What to Do Once You’ve Been Diagnosed with COVID-19: The Critical Next Steps
With the latest variants moving quickly through populations around the United States, the chances of catching the COVID-19 virus are increasing. If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, there are several steps you should take to prevent spreading it to others and help boost your own recovery.
Isolate yourself in your sick room
Since the virus spreads through the air, it’s wise to isolate yourself so that you won’t be breathing near your family. If you need to leave your room for the bathroom or kitchen, you should always wear a mask to avoid spreading COVID to the people in your home.
When you leave your room, do not use products and items the rest of your family uses. Keep your toothbrush separate from everyone else’s, and put your utensils in the dishwasher, so your family doesn’t have to touch them.
You should also wash your hands before and after you touch surfaces. You can spray disinfectant on surfaces you’ve touched to protect your family further.
Keep your home clean
Once you’ve received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, it’s essential to keep your home clean. Some people hire professional COVID cleaning services to clean high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, bathroom surfaces, and remote controls. When the cleaning company comes in, you should isolate yourself in your sick room.
Pay attention to your symptoms
Once you’ve received a diagnosis, you must monitor your symptoms. You might have mild symptoms and not need any medical care. However, your symptoms could also worsen, requiring you to visit the emergency room.
Your health care provider can help you with emergency services if your symptoms worsen. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, you should seek care:
- Difficulty breathing
- Bluish lips, fingers, or face
- Chest pain
These symptoms might represent more severe problems developing due to your diagnosis, and it’s vital to seek treatment for them.
Isolate until your symptoms go away
Once you’ve tested positive, you should isolate yourself until your symptoms go away, or you can consistently receive negative test results. With more available rapid COVID tests, taking at-home tests is more manageable than visiting a pharmacy and risking transmission.
Before you leave your sick room, your fever should be gone without needing ibuprofen or other fever-reducing medication. Your workplace might ask you to stay at home for five to ten days, depending on your COVID testing status.
Open windows and close doors
Getting well and protecting your family should be your priority if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19. One way you can do that is by staying in your sick room with the door closed. You can also help your family by opening the windows to bring fresh air into your home. The increased air circulation may make it easier for you to breathe as well.
Stay away from your pets
Along with isolating yourself from your family, you should also keep away from your pets. Domestic animals can catch and spread COVID. You might be tempted to seek comfort from your pets, but it’s wise to stay away from them when you aren’t feeling well.
Speak to your health care provider
If you’ve tested positive, you should take the time to inform your primary care physician. The office will help you decide what your next steps are, and they will alert your health department to trace spread in your community. Your provider can also help you arrange emergency services and order prescriptions for breathing problems or other issues that arise.
Taking care of yourself and protecting your family can slow the spread of the COVID virus and its variants. If you’ve tested positive, take care of yourself by isolating yourself from your family and pets.