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Here’s what to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

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Editor’s note: Johnston County government is sharing information about how to respond to the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 The following offers advice for people who have coronavirus symptoms but not have been around anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.

Could I have COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have one or more of those symptoms but have not been around anyone with the coronavirus, you might have COVID-19 or another respiratory virus. The coronavirus is circulating in many communities in North Carolina, but so are several other respiratory viruses. 

Should I go to my doctor and get tested for COVID-19?

If you are at increased risk for a serious viral infection — age 60 year or older, pregnant, immune compromised or with a medical condition — call your doctor’s office and ask if you need to be evaluated in person. Your doctor might want to monitor your health more closely or test you for COVID-19, influenza or other respiratory viruses. If you are not at high risk and your symptoms are mild, you might not need to be tested for COVID-19.

What should I do to keep my infection from spreading to my family and other people in the community? 

• You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas. Avoid using ride-sharing or taxis. 

• As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom if available. You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while sick. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick; if you must care for your pet, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask if possible. 

• If you have an already scheduled medical appointment, call the doctor’s office and tell the folks there that you have symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19. This will help the doctor’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. 

• If possible, you should wear a face mask when you are around other people. If you are not able to wear a face mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not be in the same room with you, or they should wear a face mask if they enter your room. 

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trashcan; immediately clean your hands.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water are preferable if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.  

• Avoid sharing personal household items. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After use, thoroughly wash the items with soap and water and then dry before others use them.

• Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily. High-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that might have blood, stool or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions.

• Monitor your symptoms. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness worsens (e.g., difficulty breathing). If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatcher that you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical personnel arrive. 

• If you have fever, cough or shortness of breath and have not been around anyone with COVID-19, you should stay home and away from others until at least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours have passed without fever, coughing and trouble breathing.

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