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I’m sick and worried about the coronavirus: Do I stay at home, call my physician or do I need to visit the ER?
General Wellness

I’m sick and worried about the coronavirus: Do I stay at home, call my physician or do I need to visit the ER?

By Your Health blog staff
Posted: March 12, 2020

Worry and concern over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are widespread throughout our community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk for most people to contract the virus is low, and the majority of COVID-19 patients experience very mild symptoms, but Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare wants to make sure you are informed.

People who are mildly ill, even those with COVID-19, are not likely to require hospitalization. Many will be able to stay at home in isolation during their illness, according to the CDC. 

That means most people won’t need to go to their local Emergency Department simply because they feel sick. In fact, if you don’t meet the COVID-19 screening criteria, you are advised to stay at home and reserve medical resources for those who are at risk or thought to be at risk.

We are going to outline different situations and recommended actions from medical professionals. But first, it’s important to know the symptoms for the novel coronavirus.

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness – with the symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.

You can find addition information about COVID-19 symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQs and more in our Coronavirus Resource Center.

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What should I do if I’m feeling ill?

People who are sick should remain at home, except to get urgent medical care. That means avoiding public areas and public transportation — no work, no school, no public areas, no ride-sharing, etc.

As much as possible, you should stay away from others. Try to designate yourself to a specific room and use a separate bathroom from other family members, if possible.

There are safety measures you can take to avoid the spread of COVID-19. They include:

Wash your hands often — with soap and warm water — for 20 seconds

Practice social distancing, avoiding handshakes

Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues — or use your inner elbow to shield

Wipe down frequently touched surfaces

These measures are outlined in further detail in Steps You Can Take to Prevent the Spread and Avoid the Coronavirus.

What if my symptoms are getting worse?

If you feel a trip to the doctor is a necessity or if your illness is getting worse, call ahead to the facility you’ll be visiting.

If you have an appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them you have — or think you may have — COVID-19. This heads up will help the provider take steps to keep their staff and other patients from getting exposed. Please follow the instructions you are given over the phone.

In a medical emergency where you can’t get yourself to a doctor, call 911 and make sure to tell them you have or are being evaluated for COVID-19.