As cases of the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus in the United States and abroad continue to grow, many people are left wondering what they can do to protect themselves or what they should do in the event that they begin to experience symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing to assess COVID-19 and provide up-to-date guidance on prevention, travel, symptoms and more—including screening guidelines. According to current recommendations, here’s what action to take if you’re not feeling well:
- If you have recently traveled to a high-risk area: If you’ve recently returned from visiting a high-risk area—currently: China, Iran, Europe and South Korea—you should notify your primary care provider. You’ll be advised to stay at home and self-monitor for the symptoms of COVID-19.
- If you have a fever or respiratory symptoms and have been in contact with someone who has the COVID–19 virus: Call your primary care provider if you are symptomatic and have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- If you have a fever or respiratory symptoms and have not been in contact with someone who has the COVID-19 virus: Call your primary care provider if you are symptomatic but have not been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. They may advise you to self-monitor and report back if symptoms worsen.
In every situation, your first step should be a call to your primary care provider. Calling ahead will allow your provider to offer guidance on whether or not you need to be seen in-office or at a local emergency room and—if so—will allow your provider to notify staff that a patient who is symptomatic is planning to come in.
If your provider advises you to visit their office or the emergency room, contact your state health department before going.
In the event that you have a high fever or severe respiratory symptoms and feel that you need immediate medical attention, call 911. When you call, notify the dispatch personnel that you are experiencing severe respiratory symptoms and advise them on any recent travel you have taken. This will allow emergency medical responders to take the appropriate precautionary measures.
Keeping yourself safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19
Your provider can advise you on any preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, but the CDC recommends taking the following steps to prevent the spread of infection:
- Staying home, leaving only to receive medical care
- Separating yourself from other people in your home
- Covering coughs and sneezes
- Frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces you touch
- Wearing a face mask if you have respiratory symptoms or have been instructed by your health care provider. Face masks are NOT recommended as a way to protect yourself from COVID-19.
How Main Line Health is responding to COVID-19
At Main Line Health, we are closely following the latest information and updates from the CDC and are committed to providing our patients, staff and community with up-to-date information about the COVID-19 outbreak in our region and how our hospitals are responding. Stay tuned to the latest updates on our website.