What Happens Once You Get COVID-19 and How to Help Other Patients Recover

As of today, over 23 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19. And while Coronavirus has changed the health care industry in several ways, there’s still, somewhat surprisingly, a lot of mystery surrounding what happens if you actually develop COVID-19. In addition, many people wonder what happens after you recover and how you can help others who test positive. Knowing how to move forward can be a challenge. So, we’ve gathered some helpful information to help you navigate it.

I’m no longer feeling ill. Can I leave isolation? 

The CDC advises that you meet all three of these criteria before leaving home isolation:

  • • No fever present for at least 72 hours without the help of fever-reducing medication.
  • • Improvement of other symptoms including, but not limited to, cough and shortness of breath.
  • • Seven or more days have passed since your symptoms began.

However, remember that just because you’re not displaying symptoms, doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear. There are still many things we’re learning about the lasting effects of COVID-19, including how long the recovery phase lasts.

If I’ve recovered from COVID-19, why do I still have some symptoms?

With the widespread misinformation about the COVID-19 death rate and recovery rate, it’s easy to think that once you’re on the mend, you’ll return to your pre-COVID health. Unfortunately, for many, that’s not the case. Known as “COVID long-haulers,” some patients will display lingering symptoms after making a recovery. These are some of the most commonly reported health issues that persist for weeks or longer:

  • • Fatigue
  • • Shortness of breath
  • • Anxiety
  • • Persistent cough
  • • Racing heartbeat
  • • Brain fog
  • • Depression
  • • Joint pain
  • • Muscle aches and pains
  • • Dizziness
  • • Rashes
  • • Vision changes
  • • Loss of smell or taste

Even mild Coronavirus cases can lead to some really uncomfortable symptoms. While it’s still unclear as to why these ailments affect some people long-term and not others, the best course of action is to seek medical attention to diagnose the severity of your symptoms. A doctor can also advise whether or not your symptoms call for specialized treatment.

How to care for someone with COVID-19.

The first step in caring for someone with COVID-19 is, if you haven’t already, call their primary care physician, report the symptoms and ask if they can get tested. Help your loved one follow the doctor’s instructions, like isolating at home, for example. Ensure they’re getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated with plenty of fluids – and remember that some patients experience a loss of appetite. If this happens, soft, high-calorie foods like protein shakes and smoothies are a good choice. An over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen will help with fevers and body aches, and assisting with basic tasks like food preparation and pet care can be a great way to show you care. Along the way, supporting their emotional well-being while monitoring for worsening symptoms makes sure they’re well taken care throughout the course of their illness and recovery.

Of course, don’t forget about the importance of taking precautions to keep yourself safe. To start, a face mask should be worn by both the caregiver and the patient, and whenever possible, six feet of distance should be maintained. It’s recommended to avoid sharing bedrooms or bathrooms, but if only one bathroom is available, sanitize with a disinfectant between uses. Other precautions could be to sanitize high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and light switches, as well as minimizing physical contact with others.

If you or someone you’re caring for with COVID-19 experiences severe symptoms such as trouble breathing or chest pressure, seek immediate medical attention. Avail Hospital is open 24/7/365 to provide safe, reliable care from testing to treatment to lingering symptoms for COVID-19.

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