COVID-19: What To Do if You Are Sick
Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and should recover at home*.
Note: Older adults and people of any age with certain serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness and should seek care as soon as symptoms start.
If you have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or have had close contact with a known positive case regardless of symptoms, seek testing:
Call your primary care doctor to ask about testing. If you do not have a doctor, call the following locations:
Davie County Health Department, COVID-19 Call Center: (336)753-6550
Wake Forest Baptist Urgent Care Center Mocksville: (336) 713-0555
Davie Medical Center: COVID-19 Number (336) 702-6843, Main Number (336) 998-1300
Prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
Stay home except to get tested or 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.
- Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, 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 trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
- Avoid public areas and public transportation: Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering.
- See COVID-19 and Animals if you have questions about pets.
Monitor your symptoms
- Common symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea or other symptoms. Symptoms may appear differently in children. Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means you should get medical attention.
- Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider, and contact Davie County, Division of Public Health (Davie County Health Department).
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Call ahead: If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
If you are sick wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth
- You should wear a cloth face covering, over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or animals, including pets (even at home). Note, children under age 2 and anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the covering without help should not wear face coverings.
- You don’t need to wear the cloth face covering if you are alone. If you can’t put on a cloth face covering (because of trouble breathing for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.
Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, medical-grade facemasks are reserved for healthcare workers and some first responders. You may need to improvise a cloth face covering using a scarf or bandana.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined trash can.
- Wash hands: Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean your hands often
- Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
- Soap and water: Soap and water are the best option if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid sharing personal household items
- Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
- 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. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but not your bedroom and bathroom.
- High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
- If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and wait as long as possible after the sick person has used the 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 detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
- Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. Many also recommend precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
- Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A full list of disinfectants can be found here.
- Complete Disinfection Guidance
How to discontinue home isolation
You can leave home after these three things have happened:
- You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
- other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
- at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
For ALL people
- When leaving the home, keep a distance of 6 feet from others and wear a cloth face covering when around other people.
Follow guidance provided by the healthcare provider and local health department. The decision to stop home isolation will be made in consultation with their healthcare provider and state and local health departments. Local decisions depend on local circumstances.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the operator that you have or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before medical help arrives.
Caring for Yourself at Home
Caring for Someone Sick at Home
If you are caring for someone with COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings, follow this advice to protect yourself and others. Learn what to do when someone has symptoms of COVID-19 or when someone has been diagnosed with the virus. This information also pertains to people who have tested positive but are not showing symptoms.
*Note: Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions, such as chronic lung disease, serious heart conditions, or diabetes, are at higher risk for developing more severe illness from COVID-19. People at higher risk of severe illness should call their doctor as soon as symptoms start.
COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If you are in close contact with someone who is sick, call the Davie County Division of Public Health, (Davie County Health Department) about testing.
Provide support and help cover basic needs
- Help the person who is sick follow their doctor’s instructions for care and medicine.
- For most people, symptoms last a few days and people feel better after a week.
- See if over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, help the person feel better.
- Make sure the person who is sick drinks a lot of fluids and rests.
- Help them with grocery shopping, filling prescriptions, and getting other items they may need. Consider having the items delivered through a delivery service, if possible.
- Take care of their pet(s), and limit contact between the person who is sick and their pet(s) when possible.
Watch for warning signs
- Have their doctor’s phone number on hand.
- Use CDC’s self-checker tool to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.
- Call their doctor if the person keeps getting sicker. For medical emergencies, call 911 and tell the dispatcher that the person has or might have COVID-19.
People who have emergency warning signs for COVID-19 should call 911 right away. Emergency warning signs include*:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to wake up
- Bluish lips or face
*This is not every emergency symptom or sign.
Protect yourself when caring for someone who is sick
- The caregiver, when possible, should not be someone who is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Use a separate bedroom and bathroom: If possible, have the person who is sick stay in their own “sick room” or area and away from others. If possible, have the person who is sick use a separate bathroom.
