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Cononavirus and COVID-19 Information for California

Trustworthy information about COVID-19

What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

symptoms of COVID-19

Image by OurWorldinData.org, licensed under CC-BY by the authors. Data from The WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Other symptoms of COVID-19 that sometimes appear, but are not listed on this chart:

  • anosmia (loss of smell or taste)
  • nausea or diarrhea
  • back or chest pain

What are the Danger Signs?

It's estimated that 80% of  COVID-19 cases will be mild - but that information doesn't help much, when trying to decide whether to seek medical attention. This article explaining the symptoms of moderate vs serious disease may help to decide when to make that call, and gives key points of information to tell your healthcare team.

 

The Centers for Disease Control warns to get medical treatment immediately if these symptoms appear:

  • trouble breathing
  • persistent pain or pressure in the chest [or back]
  • new confusion, or inability to arouse
  • bluish lips or face.

What if I have symptoms of COVID-19? What if someone in my family does?

Until the time that coronavirus test kits are more widely available, it's recommended that people who have symptoms that fit the profile of COVID-19 disease:

  • a) get medical attention, if possible, to assess the severity of their symptoms; 
  • b) self-quarantine for at least 14 days; and
  • c) clean and disinfect key areas daily.

Check with the healthcare provider before showing up at a medical facility. If your health plan offers medical advice by telephone, call them. If you don't have that option, don't just show up at an urgent care or emergency room -- call ahead first. It is vital that health facilities have time to prepare before you arrive, to protect staff and the other patients from potential infection. They may direct you to test in the parking lot, or somewhere else besides the ER, in order to protect people coming in for treatment for other medical problems.

 

While researchers are working at top speed to find therapy for COVID-19, at this point, there is no proven treatment.

People with mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19 can take supportive care steps to manage this disease - although they should seek medical attention ASAP if any of the danger signs of severe disease are present.

Supportive care includes:

  • lots of rest;
  • stay hydrated (drink lots of liquids); and
  • use acetaminophen (Tylenol) to lower a fever or relieve pain as needed.

 

If you are sharing a home with someone who has COVID-19, do your best to isolate them in the home away from everyone else. If they can't be in a room by themselves, with a door that closes, see if they can have a bed to themselves, with screens or curtains or furniture to separate them from other people in the home. Sick people should wear masks to avoid sharing the virus. Disinfecting bathroom surfaces after each use can mitigate the spread to others in the home. Since people can continue to shed coronavirus even after they start to feel better, it's safest to follow the CDC precautions for some days afterwards.

 

If you - or someone in your home - had what you think was a mild case of COVID-19, and got better, when is it safe to consider it a full recovery? Check with your / their healthcare provider! The current CDC guidelines are:

Generally speaking, recovery is when:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed without any fever (or medication for fever), and 
  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) improved, and
  • EITHER - At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, OR two negative tests, at least 24 hours apart.

Screening & Testing

Until coronavirus tests are readily available, people who may be healthy should avoid asking to be tested, unless their healthcare team thinks it is medically necessary.
 
If there is a shortage of test kits, you may not be tested even if you have symptoms. In that situation, follow your doctor's advice for supportive care , cleaning and disinfecting, and self-quarantine. Don't wait to take precautions!

What if I'm Pregnant, or Have an Infant?

Very little is known yet about the effect of COVID-19 on pregnancies, or in infants or toddlers. 

Hospitals are unsure how to best protect expectant mothers and newborns during this pandemic, and may decide to limit visitors or restrict partners' access during childbirth. Ideally, it would be best to talk with obstetricians and maternity unit staff ahead of time, to have an idea of what to expect.

Current advice from the United Nations Population Fund (as of March 5, 2019) and the World Health Organization includes:

  • Pregnant women should take the same preventive actions to avoid infection recommended for all adults.
  • Breastfeeding women should not be separated from their newborns, as there is no evidence to show that respiratory viruses can be transmitted through breast milk, according to UNICEF. Mothers can continue to breastfeed, with these precautions:
    • Symptomatic mothers well enough to breastfeed should wear a mask when near a child (including during feeding), wash hands before and after contact with the child (including feeding), and clean/disinfect contaminated surfaces. 
    • If a mother is too ill to breastfeed, she should be encouraged to express milk that can be given to the child via a clean cup and/or spoon – while wearing a mask, washing hands before and after contact with the child, and cleaning/disinfecting contaminated surfaces.

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