I’m feeling sick. What should I do?
Most of the time, a sniffle, sore throat, or mild fever doesn’t set off alarm bells. But with the introduction of COVID-19 into the U.S., the Oregon Health Authority is suggesting careful vigilance for symptoms that can be tied to coronavirus.
Here’s what OHA recommends if you’re feeling under the weather:
COVID-19 and influenza have similar symptoms. Right now, influenza is still circulating in Oregon. It is a much more likely cause of cough and fever than coronavirus. The symptoms of novel coronavirus are similar to flu and other respiratory viral illnesses. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Illness can range from mild to severe.
Some people have mild symptoms. Other people can get quite sick. Rarely, people die.
If a healthcare provider thinks you may have COVID-19, he or she will first determine if you are well enough to stay home or if you need to go to a clinic or hospital. Healthcare providers may also work with local public health to arrange for testing for the virus.
Testing will likely involve a nose or throat swab, a routine blood sample and coughing up mucus, if possible. If you are seen in a clinic or hospital, you may be asked to put on a mask and make sure you keep your distance from other people.
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. The goal is to support the person who is ill, supply oxygen if needed, and help lessen the symptoms until the immune system kicks in and kills the virus. Most people with COVID-19 appear to have mild disease that doesn’t require a medical visit.
As with flu, most people can recover at home without problems. Those with fever and cough who get significant trouble breathing, or feel faint, or parents of a child who gets bluish color of the skin around the mouth should call promptly and arrange for medical evaluation or call 911.
If you are tested for COVID-19, staff from your local health department will call you. They will ask you for details about recent travel and people you have been around. Your care providers and public health staff will give you information about how to keep from spreading the virus to your family and friends.
For more frequently asked questions about coronavirus, visit the OHA COVID-19 website.