- Shared space: If you have to share space, make sure the room has good air flow.
- Open the window and turn on a fan (if possible) to increase air circulation.
- Improving ventilation helps remove respiratory droplets from the air.
- Avoid having visitors: Avoid having any unnecessary visitors, especially visits by people who are at higher risk for severe illness.
Eat in separate rooms or areas:
- Stay separated: The person who is sick should eat (or be fed) in their room, if possible.
- Wash dishes and utensils using gloves and hot water: Handle any dishes, cups/glasses, or silverware used by the person who is sick with gloves. Wash them with soap and hot water or in a dishwasher.
- Clean hands after taking off gloves or handling used items.
- Do not share: Do not share dishes, cups/glasses, silverware, towels, bedding, or electronics with the person who is sick.
When to wear a cloth face cover or gloves
- Sick person:
- The person who is sick should wear a cloth face covering when they are around other people at home and out (including before they enter a doctor’s office).
- The cloth face covering helps prevent a person who is sick from spreading the virus to others. It keeps respiratory droplets contained and from reaching other people.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is not able to remove the covering without help.
- Wear gloves when you touch or have contact with blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, mucus, vomit, and urine. Throw out gloves into a lined trash can.
- A caregiver may wear a cloth face covering when caring for a person who is sick, however the protective effects (how well the cloth face covering protects healthy people from breathing in the virus) are unknown.
- To prevent getting sick, make sure you practice everyday preventive actions: clean hands often, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, nose with unwashed hands, frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.
Clean your hands often
- Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Tell everyone in the home to do the same, especially after being near the person who is sick.
- Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Hands off: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean and then disinfect around the house
- Clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces and items every day: This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics.
- Clean the area or item with soap and water if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
- Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for several minutes to kill germs. Many also recommend wearing gloves, making sure you have good air flow, and wiping or rinsing off the product after use.
- Most household disinfectants should be effective. A list of EPA-registered disinfectants can be found here.
- To clean electronics, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products. If those directions are not available, use alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol.
Bedroom and Bathroom
- If you are using a separate bedroom and bathroom: Only clean the area around the person who is sick when needed, such as when the area is soiled. This will help limit your contact with the sick person.
- If they feel up to it, the person who is sick can clean their own space. Give the person who is sick personal cleaning supplies such as tissues, paper towels, cleaners, and EPA-registered disinfectants.
- If sharing a bathroom: The person who is sick should clean and then disinfect after each use. If this is not possible, the caregiver and household member should wait as long as possible before entering the bathroom and clean and disinfect the bathroom before use.
Wash and dry laundry
- Do not shake dirty laundry.
- Wear disposable gloves while handling dirty laundry.
- Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items.
- Wash items according to the label instructions. Use the warmest water setting you can.
- Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.
- Dry laundry, on hot if possible, completely.
- Wash hands after putting clothes in the dryer.
- Clean and disinfect clothes hampers. Wash hands after.
Use lined trash can
- Place used disposable gloves and other contaminated items in a lined trash can.
- Use gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterwards.
- Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined trash can.
- If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the person who is sick.
Track your own health
- Caregivers and close contacts should monitor their health for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Trouble breathing is a more serious warning sign that you need medical attention.
- Use CDC’s self-checker tool to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.
- If you are having trouble breathing, call 911.
- Call your doctor or emergency room and tell them your symptoms before going in. They will tell you what to do
All persons with fever and respiratory symptoms (including those with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19) should isolate themselves until the below conditions are met:
- At least 10 days since first symptom, and
- At least 3 days (72 hours) without fever, without the use of fever-reducing medication, and
- Improvement in respiratory symptoms.
If you tested positive for COVID-19 but did not have symptoms, you can leave isolation after 10 days have passed since your test. If you develop symptoms after testing positive, call the Davie County Division of Public Health (Davie County Health Department) and follow the guidance above.
For more information refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.