COVID-19 and Your Health (2022)

CDC is reviewing this page to align with updated guidance.

If you test positive and are an older adult or someone who is at high riskof getting very sick from COVID-19,treatment may be available. Contact a healthcare provider right away after a positive test to determine if you are eligible, even if your symptoms are mild right now. You can also visit aTest to Treat locationand, if eligible, receive a prescription from a provider. Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective.

If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you are sick:

  • Keep track of your symptoms.
  • If you havean emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), call 911.

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

Stay home for at least 5 days

  • Stay home for 5 days and isolate from others in your home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas and do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
  • Do not travel and avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis if possible.

Separate yourself from other people

As much as possible, stay in a specific roomand away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a well-fittingmask.

Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contactsknow they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.

  • SeeCOVID-19 and Animals if you have questions about pets.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, someone from the health department may call you. Answer the callto slow the spread.
(Video) COVID-19 and Your Health

Monitor your symptoms

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or other symptoms.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

When to seek emergency medical attention

Look for emergency warning signs*for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor

  • Call ahead.Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
  • If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office,and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.
(Video) The Power of Nutrition: Chronic Disease, COVID-19 and Your Health

If you are sick, wear a well-fitting mask

  • You should wear a mask if you must be around other people or animals, including pets (even at home).
  • Wear a mask with the best fit, protection, and comfort for you.
  • You don’t need to wear the mask if you are alone. If you can’t put on a mask (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.
  • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2 years, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the mask without help.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw away used tissues in a lined trash can.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Handwashing Tips

Avoid sharing personal household items

  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
  • Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
(Video) Fear of Contracting COVID-19 Can Be Dangerous to Your Health

Clean surfaces in your home regularly

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (for example, doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, and countertops) in your “sick room” and bathroom. In shared spaces, you should clean and disinfect surfaces and items after each use by the person who is ill.
  • If you are sick and cannot clean, a caregiver or other person should only clean and disinfect the area around you (such as your bedroom and bathroom) on an as needed basis. Your caregiver/other person should wait as long as possible (at least several hours) and wear a mask before entering, cleaning, and disinfecting shared spaces that you use.
  • Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
  • Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean visible dirty surfaces with household cleaners containing soap or detergent. Then, use a household disinfectant.
      • Use a product from EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
      • Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet with a disinfectant for a certain period of time (look at “contact time” on the product label).
      • You may also need to wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, depending on the directions on the product label.
      • Immediately after disinfecting, wash your handswith soap and water for 20 seconds.

COVID-19 and Your Health (1)

Take steps to improve ventilation at home

  • Improve ventilation (air flow) at home to help prevent from spreading COVID-19 to other people in your household.
  • Clear out COVID-19 virus particles in the air by opening windows, using air filters, and turning on fans in your home.
  • Use this interactive toolto learn how to improve air flow in your home.

When you can be around others after being sick with COVID-19

Deciding when you can be around others is different for different situations. Find out when you can safely end home isolation.

For any additional questions about your care, contact your healthcare provider or state or local health department.

(Video) Healthy Talk: COVID-19, the Flu, and Your Family's Health and Safety

COVID-19 and Your Health (2)

10 Things You Can Do to Manage COVID-19 at Home

Video Length: 00:01:32

[PDF - 484 KB, 1 page]

10 Things You Can Do to Manage Your COVID-19 Symptoms at Home

File Details: 484 KB, 1 page

View PDF in English
Other Languages

[PDF - 361 KB, 1 page]

Don’t Delay: Test Soon and Treat Early

File Details: 361 KB, 1 page

View PDF in English
Additional Languages

  • Travelers
  • Specific Groups of People
  • People Who Are Sick
  • Healthcare Professionals
  • Health Departments
  • Laboratories

FAQs

What are the complications of COVID-19? ›

Complications may include pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multi-organ failure, septic shock, and death.

Who are at higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19? ›

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

What are some preventative measures for COVID-19? ›

Preventive measures include physical or social distancing, quarantining, ventilation of indoor spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, hand washing, and keeping unwashed hands away from the face. The use of face masks or coverings has been recommended in public settings to minimise the risk of transmissions.

What are coronavirus diseases? ›

Coronaviruses are a group of related viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that can range from mild to lethal.

