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The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus. Symptoms may include a fever, a cough, and shortness of breath. It can spread through droplets from coughing and sneezing, breathing, and singing. The virus also can spread when people are in close contact with someone who is infected.
Most people have mild symptoms and can take care of themselves at home with medicine to reduce symptoms. Talk to your doctor. They might have you take medicine to help prevent serious illness. If your symptoms get worse, you may need care in a hospital. Treatment may include medicines, plus breathing support such as oxygen therapy or a ventilator.
It's important to not spread the virus to others. If you have COVID-19, wear a well-fitting mask anytime you are around other people. Isolate yourself while you are sick. Leave your home only if you need to get medical care or testing.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
There are many high-risk health problems that can make a COVID-19 illness more serious. And as experts learn more about COVID-19, more health problems or conditions may be added to the list.
High-risk health problems may include:
The more of these health problems you have, the higher your risk for serious illness from COVID-19.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may include:
Children and teens may also have a stomachache or belly pain and may not feel like eating.
Your risk of exposure to COVID-19 is based partly on who you have been in close contact with.
Close contact with people who have COVID-19 means:
Note: Even if you're up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines, there's still a chance you can get and spread COVID-19. Talk to your doctor as soon as you can if you've had close contact with someone who has symptoms or a positive test for COVID-19. You will need a COVID-19 test. Wear a mask around other people for a full 10 days. Avoid travel and stay away from people at high risk for serious illness. Watch for symptoms.
Serious symptoms may include:
Symptoms of MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children) may affect children and teens younger than 21 years old.
MIS-C symptoms can occur in a child or teen who in the past few months either had COVID-19 or was in close contact with someone who had COVID-19.
You may not have known that your child or teen had COVID-19.
MIS-C symptoms may include:
Emergency symptoms may include:
Based on your answers, you may need care or testing.
Most people have a mild illness and are able to recover without medical care.
Call your doctor or a local health clinic today to see if you need care or testing. If you are told to go to a care center, wear a mask.
If you are not up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines OR you have symptoms (even if you are fully vaccinated and boosted):
If you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines and don't have symptoms, OR you tested positive for the COVID virus in the last 90 days and don't have symptoms, follow all of the instructions in the list above. But you may not need to stay home and separate yourself from others. Ask your doctor.
If you live in group housing, such as a community shelter, be sure to follow instructions from the group housing staff. They can tell you how to stay safer in the shelter and how to keep others safe.
If you develop symptoms or your symptoms become worse, answer the symptom checker questions again or call your doctor or a local health clinic. You may need care.
Based on your answers, you need to contact occupational health or risk management.
You may need information on how to self-isolate, take care of yourself, and monitor your symptoms.
Based on your answers, you need to follow all instructions in the public health notification.
Based on your answers, you do not need to stay separate from others or get tested at this time unless required by your doctor, employer, travel authorities, or local health authorities.
To protect yourself and others:
If you're not up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines, you need to take extra precautions, such as wearing a mask in indoor public areas and in crowded outdoor areas.
If you're up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines, there's still a chance you can get and spread COVID-19 and not have any symptoms. Your risk for getting or spreading COVID-19 depends on the level of community risk, such as the number of positive cases and/or hospitalizations in the area where you live. If you live in an area where COVID-19 is spreading quickly, wear a well-fitting mask in indoor public areas. You may also want to wear a mask if you:
Some people are at a higher risk for getting very sick or dying from COVID-19 because of where they live or work. People who don't have access to health care are also at a higher risk. This also includes people from racial and ethnic minority groups, as well as people with disabilities.
Be sure to follow all instructions from the CDC and your local health authorities. These may include stay-at-home orders, guidelines for social distancing and masks, and information about access to health care, COVID-19 testing, and other essential services.
Based on your answers:
If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 AND you don't have symptoms AND you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines or you tested positive for the COVID virus in the last 90 days and have recovered, you don't need to stay in the place where you live or separate yourself from others.
If you have a positive test OR if you have symptoms OR if you are not up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines but were exposed, the instructions below are for you.
If you develop symptoms (these could include a fever, a cough, or trouble breathing), or if your symptoms become worse, answer the symptom checker questions again or call your doctor or a local health clinic. You may need care.
If you have questions about COVID-19 testing, ask your doctor or go to cdc.gov to use the COVID-19 Viral Testing Tool. If you have questions, go to cdc.gov to check the Quarantine and Isolation Calculator.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need to contact your residential caregivers or correctional or detention facility authorities.
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now. Tell them you are worried about having COVID-19.
Wear a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Most people who get COVID-19 will recover with time and home care. Here are some things to know if you're caring for someone who's sick.
Common symptoms include a fever, coughing, and feeling short of breath. Urge the person to get extra rest and drink plenty of fluids to replace fluids lost from fever.
To reduce a fever, offer acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). It may also help with muscle aches. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
The person may need medical care if they're getting sicker (for example, if it's hard to breathe). But call the doctor's office before you go. They can tell you what to do.
Call 911 or emergency services if the person has any of these symptoms:
Some people are more likely to get very sick and need medical care. Call the doctor as soon as symptoms start or the person tests positive for COVID-19. This is especially important if the person you're caring for is not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, is over 65, smokes, or has a serious health problem like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or an immune system problem. They may need medicine to prevent serious illness.
Call a doctor if any of the following occur during self-care at home:
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared for your appointment.
Current as of:
June 28, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Heather Quinn MD - Family MedicineLesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: June 28, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
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