What To Do If You Experience COVID-19 Symptoms

The coronavirus is here to stay for the time being. Here's how to prepare yourself for the eventuality that you may experience COVID-19 symptoms.


Know The COVID-19 Symptoms 

By now you are probably well versed in the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus. However, as each new day brings fresh information, you should be constantly updating your knowledge on what to look out for. But, remember that not everything you see on social media is fact. There are a number of commonly believed coronavirus myths that can play havoc in getting people tested and treated on time. Be sure to fact check each article or news piece you come across and stick to tried and trusted sources, such as the NICD website and WHO.

To recap, here are some of the most commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Initially, a sore throat that lasts three to four days
  • Sever fatigue
  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea (in some cases)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing (in severe cases)

COVID-19 symptoms can take between two to 14 days to present after infection. Some people may present with no symptoms at all, as well. These people are nevertheless contagious and you should self-isolate if tested positive for the coronavirus. If you are having trouble differentiating your symptoms from that of allergies, colds or flu, click here.

COVID-19 symptoms

You’re Showing Symptoms, What Now?

If you start to experience COVID-19 symptoms, there are a few crucial steps to follow. However, you must remember that approximately 80% of people who test positive will experience mild to moderate symptoms and will make a full recovery within 14 to 30 days.

1. Don’t Panic

It is imperative that you do not panic if you begin to feel ill.

  • The first step is to self-isolate in a separate room (or an isolation facility if you do not have access to separate space in your home.)
  • Do not share cutlery, crockery, towels, toothbrushes or linen with any family members.
  • All family members should wear cloth face masks.
  • Wash your hands as often as possible and cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Discard used tissues into a closed bin.
  • Frequently wipe down surfaces with bleach or an alcohol-based disinfectant.
  • Monitor your symptoms, looking out for fevers, cold sweats and shortness of breath, especially if you have a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes, asthma or high blood pressure.
  • Stay positive and take steps to maintain good mental health. Reach out to family, friends or a professional mental health expert if you are struggling with anxiety, loneliness or depression.

COVID 19 symptoms

2. Call Your Doctor Or The National COVID-19 Hotline

  • Do not go to your doctor without calling first. Explain your symptoms over the phone and, if possible, avoid going out at all. If your doctor is unable to advise you regarding what to do next, contact the National Coronavirus Hotline on 0800 029 999 or via Whatsapp on 0600 12 3456. They will assist you in checking your symptoms and in finding a testing centre.
  • It has been suggested that over the counter medication may be used to treat fever symptoms. Consult with your doctor regarding which medications are best.
  • Seek emergency medical care if you have difficulty breathing.

3. Keep Isolating

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate for a minimum of 14 days, even if you begin to feel well. It is not necessary to be tested again once you have completed this isolation period.
  • We do not have enough empirical evidence to prove that once you have recovered from COVID-19 that you are unable to contract the virus again. Continue to work from home if you can and avoid going out unnecessarily. Keep washing your hands and following good hygiene practices.

For more educational resources, health tips and the latest news regarding COVID-19, visit our coronavirus section.