COVID-19: Know When to Go

Communities across the country are fighting outbreaks of COVID-19, and while staying home as much as possible is the best way to slow the spread, if you’re having a medical emergency, the emergency department is still the best place to receive care.

Whether you think you’ve contracted the virus or need to see a doctor for another urgent medical need, it’s important to always know when to go to the emergency department.

Download the official American College of Emergency Physicians COVID-19 Know When to Go flyer in English and Spanish.

What should you do if you think you are sick with COVID-19?

Consider your symptoms.

Call your doctor if you’ve been in contact with someone who already has COVID-19 or has traveled to an affected region and with 14 days you develop the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Emergency departments do not have a cure for COVID-19. If you are experiencing a fever that responds to acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen, and you are young and otherwise healthy, treat yourself as you would for a bad cold or flu.

If your symptoms are mild, contact your primary care physician to discuss your best options for care.

Call 911 or visit your closest emergency department if:

You’re experiencing a medical emergency or you’re severely sick and you are a high-risk individual, such as an older patient or a person with an already weakened immune system.

If you experience any of the warning signs below, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Read more about COVID-19

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