Do smokers suffer from worse COVID-19 symptoms? ›

Early research indicates that, compared to non-smokers, having a history of smoking may substantially increase the chance of adverse health outcomes for COVID-19 patients, including being admitted to intensive care, requiring mechanical ventilation and suffering severe health consequences.

Are smokers more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19? ›

Tobacco smoking is a known risk factor for many respiratory infections and increases the severity of respiratory diseases. A review of studies by public health experts convened by WHO on 29 April 2020 found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.

What are some social distancing methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19? ›

Methods include quarantines; travel restrictions; and the closing of schools, workplaces, stadiums, theatres, or shopping centres. Individuals may apply social distancing methods by staying at home, limiting travel, avoiding crowded areas, using no-contact greetings, and physically distancing themselves from others.

Why is healthy eating important for the immune system, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

While no foods or dietary supplements can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, healthy diets are important for supporting immune systems. Good nutrition can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

What are the known coronaviruses that can infect people? ›

Human coronaviruses are capable of causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS, fatality rate ~34%). SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh known coronavirus to infect people, after 229E, NL63, OC43, HKU1, MERS-CoV, and the original SARS-CoV.

What is the origin of COVID-19? ›

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. It was first isolated from three people with pneumonia connected to the cluster of acute respiratory illness cases in Wuhan. All structural features of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus particle occur in related coronaviruses in nature.

Where were first COVID-19 infections discovered? ›

The first known infections from SARS‐CoV‐2 were discovered in Wuhan, China. The original source of viral transmission to humans remains unclear, as does whether the virus became pathogenic before or after the spillover event.

What surfaces should be cleaned during the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

High-touch surfaces in these non-health care settings should be identified for priority disinfection such as door and window handles, kitchen and food preparation areas, counter tops, bathroom surfaces, toilets and taps, touchscreen personal devices, personal computer keyboards, and work surfaces.

Can COVID-19 be transmitted through food? ›

There is currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food. The virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed at temperatures similar to that of other known viruses and bacteria found in food.

What is the difference between people who have asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic COVID-19? ›

Both terms refer to people who do not have symptoms. The difference is that ‘asymptomatic’ refers to people who are infected but never develop any symptoms, while ‘pre-symptomatic’ refers to infected people who have not yet developed symptoms but go on to develop symptoms later.

Are CT scans helpful for diagnosing COVID-19? ›

Along with laboratory testing, chest CT scans may be helpful to diagnose COVID-19 in individuals with a high clinical suspicion of infection.

Can asymptomatic people transmit COVID-19? ›

Yes, infected people can transmit the virus both when they have symptoms and when they don't have symptoms. This is why it is important that all people who are infected are identified by testing, isolated, and, depending on the severity of their disease, receive medical care.

What are some preventative measures for COVID-19? ›

Preventive measures include physical or social distancing, quarantining, ventilation of indoor spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, hand washing, and keeping unwashed hands away from the face. The use of face masks or coverings has been recommended in public settings to minimise the risk of transmissions.

Can we spray disinfectants on streets and sidewalks during the COVID-19 pandemic? ›

Streets and sidewalks are not considered as routes of infection for COVID-19. Spraying disinfectants, even outdoors, can be noxious for people's health and cause eye, respiratory or skin irritation or damage.

How can physical distancing help during COVID-19 pandemic? ›

Physical distancing helps limit the spread of COVID-19 – this means we keep a distance of at least 1m from each other and avoid spending time in crowded places or in groups.

Are CT scans helpful for diagnosing COVID-19? ›

Along with laboratory testing, chest CT scans may be helpful to diagnose COVID-19 in individuals with a high clinical suspicion of infection.

Is COVID-19 caused by a virus or a bacteria? ›

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus, NOT by bacteria.

Videos

1. Impact of COVID-19 on human resources for health and policy response
(PAHO TV)
2. Your Health - COVID-19 Long Haulers
(UMMCVideos)
3. Your Health: Heart Attack & COVID-19
(UMMCVideos)
4. COVID-19 and Your Mental Health
(University of Iowa Health Care)
5. UK Experts: Taking Control of Your Health During COVID-19
(University of Kentucky)
6. Preventing COVID-19 in your workplace or while teleworking
(World Health Organization (WHO))

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