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COVID19 Respiratory Care

How to stay home and take care of yourself with respiratory symptoms

During the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is likely that many people will have cold and flu-like symptoms. For some they will not need to see a doctor or get a test for COVID-19 because they will have a mild illness and get better at home. However, people should call their doctor early if they are 65 years and older, pregnant, or have a health problem such as a chronic disease or a weak immune system, because they are at higher risk of serious illness. This guidance provides home care instructions for people with symptoms of COVID-19 which include fever, cough and shortness of breath.


Be sure to tell all of your close contacts that they need to be in quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with you. Close contacts include all household members, any intimate contacts, and all individuals who were within 6 feet of you for more than 10 minutes, starting 48 hours before your symptoms began until your isolation period ends. In addition, anyone who had contact with your body fluids and/or secretions (such as were coughed on/sneezed on, shared utensils or saliva or provided care to you without wearing protective equipment) needs to be in quarantine. They should self-quarantine even if they feel well because it can take 2– 14 days for them to show symptoms. See the Home quarantine guidance for those exposed to COVID-19 on the Public Health website.

HOME CARE Here are steps that you can take to help you get better:

  • Rest
  • Clean your hands often 
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to reduce fever and pain. 
  • Wear a facemask or cloth face cover when you are around others. Use masks and face covers with caution with children.
  • Please note that children younger than 2 should not be given any over-the-counter cold medications without first speaking with their doctor first


  • If you are 65 years and older, pregnant, or have a health problem such as a chronic disease or a weak immune system call your doctor to let them know about your symptoms and to discuss if you need to be examined. Make a plan with your doctor for regular check ins and discuss what to do if your symptoms get worse.
  • Call your doctor if you have any questions about your illness, or if your symptoms are concerning, not going away, or getting worse.

Emergency Care 

  • Call 911 if you have emergency warning signs. Tell the dispatch personnel that you may have COVID-19


Follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and your community. Stay home, except to get medical care

  • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Stay home until at least 7 days have passed after your symptoms first appeared AND at least 3 days after you have recovered. Recovery means that your fever is gone for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and your respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) have improved.
  • If you must leave home while you are sick, AVOID public transportation. If you cannot drive yourself, keep as much distance as possible between you and the driver, leave the windows down and wear a mask (or face covering).
  • If you do not have someone to help you, if possible, arrange for food and other necessities to be left at your door. If you need help finding social services, essential items like food and medicines call 2-1-1. Separate yourself from other people in your home
  • Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home as much as possible. It is particularly important to stay away from people who are at higher risk of serious illness.
  • Use a separate bathroom. It this is not possible, clean the bathroom after use.
  • Stay 6 feet away from others.
  • Open windows or use a fan, if possible, in shared spaces in the home to ensure good airflow.
  • Do not allow visitors and limit the number of people in your home.