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What to Do If You’re Sick with COVID-19

Follow CDC guidelines to care for yourself and to protect others

A Veteran using VA Video ConnectIf you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 or think you might have it, there are steps you need to follow to care for yourself and protect those at home and in your community.

Stay home and away from others

If you’re diagnosed with COVID-19, and the doctor sends you home, you need to stay home. Don’t visit any public places or use public transportation and follow your provider’s guidance about whether or when to come in for an appointment. Living in close quarters can be challenging, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance about how to quarantine at home in shared spaces. While you’re at home, make sure you hydrate and take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.

Keep an eye on your symptoms

The CDC lists some of the COVID-19 symptoms that include fever, chills, cough, muscle pain, shortness of breath, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell.

If you, or someone you know, is showing any of these or other symptoms, discuss with your provider. If you have trouble breathing, feel pressure in your chest, are more confused than usual, or have bluish lips or face, call 911 immediately and tell the operator that you or someone you know may have COVID-19.

Remember: Please call your doctor before you go to a medical facility for any symptoms that are concerning to you. You can learn what steps to take to protect yourself and other patients.

If you’re not sure about your symptoms, VA’s Annie text messaging service can help you monitor them and advise you when to contact your VA care team or your facility’s advice nurse. The messages also provide general wellness tips and steps you can take to protect yourself. You can subscribe to Annie coronavirus precautions messages yourself, or ask your VA care team to assign it to you.

When to stop home isolation

If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 and are nervous about leaving home, follow your provider’s guidance. Your provider may recommend following CDC’s guidance, which states:

  • You haven’t had a fever for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines, AND

  • You have an improvement in your respiratory symptoms, AND

  • It has been at least 10 days since the first appearance of any symptoms.

Your provider may also recommend that you stay home until you have two negative COVID-19 tests.

Keeping in touch with your health care team for non-emergencies is easy with Secure Messaging when you sign in to My HealtheVet.

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Updated December 29, 2020