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Information & Home Care Instructions

Diagnosis

COVID-19 is caused by a virus called Coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a common cause of the common cold.  COVID-19 is a novel (newly discovered virus) Most of those infected will have a limited and mild case.  It will feel more like a cold.  Most people who become infected with COVID-19 will be able to care for themselves at home.  Currently there is no specific anti-viral treatment for COVID-19, and there is no vaccine at this time.  Antibiotics such as penicillin do not kill viruses.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Typical COVID-19 symptoms include fever, muscle aches, cough and shortness of breath that can last for two weeks or even longer. 

Preventing Spread

COVID-19 is mostly spread through person-to-person close contact (within about 6 feet).   Small droplets from coughing and sneezing can enter the mouth and lungs of those nearby. It is also possible that infection can happen by touching a surface or object that has virus on it such as a table or door knob and then touching their own eyes, mouth or nose, but this is not the main cause of spread.

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest) and especially with coughing. Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this, but this is not thought to be the main cause of spread.

COVID-19 appears to spread easily

Following the recommendations listed below will help to prevent the spread of the virus

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Social Distancing (6 feet rule between each person)
  • Avoid people who are sick 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe-includes computer and phone
  • CDC does not recommend facemask use for those people who are well
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Wash especially after using the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Treatments

In general, follow these three basic rules:

  • Keep warm and rest as much as possible. If you feel like resting, you should.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Food is not as important since appetite will return when you are well.
  • For fever, take Tylenol or Motrin in normal doses (see label on the bottle).
  • If cough is present: Humidification and drinking lots of fluids helps to moisten and loosen up sticky mucus. Non-prescription drugs designed to suppress cough, such as Delysm, Robitussin, are occasionally helpful. If you use an inhaler, you might need to use it more often.
  • If throat is sore: Gargle with warm water (1/2 tsp salt in 1/2 glass of water). Try throat lozenges to help ease the pain of swallowing.  Humidification of the air you breathe (use vaporizer, pans of evaporating water, or steaming tub or shower) and lots of fluids help.
  • If temperature is elevated: Fluids are doubly important. Fever medicine (such as Tylenol or Motrin) should control temperature. Persistent temperature elevation of 103-104 degrees is a danger sign.
  • If nausea and/or diarrhea are present: Eat only clear liquids, soups, or juices as tolerated. Remember fluids are important to prevent dehydration.

If your symptoms worsen call your doctor, the JCU Health Center (216-397-4349) or the Ohio Department of Health (1-833-427-5634) for further instructions, especially if you notice:

  • Persistent temperature elevation greater than 100.4 degrees despite fever medication
  • Bloody sputum or increasing chest pain
  • Increasing difficulty getting your breath
  • Stiff neck preventing bending neck and placing chin on chest

More information is available for you through this link:

1. Stay Home and Call a Health Care Provider

Unless it is an emergency, to reduce your risk of catching or spreading illness, stay home if you feel sick, even if your symptoms are mild. Do not go to work, school or public places, and avoid public transportation.

If your symptoms are severe or you feel like you need medical care, call before you go to a doctor’s office, urgent care center or emergency room. Describe your symptoms over the phone.

If you have a medical emergency, call 911 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms and recent travel history.

2. Answer Questions to Determine Your Risk

When you call a health care facility, you will be asked about your risks for COVID-19. Risk factors include recent travel to certain countries or areas of the U.S., or exposure to an infected person.

Health provider may ask:

  • Have you had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus? (Close contact means having been within 6 feet of that person for an extended time, or being exposed to their cough or sneeze.)
  • Do you have a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing?
  • Has a public health officer said you were potentially exposed to COVID-19?

3. Follow Your Health Care Provider’s Instructions

Based on your answers to these questions, the care provider will provide instructions over the phone. You will be told if you need to be evaluated, and if so, what to do next. Based on your risk for COVID-19, your health care provider may recommend that you:

  • Continue to monitor your health and call back if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms.
  • Stay home and await further instructions.
  • Report to a designated medical care facility for evaluation and treatment. It’s best to go alone to your appointment. Do not bring children or other family members unless you need assistance.
  • Go to a clinic or emergency department if you have more severe symptoms, such as higher fever and severe shortness of breath.

4. Practice Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

  • If you do leave your home to go to a care facility, wear a mask so your coughs and sneezes are less likely to infect others. (Masks are NOT recommended for healthy people in the general population.)
  • Wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) after sneezing, blowing your nose, coughing or using the bathroom, and before preparing or eating food.
  • If you cough or sneeze, do so into the bend of your elbow, not your hand. Or use a tissue, and then throw it away immediately afterward.
  • At home, clean often-touched surfaces such as doors and doorknobs, cabinet handles, bathroom hardware, tabletops, phones, tablets and keyboards regularly with disinfectant.

5. Stay Calm

The possibility of having a contagious illness is scary, but doctors, nurses and other caregivers are learning more about COVID-19 every day. They are working together with national and international agencies to identify and provide care to patients while avoiding spread of the illness in the community.

How to discontinue home isolation

  • People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (home isolated) can stop home isolation under the following conditions:
    • If you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
      1. You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
        AND
      2. other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
        AND
      3. at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
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