As the omicron variant continues to drive COVID case numbers upward, some individuals may be faced with the prospect of testing positive for coronavirus for the first time, and may not know what to do if that diagnosis comes.
In the state of Illinois, there have been nearly 2.6 million cases of COVID-19 reported in the last two years, and the last month has seen the highest case numbers of the entire pandemic in the state.
Fortunately, most cases of COVID-19 end up producing mild symptoms, and there are a series of steps that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you take if you test positive for the virus.
Stay at Home as Much as Possible
The first tip is the most obvious tip, as the CDC recommends that you stay home and avoid public areas. Most individuals only experience mild illness with COVID, and can recover at home without medical care.
As omicron COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain high across the U.S., health officials broke down how to best wear a face covering in order to prevent contracting the virus. NBC 5’s Kate Chappell reports.
Utilize the Right Medications and Practices to Help Cope With Symptoms
While staying at home, there are over-the-counter medications that can help patients deal with symptoms, but there are also other remedies that can prove helpful.
According to Dr. Emily Landon, infectious disease expert at the University of Chicago, Tylenol, Advil, Aleve and Motrin can all be helped to reduce fever, which is a common symptom of COVID.
Body-aches have also been reported with COVID, and those medications can help with those as well.
Individuals are also advised to use chamomile or herbal tea, or hot water with lemon, to help cope with cough and sore throat. Some other over-the-counter medications haven’t been proven to be effective at easing those specific symptoms, according to Landon, but throat lozenges and decongestant balms can help.
For other tips to help deal with symptoms, you can visit our full guide here.
If a person needs to be around people or animals, even inside their home, they are encouraged to wear a mask.
Separate Yourself From Other People
Individuals who test positive for COVID are urged to stay away from people and pets in their homes as much as possible. If possible, use a separate bathroom, and try to stay in a specific room as often as possible.
Inform Close Contacts of Your Diagnosis
If you have interacted with other people in the days leading up to your diagnosis, you are encouraged to inform them about your positive test so they can take proper steps.
Infected individuals can start spreading COVID up to two days before they experience any symptoms, according to CDC research.
Monitor Your Symptoms Closely
While most cases of COVID tend to be mild, there are specific warning signs that could indicate the illness is taking a serious turn.
-Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
-Inability to wake or stay awake
-Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds
While this list is not all-inclusive of the serious symptoms that can develop, it is highly advised that you call 911 or the hospital to alert them that you or someone you know is seeking treatment for COVID-19, so that proper precautions can be taken.
Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains when people should get tested for COVID-19.
How Long Do You Need to Isolate?
The CDC recently cut in half the amount of time that individuals are recommended to isolate after a positive COVID test, with individuals now recommended to isolated for at least five days.
After that five-day period, if an individual no longer has symptoms, then they can leave isolation, but are still advised to wear a mask for at least five days after that date.
If a patient still has symptoms, then they are advised to stay home until they feel better. After that occurs, then individuals are advised to still wear a mask for five days after that date.
Individuals are encouraged to seek out an antigen test after the five-day period.
A full list of details about quarantine and isolation can be found here.