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Think you have symptoms of COVID-19? Here's what to do

While asking us does not replace a call to your doctor, we can answer some common questions about the coronavirus.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We’ve been receiving dozens (and dozens) of text messages from folks describing their symptoms and asking us if they have COVID-19. 

So, two things:

  1. We are not doctors, and though we are definitely here to help answer any questions we can, a call to us does not replace a call to your doctor if you are worried about your health.
  2. Clearly this is a huge concern for people as this virus spreads, and a step-by-step guide may be helpful going forward.

The first important thing to remember is that COVID-19 symptoms overlap with other common illnesses, including flu. If you’re not feeling well, check your symptoms with this checklist to see how they line up.

Credit: WHAS11 News
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If your symptoms are similar to the common ones from COVID-19, your first step is to stay home. Even if your illness ends up being something else, spreading germs is always a bad idea; and, if you do end up testing positive for COVID-19, you will be doing your part to keep the disease from spreading further.

Assuming your symptoms are relatively mild, your second step is to call your doctor (rather than immediately going into his/her office or the hospital). Your doctor will be able to talk with you and decide if you need to come in and get tested. 

Even if there is a chance that you have contracted COVID-19, your doctor may decide it is best that you don’t come in and instead care for yourself at home if your symptoms are mild. Our medical professionals are under a lot of pressure right now, and they need to focus their attention on the people most at risk.

RELATED: Facts Not Fear | No timeline for more COVID-19 test kits in Kentucky or Indiana

Your next step is to quarantine yourself in your home—and, as best as you can, separate yourself from family members. If you’re able to, designate a room in your home as the “sick room,” and keep healthy family members out of it as much as possible. If you have more than one bathroom, choose one for yourself and have healthy family members use a different one.

Practice good hygiene whenever you can. Wash your hands well and often. Clean surfaces with disinfectants. Cough and sneeze into your elbow.

How long you feel sick depends on a lot of factors—including your overall health and age—but Harvard Medical School says you should be prepared to spend at least a couple weeks feeling less than 100%.

RELATED: Interactive Map: Tracking COVID-19 in Kentucky

“Those with mild cases appear to recover within one to two weeks,” Harvard says on its website. “With severe cases, recovery can take six weeks or more. According to the most recent estimates, about 1% of infected persons will succumb to the disease.”

If you have a question, you can send us a text at 502-582-7220.

See more on the coronavirus pandemic in our Coronavirus section.

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