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  • Sofia Vartanian

COVID-19 Recovery

What do you do if you contract COVID-19?

COVID-19 -- the cause of a global pandemic that has put the world on pause, anxiously watching as the media reports the horrors and statistics due to this deadly virus. Granted, it is important to stress the harsh reality of this disease and its devastating effects. However, it is equally important to understand what to do if you contract the virus. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are not asymptomatic, you’ll soon experience a number of flu-like symptoms. The intent of this post is to provide some useful information on how to approach taking care of yourself with COVID-19.

First off, you should get a few things that will help monitor and stabilize basic vital signs. For example, a thermometer (preferably touchless), an oxygen blood monitor, electrolyte infused drinks such as Gatorade, a reusable water bottle to keep hydrated, decongestants, and some over the counter fever reducers like acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) are crucial essentials. It is important to note that most of these items can be delivered to your home, so please opt to order online or have a trusted family member/friend deliver these items rather than going to the store and potentially infecting others.

Next, follow the guidance put forth by the CDC, and further described by the Mayo Clinic, for dealing with the COVID-19 infection. The list of steps for dealing with the illness are as follows:


Things to Know

  • Don’t leave your home with the exception of getting medical care.

  • Follow the directions of your medical care professionals and check in with your doctor via telehealth.

  • Isolate yourself from others and pets to prevent passing on the virus.

  • If you must leave your room wear a mask (unless you are under the age of 2)

  • Keep up your personal hygiene such as disposing of your trash properly, taking showers, brushing your teeth, and washing your hands

  • Clean highly touched areas such as kitchen appliances, door knobs, toilets, etc

At Home Treatment

  • If you have aches and pains, or running a mild fever you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol).

  • Monitor your temperature a few times throughout the day

  • Monitor your blood oxygen level a few times a day using a blood oxygen meter (they are about $20 on average depending on the model, and they can also measure heart rate)

  • Get plenty of sleep to reduce stress on your body.

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and electrolytes.

  • Eat a balance and healthy diet to refuel your system.

  • If possible, and safe to do so, get some exercise!

Feel like your symptoms are getting worse? According to the CDC, be aware of the following WARNING signs:

  • Problems with breathing

  • Pain or pressure in your chest

  • Confusion

  • High temperature or prolonged fevers

  • Bluish lips or face

  • Low blood oxygen level

***If you experience any of the WARNING signs, call your doctor and follow their instructions. In the case of an emergency, call 911 immediately. ***

As stated by the UC Davis Health Newsroom, symptoms can appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure and tend to peak after 5-7 days. On the bright side, symptoms lessen after 10-14 days from the onset of symptoms. Lastly, as mentioned by the UC Davis Health Newsroom: “There is already so much anxiety about the pandemic, don’t add in unrealistic demands on yourself” (UC Davis Health Newsroom). Above all don’t panic -- you are not alone, and a doctor is just a phone call away. Just remember, take it one step at a time. You can get through this!