All around the world people are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. While the majority of people who contract this highly contagious respiratory illness can expect to recover without incident, 1 in 6 become seriously sick and require medical care. The entire team at Plastic Surgery Specialists of Boca Raton wants to keep you safe and healthy and offers the following COVID-19 primer.
You have a higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 if you:
- Are obese, pregnant, or 65 years of age or older
- Live in a residential facility or nursing home
- Have a high-risk condition affecting your heart, lungs, or immune system
- Live with health issues, like diabetes, liver disease, or renal failure
What makes this novel coronavirus so risky is that most people develop mild symptoms, and they occur gradually. And in some cases, you can develop COVID-19 without displaying any symptoms at all. Unfortunately, you can still spread the virus even without having any symptoms.
Common signs of COVID-19
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, you’ll probably feel like you have a cold because it usually causes fatigue, fever, and a dry cough. Additional symptoms might include:
- Aches and pains
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
The shortness of breath, or wheezing, is what distinguishes the disease from a cold or the flu and requires medical attention.
Because of the dangerous health risks associated with COVID-19, it’s crucial to take steps immediately — even if your symptoms seem mild — to reduce the spread of infection.
What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms
Staying home and isolating yourself from others is the most important thing you can do if you have COVID-19. You should also take similar precautions if you have been exposed to someone who may be sick.
We recommend taking these steps:
- Avoid public areas and public transportation
- Stay in one room of your home, away from others if possible
- Limit all contact with pets and animals
- Wear a mask if you are near other people
- Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing
- Dispose of used tissues immediately in closed containers
- Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub
- Contact your doctor before seeking medical care — coming into the office may put others at risk
It’s also important not to share any items with people in your household, including bedding, utensils, and food. And, you should clean any surfaces you touch and disinfect them between use.
You should also plan on remaining isolated in your home for at least seven days after your symptoms first appear and for at least 72 hours after your fever subsides without the use of medications.
How to manage COVID-19 symptoms
Fortunately, 80% of people experience mild-to-moderate symptoms from COVID-19. The downside is that there isn’t a prescription available to cure your illness quickly, so you have to wait it out.
While recovering from COVID-19, several things can help keep you comfortable, including:
- Getting lots of rest
- Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water and herbal teas
- Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to manage aches, pains, and fever
- Trying over-the-counter cough medicines, honey, or throat lozenges to soothe coughs
- Using tissues to control the spread of the virus when sneezing or coughing
If you develop emergency warning symptoms, including pressure or pain in your chest, difficulty breathing, confusion, or a bluish tinge to your lips or face, contact your doctor immediately.