WORTHINGTON BOARD OF HEALTH Advisory Related to Symptoms and Seeking Care April 3, 2020
FEVER A fever of over 100 degrees is considered a fever. It is likely to be low in the morning and go up throughout the day. Take it in the late afternoon or evening when it is likely to be highest. Everyone should make sure they have a thermometer. If the fever persists for a few days or gets worse, CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER.
COUGH A dry cough in your chest, coming from your breastbone or sternum is a symptom. This is not a throat tickle, not clearing your throat. Not a post-nasal drip cough. If the cough feels like the tubes inside your lungs are irritated, and it is getting worse, CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.
DIFFICULTY BREATHING This can occur with or without a cough. Your chest may feel tight or you cannot get a good breath over a period of time (and you know are not experiencing a panic attack or the like). In addition, the CDC lists some related symptoms: bluish lips or face, sudden mental confusion or lethargy, inability to rouse. If the tightness persists or is growing more severe THIS IS URGENT. CALL FOR HELP IMMEDIATELY, 9-1-1. STAY ON THE LINE TO GIVE THE DISPATCHER THE NEEDED INFORMATION; IF YOU DRIVE or ARE BEING DRIVEN, GO TO THE CLOSEST EMERGENCY ROOM, CALL AHEAD TO ALERT THEM YOU ARE COMING. Be sure to wear a mask and gloves if you can manage that to protect your driver: Berkshire Medical Center: (413) 447-2000 Cooley Dickinson Hospital: (413) 582-2000
FLU AND COLD SYMPTOMS. Other flu-like symptoms are common including headaches, digestive issues, body aches and fatigue/exhaustion. In China, digestive issues were common with COVID-19 and could occur without respiratory problems. There can also be cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat and sneezing. These symptoms are most likely a cold or allergies or a “regular” flu; BUT, if they do not improve after a week, or they seem to be worsening, or if they are accompanied by other symptoms, CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.
LESS COMMON BUT ASSOCIATED SYMPTOMS Two unusual symptoms have now become associated with early COVID-19 infection. One is loss of smell and/or taste. The second is conjunctivitis (better known as “pink eye.”). However, a lot of different viruses can cause pink eye, so this is not necessarily an indicator that you are infected. Pay attention, though, and look for other symptoms, especially if the pink eye is getting worse.
Unless you are unable to breathe, before you call 9-1-1, call your HEALTH PROVIDER. They may be able to help you over the phone.
EVERYONE IS AT RISK common guidance AT THE MOMENT (subject to change)
(1) if you are under the age of 60, free from underlying health conditions, and the symptoms are mild and to moderate and are NOT getting worse, the advice from the CDC is to stay at home and try to manage your symptoms with rest, hydration, and fever-reducing medications. There is an as yet unsettled debate about whether acetaminophen (Tylenol) should be used instead of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or Naprosyn, so if Tylenol works for you, use that first. Of course if you are taking blood thinners, do not use NSAIDS anyway.
(2) If you are over the age of 60 and/or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, chronic lung disease, asthma, heart disease, sickle cell anemia, cancer (or are undergoing chemotherapy), kidney disease with dialysis, extremely obese or have an autoimmune disease
(3) If you have recently traveled from any area – here or abroad –where there is a high level of infection.