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Mild to moderate COVID-19 - discharge

Coronavirus - 2019 discharge; SARS-CoV-2 discharge; COVID-19 recovery; Coronavirus disease - recovery; Recovering from COVID-19

You have recently been diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 causes an infection in your lungs and may cause problems with other organs, including the kidneys, heart, and liver. Most often it causes a respiratory illness that causes fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. You may have mild to moderate symptoms or severe illness.

This article is about how to recover from mild-to-moderate COVID-19 that does not require hospital treatment. People with severe illness will usually be treated in the hospital.

Recovery from COVID-19 may take 10 to 14 days or longer depending on your symptoms. Some people have symptoms that go on for months even after they are no longer infected or able to spread the disease to other people.

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COVID-19

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What to Expect at Home

You tested positive for COVID-19 and are well enough to recover at home. As you recover, you must isolate at home. Home isolation keeps people who are infected with COVID-19 away from other people who are not infected with the virus. You should stay in home isolation until it is safe to be around others.

HELP PROTECT OTHERS

While in home isolation, you should separate yourself and stay away from other people to help prevent spreading COVID-19.

WHEN TO END HOME ISOLATION

These are the general recommendations from the CDC for when to be around other people. The CDC guidelines are updated frequently: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html.

If you are tested for COVID-19 after your diagnosis or after having symptoms of the illness, it is safe to be around others if ALL of the following are true:

You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator that fits well over your nose and mouth without gaps for at least 5 more days while you are around other people both in your home and out in public. Do not go to restaurants or eat around other people for these 5 days.

If you still have a fever after 5 days, continue to isolate until you are fever-free without medicine for 24 hours.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

It's important to get proper nutrition, stay active as much as you can, and take steps to relieve stress and anxiety as you recover at home.

Managing COVID-19 symptoms

While recovering at home, it's important to keep track of your symptoms and stay in touch with your doctor. You may receive instructions on how to check and report your symptoms. Follow your provider's instructions and take medicines as prescribed. If you have severe symptoms, call 911 or the local emergency number.

To help manage symptoms of COVID-19, try the following tips.

Nutrition

COVID-19 symptoms such as loss of taste and smell, nausea, or tiredness can make it hard to want to eat. But eating a healthy diet is important for your recovery. These suggestions may help:

Physical Activity

Even though you don't have a lot of energy, it's important to move your body every day. This will help you regain your strength.

Mental Health

It is common for people who have had COVID-19 to experience a range of emotions, including anxiety, depression, sadness, isolation, and anger. Some people experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) as a result.

Many of the things you do to help with your recovery, such as a healthy diet, regular activity, and enough sleep, will also help you keep a more positive outlook.

You can help reduce stress by practicing relaxation techniques such as:

Avoid mental isolation by reaching out to people you trust by phone calls, social media, or video calls. Talk about your experience and how you are feeling.

Call your health care provider right away if feelings of sadness, anxiety, or depression:

When to Call the Doctor

You should contact your health care provider if your symptoms are getting worse.

Call 911 or your local emergency number if you have:

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. COVID-19: Quarantine and isolation. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html. Updated January 27, 2022. Accessed March 15, 2022.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. COVID-19: Treatments your healthcare provider might recommend if you are sick. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/treatments-for-severe-illness.html. Updated January 13. 2022. Accessed March 15, 2022.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. COVID-19: What to do if you are sick. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html. Updated February 7, 2022. Accessed March 15, 2022.

National Institutes of Health website. COVID-19 treatment guidelines: Therapeutic management of nonhospitalized patients with COVID-19. www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/management/clinical-management/nonhospitalized-adults--therapeutic-management/. Updated February 1, 2022. Accessed March 15, 2022.

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Review Date: 3/15/2022  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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