If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or develop symptoms of COVID-19 after you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should contact your doctor to see if you need to be tested. Learn more about COVID-19 illness and other symptoms here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.
If you are over the age of 60 years, are pregnant, or have medical conditions (like cancer, immunosuppression, heart, lung, or kidney disease, and diabetes) you may be at higher risk of COVID-19 complications. Call your health care provider’s office to find out if you need to be evaluated in person. They may want monitor your health more closely, and if you have symptoms, testing for COVID-19 is recommended.
If you think you are having symptoms related to COVID-19, you can also contact a free remote health monitoring program for additional guidance.
If you have tested positive for COVID- 19, or if you are suspected to have COVID-19 but have not been tested, you should follow the instructions below. You may be contacted by public health for an interview about your illness.
Manage your symptoms
Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. You can take over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen to help you feel better.
Stay home except to get medical care
You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. 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
People: 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. Additional guidance for persons who are helping to take care of you at home is available.
Animals: Do not handle pets or other animals while sick or if you have tested positive for COVID-19. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
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 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). You may need to make a cloth face covering using a scarf or bandana. 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. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2 years, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the covering without help.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water is preferred if hands are visibly dirty.
Avoid sharing personal household items
You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
Clean your hands often
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water is preferred if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. 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. See Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for more information.
Monitor your symptoms
Seek medical attention if your illness is worsening. Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. 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.
If you experience any of the following warning signs, seek immediate medical care:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
If you need immediate medical attention
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or may have COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.
Discontinuing home isolation
People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (home isolated) can leave home under the following conditions:
- If you have not had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
- You have not had a fever for at least 24 hours (that is no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) AND
- other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
- at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
- If you have had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
- You no longer have a fever (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) AND o other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
- you received two negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow CDC guidelines.
People with conditions that weaken their immune system might need to stay home longer than 10 days. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.
People who DID NOT have COVID-19 symptoms, but tested positive and have stayed home (home isolated) can leave home under the following conditions:
- If you have not had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these two things have happened:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of your first positive test AND
- you continue to have no symptoms (no cough or shortness of breath) since the test.
- If you have had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after:
- You received two negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow CDC guidelines.
Note: If you develop symptoms, follow guidance above for people with COVID19 symptoms.
Additional information for your household members, intimate partners, and caregivers is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html