This website is no longer being updated. For the latest updates on COVID-19, including vaccines and treatments, please visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. Healthcare professionals, please visit www.phe.gov/emergency/events/COVID19/Pages/default.aspx and www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov.
I HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19—NOW WHAT?
If you receive a positive diagnosis for COVID-19, you may be surprised, especially if you have not had any symptoms of the disease. You may also feel afraid and unsure of what you should do next. The information and recommendations on this page can help you decide on your next steps.
HOW SICK WILL I GET?
There is no way to know how you or anyone else will react to a SARS‑CoV‑2 infection or the COVID‑19 disease. Most people who have COVID-19 do not get seriously ill and may not even have symptoms. However, people who are at risk for serious COVID‑19 could need hospital care or have worse outcomes. Each case of COVID-19 is different depending on the patient’s age and other health conditions.
There is no cure for COVID-19 yet, but, healthcare professionals are using several treatments for patients with more serious symptoms to help the body fight the disease and possibly decrease its long-term effects. For patients with no symptoms, there are clinical trials that you can join to help support research for potential treatments. Talk with your healthcare professional to see which treatments may be appropriate for you if you test positive for COVID-19.
In the meantime, it is important that you stay home and away from other people for at least 10 days until your symptoms are better and you no longer have a fever without taking medicine. You could spread the disease to other people even if you do not feel sick. If you do leave your home for medical care, wear a face mask. Isolate yourself. This means staying away from others, even in your home. The CDC recommends that people with COVID-19 stay in a specific “sick room” or area and use a separate bathroom (if one is available).
I TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, I HAVE MILD TO MODERATE SYMPTOMS, AND I AM AT HIGH RISK FOR DEVELOPING SERIOUS ILLNESS. WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?
People at high risk for developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 include older adults and people with underlying conditions such as cancer, heart and lung conditions, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, sickle cell, or compromised (weakened) immune systems.
If you have mild to moderate symptoms and you are at high risk, stay in touch with your healthcare professional. Ask them about treatment options that may help you stay out of the hospital and/or avoid progression to serious illness.
If you develop any serious symptoms that could be an emergency (see Possible Serious Symptoms list for more details), call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency care center or facility. Tell the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
Possible Serious Symptoms
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Confusion you have not experienced before
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
If your symptoms get worse, you should call your healthcare professional immediately. Tell the healthcare professional that you have tested positive for COVID-19. This will help them take steps to keep other people from being exposed.
HELP FIND TREATMENTS THAT WORK
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a novel or new virus so we are still learning about it. The only way to find treatments that will work for everyone is through clinical trials that test potential medications. You may be eligible to join the clinical trials that use medications which have already been tested for safety in smaller populations.
If you join one of these clinical trials, you will help medical scientists have a better understanding of COVID-19, which could lead to treatments that will help others.
Patients with COVID-19 of all ages, genders, and ethnicities are critical for the success of clinical drug trials. Researchers need to understand if COVID-19 behaves differently in patients and how effective treatments are depending on gender, race, and age. It is important for research to represent all people of America and find treatments that work for everyone.
The knowledge gained from these trials will help others in their own fight against COVID-19.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER MY COVID-19 SYMPTOMS GO AWAY?
Recovering from COVID-19 can take time and patience. In one study, more than half of the patients surveyed were still feeling fatigued (very tired) 60 days after their first COVID-19 symptoms appeared. Four in 10 patients still had labored breathing. More than a quarter of patients still had joint pain.
Mental and emotional health effects are also common for people who have had COVID-19. These effects can include memory problems, difficulty focusing, anxiety, and depression. The effects are often more serious for patients who had other health conditions before they had COVID-19.
Physical and mental health symptoms reported by people after recovering from COVID-19 illness is known as “post-COVID-19 syndrome.” Health researchers are still studying these effects, so it is too early to say which of these issues are directly caused by the virus or which issues could be result from having a compromised immune system.
If you have physical and/or mental health effects of COVID-19 that have lasted longer than expected, see your healthcare professional. They may need to refer you to different specialists to help with your recovery.