COVID-19 Infection: What You Should Know
- You or your child have been diagnosed as probably having COVID-19 OR
- You or your doctor suspect COVID-19 because it is widespread in your community and you have (or your child has) developed symptoms that match (cough and/or fever).
- You (or your child) probably did not receive a lab test for COVID-19. It doesn’t matter.
- The most common symptoms are fever and cough.
- Other, less common symptoms are body aches, chills, diarrhea, headache, runny nose, and sore throat.
- Most infections are mild, especially in children.
Treatment of Symptoms
- The treatment is the same whether you have COVID-19, influenza or some other respiratory virus.
- The only difference for COVID-19 is you need to stay on home isolation until you recover. Reason: You want to protect other people from getting it. The elderly and people with serious health problems can die from COVID-19.
- Treat the symptoms that are bothering you the most.
- There is no anti-viral medicine for treating COVID-19.
- Antibiotics are not helpful for viral infections.
- You don’t need to call or see your doctor unless you develop trouble breathing or become worse in any other way.
Home Isolation Is Needed
- Isolation means separating sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. That means Stay at home. Also called Stay in place.
- Isolate the sick patient. Reason: They are contagious and can spread their infection to others.
- Other family members should also stay at home on quarantine. Living with a suspected COVID-19 patient implies close contact has occurred.
- Do Not allow any visitors (such as friends).
- Do Not go to school or work.
- Do Not go to stores, restaurants, places of worship or other public places.
- Avoid public transportation or ride sharing.
- The patient needs to stay at home, but does not need to be confined to a single room.
- Preventing spread of respiratory infections within a home is nearly impossible. The sick person should try to avoid very close contact with other family members. That includes hugging, kissing, sitting next to or sleeping in the same bed. None of this is realistic for young children.
- For fever above 102 F (39 C), you may use acetaminophen or ibuprofen if the patient is uncomfortable. There are no proven reasons to avoid ibuprofen.
- For fevers 100-102 F (37.8 to 39 C), fever medicines are not needed. Reason: fever turns on your body’s immune system. Fever helps fight the infection. Exception: if the patient also has pain, treat it.
- Fluids: offer cool fluids in unlimited amounts. Reason: prevent dehydration. Staying well hydrated helps the body sweat and give off heat.
Fluids – Stay Well-hydrated
- Drink lots of fluids. Water is best.
- Goal: Keep the patient well hydrated.
- It loosens up any phlegm in the lungs. Then it’s easier to cough up.
- It helps the body sweat and give off heat.
How to Protect Others – When You/Your Child are Sick
- Stay home from school or work if you are sick. Your doctor or local health department will tell you when it is safe to return.
- Cough and sneeze into your shirt sleeve or inner elbow. Don’t cough into your hand or the air.
- If available, sneeze into a tissue and throw it into a trash can..
- Wash hands often with soap and water. After coughing or sneezing are important times.
- Don’t share glasses, plates or eating utensils.
- Wear a face mask when around others.
- Always wear a face mask (if available) if you have to leave your home (such as going to a medical facility). Always call first to get approval and careful directions.
- Breathing difficulty occurs
- You or your child become worse
Author: Barton Schmitt, MD, FAAP
Copyright: Copyright 2020. Updated 3/23/2020
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.