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Feeling Sick, But Not With COVID-19 Symptoms?

A young woman sitting on her couch sneezing.
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It’s understandably nerve-wracking to  feel sick during the coronavirus pandemic, even if you don’t have any of the coronavirus symptoms of fever, dry cough or difficulty breathing.

We’re here to help you understand what to do and how to take care of yourself if you don’t feel well during the pandemic, but don’t think you have COVID-19 symptoms, either. 

Know the Symptoms of COVID-19, and Other Illnesses

It’s important to know the difference between the symptoms of a  cold, the flu and COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. When you’re familiar with these symptoms, you can begin to evaluate your own.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (mostly in children)
  • Loss of taste or smell 
  • Sore throat
  • Headache

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a  coronavirus symptom self-checker tool  that can help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. 

Signs of the seasonal flu include:

•    Body aches
•    Cough
•    Feeling tired
•    Fever 
•    Runny or stuffy nose
•    Sore throat 

Symptoms of the common cold include:

•    Body aches
•    Cough
•    Headache
•    Runny nose
•    Sneezing
•    Sore throat

If Your Symptoms Are Serious, Call Your Doctor

If your symptoms seem more serious than what you’ve experienced before, you can make an online reservation to visit any AdventHealth Centra Care for in-person care.

Manage Your Symptoms at Home

If your symptoms are mild, you’ll likely be able to recover at home. Most people with cold and mild seasonal flu symptoms can get better on their own at home and don’t need medical care. 

To manage your symptoms at home, these tried-and-true tips may help you heal:

  • Drink plenty of water and clear liquids to stay hydrated
  • Eat nutritious meals
  • Get as much rest as possible
  • Monitor your symptoms daily
  • Take your temperature, using an oral thermometer
  • Try over-the-counter fever and cough medicines, if necessary

For more ways to help yourself heal, read  how to care for yourself when you feel sick.

Extra Precautions to Take if You’re Sick

With the coronavirus pandemic in mind, you should also take extra precautions to keep yourself and the people around you safe. Be sure to:

  • Avoid going to the pharmacy (the drive-thru is a better option)
  • Clean high-touch surfaces in your home often
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue
  • Don’t share personal items with family members
  • Keep 6 feet of distance between you and other family members
  • Stay at home and away from others
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often, for 20 seconds each time

Seek Immediate Care Only in a Genuine Emergency

If you’re caring for yourself or a family member at home and the symptoms get worse quickly, reach out for medical help. Keep in mind that the emergency room should be used only in a true emergency, and not for routine care.

According to the  CDC, these signs of the flu signal a medical emergency:

In adults:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever or cough that improves then worsens
  • Not urinating
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion or the inability to arouse
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or stomach area
  • Seizures
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Worsening of a chronic medical condition

In children:

  • Any fever in children younger than 12 weeks
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Chest pain
  • Dehydration signaled by not urinating for eight hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Fever higher than 104 degrees
  • Fever or cough that improves, then worsens
  • Not alert or not interacting while awake
  • Ribs pulling in with each breath
  • Seizures
  • Severe muscle pain (a child might refuse to walk)
  • Worsening of any chronic medical condition

Prevention Is Key: Steps to Protect Yourself From Colds and the Flu

Many of the  steps we’re taking to slow the spread of coronavirus  can also help prevent colds and flu. Take these steps to protect yourself and consider it healthy multitasking. 

Practice Good Respiratory Hygiene

Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your upper sleeve and  teach your kids to do the same. Like coronavirus, flu viruses spread in droplets when infected people sneeze or cough. 

Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. That’s how any cold, flu or coronavirus germs hitching a ride on your hands can make you sick. 

Practice Washing Your Hands Well

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent coronavirus, cold and flu germs from entering your body. 

Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces Frequently

Get in the habit of disinfecting surfaces and objects where cold and flu germs like to hide in plain sight. This includes floors, countertops, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, light switches, doorknobs, faucets and media remotes. Use  EPA-registered disinfecting cleaners  and paper towels to target these trouble spots.

Get Your Flu Shot

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a seasonal flu shot. It lowers your likelihood of catching the flu, and makes it much easier to endure if you do happen to catch it. Everybody over age six months should get their flu shot every flu season. So if you haven't gotten your flu shot yet for the 2020–2021 season, get it now.

Here for You and Your Family

We’re here to help you get the medical care you and your family may need. Make an online reservation at any AdventHealth Centra Care to get your flu shot or for any health care needs this flu season.

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