surfaces that are often touched.
9. Monitor your symptoms.
Track your temperature, and note when new symptoms appear so you accurately report this information to your health care provider.
10. Call first.
If you have a medical appointment, call before leaving for your appointment to let your health care provider know you have or may have COVID-19. You will receive additional instructions at that time.