Sick with COVID-19? Here’s how to take care of yourself.
BY KATIE CAVENDER
You were pre-screened for coronavirus (COVID-19), you were referred to a Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) Assess and Test location, and now you have the results: positive for COVID-19.
You’re probably thinking to yourself – now what? Here’s a little guidance.
Care for your health
Take time to care for yourself – stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. If you have a sore throat, taking a hot shower or using a humidifier in your room may provide temporary relief.
Whether sick or healthy, it’s critical for all of us to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since you have a confirmed case of COVID-19, you need to now practice isolation. That means you should avoid people as much as possible, even within your home. Isolate yourself to a certain room and use your own bathroom if possible. This will help prevent your family members from getting sick or becoming carriers of the virus.
You might begin to feel stress from being separated from loved ones and your normal routine. Make sure to prioritize your mental health along with your physical health. There are things you can do while in isolation to help pass the time:
Make video calls
Stream your favorite shows
Listen to podcasts
Practice hobbies that don’t require physical activity (knitting, puzzles, painting)
Read a book
Only leave your home if you have a medical emergency. Don’t go to social gatherings and avoid public transportation, including ride share services.
If you need to be around other people, you should wear a face mask. Be cautious around pets and try to avoid contact if possible. If you must be in contact with a pet for feeding, be sure to have a mask on the entire time. Your pet cannot get sick with COVID-19, but he/she can carry the virus causing other people in your house to get sick.
If you are not able to wear a medical face mask, then people who live with you should not stay in the same room as you – or they should wear a medical face mask if they enter your room. Whenever possible, they should remain at least six feet away from you.
Clean the surfaces in your “sick room” every day, and try not to let another person do the cleaning for you. If a caregiver needs to clean for you, that person should wear a mask and enter the room as little as possible. If a caregiver needs to clean your bathroom, have him/her wait as long as possible after you last used it.
Monitor your symptoms
Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. If you have questions about when it is safe to discontinue isolation, or if your condition worsens – physically or mentally – call your provider’s office to schedule an LVHN Video Visit. You’ll receive guidance about next steps from the comfort of your own home.
If your COVID-19 symptoms need emergency care, drive to the closest emergency room or call 911 and let them know you have COVID-19. Try to put on a mask before medical professionals arrive. Symptoms requiring emergency attention include:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion or inability to arouse
Bluish lips or face
This list is not all inclusive. Please consult a medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
If you have any questions, call our 24/7 nurse hotline at 888-402-LVHN (5846).
For more information about caring for someone who has COVID-19, read this article from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
To get COVID-19 facts and stay up to date, visit LVHN.org/COVID19.