What do I do if I’m sick?

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and show symptoms, contact your healthcare provider or County Health Department immediately.

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. 

If you are sick with a fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher) or cough, have trouble breathing, or suspect you have COVID-19, here’s how to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

 

Self-isolate at home

If you’re mildly ill with COVID-19, isolate at home during the illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.

Do not go to work, school or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

 

Stay away from others

As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.

Avoid all contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. 

Why? Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. 

 

Wear a facemask if you are sick

If you are sick, wear a facemask around other people. 

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth, which may contain the virus. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then cover your coughs and sneezes. People caring for you should wear a facemask around you. 

If you are NOT sick, do not wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). 

Why? Facemasks may be in short supply, and they should be saved for caregivers and people who are sick.

 

Practice everyday habits to prevent spreading COVID-19

See the best ways to avoid exposing other people to COVID-19.

 

See more information about what to do if you’re sick with COVID-19.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

Read about COVID-19 Symptoms.

The time between exposure to the COVID-19 virus and onset of symptoms is called the “incubation period.” The incubation period for COVID-19 is typically 2 to 14 days, although in some cases it may be longer.

If you are returning from an area with an outbreak of COVID-19 the CDC is recommending you self-quarantine for 14 days immediately upon returning from your travels, even if asymptomatic. If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath during those 14 days contact your health care professional and mention your recent travel. Your provider will work with your county public health department to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from an impacted area, you should call a health care professional and mention your close contact and their recent travel.  For the most updated travel advisories regarding COVID-19, visit: U.S. Travel Advisories and CDC Information for Travel.

Your healthcare professional will work with your county health department to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

A person who is tested will have three specimens taken: oral, nasal, and saliva. The samples will be given to the county health department, who will then either ship or deliver them to the closest state laboratory. If a specimen is tested positive, it will be identified as ‘presumptive positive’ until the result is confirmed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For more information on COVID-19 testing see CDC Tests for COVID-19.

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection. People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
Learn about COVID-19 Treatment.