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.

COVID-19 Symptoms Fever
COVID-19 Symptoms Cough
COVID-19 Symptoms Shortness of Breath
COVID-19 CDC Self-Checker

If you have symptoms or questions about if you need to seek medical care or be tested, refer to the CDC’s "Self-Checker" tool (click here):

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 call 911 to get medical attention immediately, and call Davie County Division of Public Health. Emergency warning signs include*:


  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick

Stay home except to get medical care

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.

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.

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with the person who is sick should not stay in the same room with them, or they should wear a facemask if they enter a room with the person who is sick.

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: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
  • Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

  • Clean and disinfect: Practice routine cleaning of high touch surfaces. (High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.)
  • Disinfect areas with bodily fluids: Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
  • Household cleaners: Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Seek medical attention: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).
  • Call your doctor: Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.
  • Wear a facemask when sick: Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
  • Alert health department: Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

Caring for Yourself at Home

10 Steps to Care for Yourself at Home with COVID-19

Caring for Someone Sick at Home

Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and should recover at home.* Care at home can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

*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 are caring for someone at home, monitor for emergency signs, prevent the spread of germs, treat symptoms, and carefully consider when to end home isolation.

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.

Emergency Warning Signs of COVID-19

Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible.

  • If possible, have them use a separate bathroom.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, towels, and bedding
  • If facemasks are available, have them wear a facemask when they are around people, including you.
  • It the sick person can’t wear a facemask, you should wear one while in the same room with them, if facemasks are available.
  • If the sick person needs to be around others (within the home, in a vehicle, or doctor’s office), they should wear a facemask.

Prevent the spread of germs:

  • Follow "Prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick" guidance from above.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly.
    • If laundry is soiled, wear disposable gloves and keep the soiled items away from your body while laundering. Wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.
  • Avoid having any unnecessary visitors.
  • For any additional questions about their care, contact their healthcare provider or Davie County Division of Public Health (336)753-6550. 

Provide symptom treatment: 

  • Make sure the sick person drinks a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and rests at home.
  • Over-the-counter medicines may help with symptoms.
  • For most people, symptoms last a few days and get better after a week.

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 7 days since symptom onset 

and 

  • At least 72 hours after symptom resolution (absence of fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and improvement in respiratory symptoms)


For more information refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services