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Getting Better When You're Sick

Presented by Contra Costa Health and Kaiser Permanente Diablo

Contra Costa Health Services logo

Last updated: 1/5/2023

Most people who get sick can safely recover at home without needing to visit a doctor’s office or hospital. Learn the symptoms that require medical care and how to get care over the phone, virtually or in person.

How to Get Better at Home 

Stay Home

Avoid spreading illness to others by staying home.

  • You can treat most cold, flu and COVID-19 symptoms from the comfort of your home.

  • Get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids and take over-the-counter medication to relieve fever and discomfort.

  • Separate yourself from others in your home, if possible. If you can't separate yourself from others, wear a mask when around them.

Follow Self-Care Tips

Test for COVID-19 and Flu

Take a COVID-19 home test or visit a testing site to test for COVID-19 and the flu.

If you test positive for COVID-19:

  • Follow isolation instructions to prevent getting others sick

  • Get treatment, especially if you are 50 years and older or at higher risk for severe illness

    • Oral antiviral medication is available for COVID-19 and flu, which may help you recover faster and avoid serious illness

    • Don’t delay, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Oral antiviral medication works best when started right away.

    • Click for options on how to get a prescription

More Information

24/7 Advice Nurse



Cold and Flu


Better at Home

When to Contact Your Medical Provider

If you have an urgent or immediate concern, start by calling an advice nurse or contacting your doctor’s office. They will guide you to timely, convenient care options – from 24/7 advice and quick online e-visits to urgent care and other appointments.

  • Call for medical advice if:

    • You seem to be getting much sicker

    • You have a fever or cough that improves but then returns or worsens

    • Your chronic medical condition is worsening

  • 24/7 Advice Nurse Call Lines:

When to Call Med Provide
Stock your medicine cabinet
Stay home if you're sick

When to Get Urgent or Emergency Care: Symptoms to Not Ignore

Hospitals and ambulances are especially impacted during the winter virus season. To make sure our health systems can provide timely responses for true medical emergencies, only call 911 or go to the hospital if your need for care is truly an emergency.

Patients visiting emergency departments may also need to wait longer depending on the circumstances at the time they arrive and the severity of their illness or injury.

The following symptoms may require emergency care:

  • Serious breathing problems

  • Chest pain

  • Fast resting heartbeat (120+ beats per minute)

  • Bluish lips, face, skin or fingernails

  • Severe muscle pain

  • Severe dehydration

  • High fever not controlled by fever-reducing medicine

Urgent or Emergency

Communications Toolkit

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