Coronavirus (COVID-19) Care Plan

By David Morley, MD
October 13, 2020

Go to the emergency room if…

If you develop shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion, if you feel like you might pass out or if your oxygen levels fall below 94% as measured on a pulse oximeter (a machine to measure the oxygen levels in your blood)

Check in with K Health if…

You’re not feeling better within 3-4 days or your symptoms improve but do not totally resolve

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a group of illnesses that cause respiratory infections ranging from a mild cold to more severe pneumonia and less commonly, death. Coronaviruses are highly contagious. In December 2019, a new human coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 began developing into an illness called Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19. The disease was first discovered affecting people in the Hubei province of mainland China but quickly became a global health threat, spreading to other countries including the United States. The most common symptoms include fever, chills, dry cough, muscle aches and fatigue. People at risk for a more severe illness or complications of COVID19 include: Older adults (aged 65 years and older), people who live in a nursing home or elder care facility, people who have chronic lung disease such as asthma or COPD and people who are immunocompromised.

Read more about COVID-19

What we know about COVID-19 treatment

Despite some news reports, currently there are no CDC or FDA approved treatments for COVID-19. Many pharmaceutical companies are working to develop a vaccine but currently none are available.

Read more from the CDC

Testing for COVID-19

If your doctor ordered COVID19 testing to LabCorp or Quest:

  • Find a testing location: Your doctor either ordered your test to LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics. Use the links below to find a testing site near you. While you don’t need to make an appointment, we always recommend doing so given the increase in testing happening these days. Find a LabCorp testing site here. Find a Quest Diagnostics testing site here.
  • Get tested: When you go for testing please take your photo ID, insurance card and your mobile device with this conversation. Your name and date of birth are enough for them to locate the order in their system.
  • Wait for results: A doctor will reach out to discuss your results and next steps as soon as they are available

There are two basic coronavirus test options for people who are concerned about their exposure to COVID-19.

  • A diagnostic (viral) test: A nasal swab, saliva test, or oral swab that tells you if you are currently suffering from an active COVID-19 infection. Viral tests can’t tell you if you’ve had an infection in the past.
  • An antibody (serology) test: A blood test that tells you if you have had a COVID-19 infection in the recent past. Serology tests can’t tell you if you have an active infection, only that you’ve already recovered from one. The medical community is still learning about what antibodies against COVID-19 means. Currently we don’t know if having antibodies against COVID-19 provides immunity against the virus in the future.

Read more about COVID-19 testing

Over-the-counter medication

  • Experiencing pain or fever? Take 600mg of ibuprofen (if not pregnant) or 650mg of acetaminophen every six hours with food, as needed
  • Is your throat sore? Try throat lozenges which can be found at most pharmacies
  • Have a cough? Take Robitussin DM every four hours as needed
  • Stuffy nose? Take 30mg of Sudafed every 8 hours as needed (Don’t take if you have high blood pressure, are pregnant or breastfeeding. Stop taking it if it makes you feel dizzy)

Home remedies

  • Drink tea with honey or suck on a cough drop to help soothe a sore throat
  • A hot, steamy shower can help relieve nasal congestion
  • A sinus flush using nasal saline (found at any pharmacy) can help alleviate congestion
  • Gargle salt water to help soothe a sore throat—just add half a teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water and gargle the water as long as you can in the back of your throat, then spit it out.
  • Stay hydrated with non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic fluids—drink at least 8 cups a day
  • Get plenty of rest (at least eight hours of sleep each night)

Prevention tips

The CDC frequently puts out new updates regarding COVID19. Click here for the most up to date information.

If you have symptoms, self quarantine. According to the CDC you should:

  • Self isolate for ten days after your symptoms start,
  • Be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of anti-fever medications, and
  • Your symptoms should have improved before ending isolation

If you may have come in contact with somebody who has COVID-19, self quarantine. According to the CDC you should:

  • Self isolate for 14 days because it can take that long for symptoms to appear,
  • Stay home as much as possible and away from people with whom you share a living space,
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, and
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily

Always practice social distancing.

  • Avoid gatherings of large groups of people especially indoor gatherings
  • Maintain distance from others whenever possible (at least six feet),
  • Wash your hands frequently, and
  • Avoid touching your face

Wear a mask when out in public. The CDC is currently recommending wearing a cloth covering over your nose and mouth whenever going into a public place. This has been shown to decrease the spread of COVID19.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

David Morley, MD

Dr. Morley specializes in emergency medicine and received his medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine in New York City. He completed his residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.