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Coronavirus safety: top tips for prevention, treatment, and easing symptoms during a quarantine

Learn about: Coronavirus prevention tips | Coronavirus treatment | Easing symptoms during a quarantine


Whether you’re experiencing symptoms, hunkered down in quarantine, or doing some last-minute shopping for supplies, the good news is we’re in this together—and can all do our part to help stop the spread of coronavirus and make this situation a little bit better. Knowledge is powerful, especially in times like this, so we’ve put together this list of top tips that can help keep you and other people safe during the pandemic.


Coronavirus prevention tips

Even if you aren’t feeling sick, these tips can help you, your loved ones, and your community stay safe:

  • Cover your sneeze or cough. Avoid coughing directly into your hands. Use a tissue or cough into your elbow. Discard used tissues immediately.
  • Wash your hands often. Routinely wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, and using the restroom—and before eating or preparing food. If you can’t conveniently access soap or you’re all out of it, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Keep a distance from and limit contact with other people. Self-quarantining and social distancing helps limit interaction with other people and helps prevent the spread of coronavirus. The CDC recommends maintaining at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone who’s coughing or sneezing.

If you are feeling sick and suspect COVID-19 (or “Coronavirus Disease 2019”) is to blame, take these precautions:

  • Stay home as much as possible—unless you need medical care. Avoid public areas and crowds, as well as public transportation, ride-sharing, and taxis.
  • Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider. Healthcare providers are working hard to curb the spread of coronavirus. Calling ahead before you visit helps your healthcare provider take steps to keep other people safe and more effectively manage your symptoms.
  • Wear a facemask. If you’re sick, it’s best to wear a facemask if you need to temporarily break your self-isolation to see a healthcare provider.
  • Keep “high-touch” surfaces clean on a daily basis. Clean any “high-touch” surfaces in your home that may come in contact with bodily fluids, blood, or stool. High-touch surfaces include doorknobs, light switches, kitchen and table counters, toilets, phones, laptops, and bedside tables. Use household cleaning spray or wipes. Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have bodily fluids, blood, or stool on them.
  • Don’t share personal items. Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding.

Coronavirus treatment

How is COVID-19 (or “coronavirus disease 2019”) treated?

  • Treatment currently focuses on managing symptoms and protecting your family and community through self-quarantine. Not all patients with COVID-19 will require medical attention, and most people recover within 2 weeks without any specific treatment. But hospitalization can be required for severe cases. (Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease are at a higher risk of getting very sick from this virus.)
  • Your healthcare provider can help determine whether monitoring your condition in an inpatient or outpatient setting is right for you.
  • If you and your healthcare provider determine that you will monitor your condition from home, ask about which over-the-counter medications they recommend—and be sure to rest, hydrate, and eat a balanced diet as best as you can.
  • At this time, there is no vaccine or antiviral drug approved by the FDA to prevent or treat people with COVID-19.

Easing symptoms during a quarantine

If you’re experiencing symptoms and are in quarantine, here are some ways you can help ease your symptoms:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Remaining hydrated while sick helps your body fight the infection. In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to drink 6–8 glasses (8oz/serving) of water a day. Foods with high water content—like some fruits, vegetables, and soups—also help keep you hydrated. Unsure if you’re getting enough fluids? If you’re well-hydrated, your urine should be a light color.
  • Get rest. Rest for as long as you need. This may mean sleeping 8–10 hours per day, but that’s okay—your body needs it.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Eating a balanced diet is ideal: try to choose lean protein sources as well as fruits and vegetables, which are rich sources of zinc and vitamins A, C, and E. All of these help support your immune system.
  • Consider smaller, more frequent meals. Smaller meals are a great solution for quickly feeling full. Aiming for around 4–6 small meals per day may help maximize calorie intake once you’re past the acute phase of the infection (first 24–48 hours).
  • Try a humidifier to help with breathing. Symptoms like congestion, runny nose, dry cough, and sore throat often make breathing feel challenging. But a humidifier can help ease congestion and coughs. (If you have a diagnosed respiratory condition like asthma, it may be a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider prior to using a humidifier.)
  • Talk to your healthcare provider. Ask your provider about which over-the-counter pain reliever would be best for your symptoms.

Be sure to keep a close eye on your symptoms, and contact your healthcare provider if you notice your symptoms are severe, do not improve, or get worse. Seek medical attention right away if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Continuous pain or pressure in the chest
  • Persistent fever greater than 102° F

Stay home until your healthcare provider says you no longer need to. Even if you no longer have any symptoms, follow recommendations for isolation until a healthcare provider has determined you can resume your normal activities.

As many people stay home and try to keep a hospital or clinic visit for emergencies only, at-home testing is an alternative to your routine testing. Learn more about the 30+ at-home tests we offer—like thyroid, HbA1c, cholesterol, and more.


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References

1. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): How to Protect Yourself. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed March 16, 2020.

2. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): What To Do if You Are Sick. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed March 16, 2020.

3. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): How It Spreads. URL. Accessed March 17, 2020.