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COVID-19 symptoms comparison flyer

What to Do if You're Sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and protect others from getting sick.

Steps to Help Prevent Spread if You Are Sick

Stay home except to get medical care

  • Stay home: Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. You should not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas and do not go to places where you cannot wear a mask.

  • Ask about treatment. If you test positive for COVID-19 and are age 12 or older, free treatment may be available. Contact your healthcare provider or the Contra Costa County Health Advice Nurse at (877) 661-6230 right away to talk about treatment.

  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.

  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.

Separate yourself from other people

  • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a well-fitting mask.

  • Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. A person with COVID-19 can start spreading it to others 48 hours before they have any symptoms or test positive.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Seek emergency medical attention if you develop severe COVID-19 symptoms, including:

    • Trouble breathing

    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

    • New confusion

    • Inability to wake or stay awake

    • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

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 well-fitting mask

  • You should wear a well-fitting, high-quality mask if you must be around other people or animals, including pets (even at home).

Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

  • Throw away used tissues in a lined trash can.

  • 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 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.

  • Use 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.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid sharing personal household items

  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people in your home.

  • Wash these items thoroughly with soap and water after use.

Clean all surfaces in your home regularly

  • Clean and disinfect: Practice routine cleaning of high touch surfaces, including 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.

Improve ventilation at home

  • Improve ventilation (air flow) to help prevent from spreading COVID-19 to other people in your household by opening windows, using air filters and turning on fans in your home.

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