What should you do if you feel like you might have COVID-19?

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- As the novel coronavirus continues to spread in North Carolina, you might become worried that you have it. So what should you do if that's the case?

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released new guidance on Tuesday.

Step 1: Stay home and CALL your doctor if necessary.

The NCDHHS reminds citizens that most people who get COVID-19 will recover without needing medical care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home if you have mild symptoms - such as fever and cough without shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. You can call your doctor to see if you need medical care.

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Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19. People at higher risk should call their doctor if they develop symptoms of fever or cough. You are at higher risk if you: Are 65 years and older; Live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; Have a high-risk condition that includes: Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, Heart disease with complications, Compromised immune system, Severe obesity - body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, Other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease.

People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk for severe viral illness. However, to date, data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk for severe illness.

Call 911 immediately if you experience: Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion or blue lips.

NCDHHS advises that most people DO NOT need a test. "When you leave your home to get tested, you could expose yourself to COVID-19 if you do not already have it. If you do have COVID-19, you can give it to someone else, including people who are high risk," according to the health department.

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Testing is most important for people who are seriously ill, in the hospital, people in high-risk settings like nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and healthcare workers and other first responders who are caring for those with COVID-19.

Step 2: Self-Isolate

If you are sick with COVID-19 or believe you might have it, you should stay home and separate yourself from other people in the home as much as possible.

You can stop isolating yourself when you answer yes to all three questions: Has it been at least 7 days since you first had symptoms? Have you been without fever for three days
(72 hours) without any medicine for fever? Are your other symptoms improved?

If you have fever and cough and other symptoms of respiratory illness, even if it is not from COVID-19, you should isolate yourself as if you have COVID-19. This will reduce the risk of making the people around you sick.

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If that is the case, anyone in your household or others who have been in close contact with you should stay home for 14 days as much as possible and monitor themselves for symptoms. Close contact means within six feet for at least 10 minutes. If they start having symptoms of COVID-19, they should take the same steps to prevent spreading it. Family members who are healthcare workers, first responders, or others who are needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic should review CDC guidance and check with their employers about when to return to work.
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