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Do you suspect you have COVID-19? Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do next

By Brooke Villanueva Published Apr 08, 2021 7:13 pm Updated Apr 14, 2021 11:27 am

Nowadays, just a simple flu, cough, or tiredness can be quite alarming due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

They’re the most common symptoms of COVID-19, which may appear around 2-14 days after virus exposure, according to the World Health Organization. The less common ones are aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea.

“Only around 1 of 6 patients manifest with difficulty breathing and become seriously ill,” the Department of Health said.

While the DOH stated that most COVID-positive individuals recover without needing any treatment, it’s important to stay vigilant for signs of infection and know what to do next in order to prevent further spread of the virus.

Below is a step-a-step guide that might help.

Get tested for COVID-19. The Philippines now has over 239 laboratories offering RT-PCR testing, rapid antigen test (AgT), and pooled testing. Contact the one near you if symptoms progress. 

Separate yourself from others. Living under the same roof with other people? Make sure to keep them safe by keeping at a distance. If there is enough space in your house, use a separate bedroom and bathroom and use your own household items as you wait for the results and monitor your symptoms.

Know when you should seek medical attention immediately. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you need to seek medical care right away should you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds (depending on skin tone). The CDC noted, however, that such are “not all possible symptoms.” Hence, you still need to be in touch with your medical provider “for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.”

Consult your doctor. Get in touch with your doctor, nurse, or your barangay’s health worker to know more about your symptoms. You may also reach out to the following for teleconsultations: TelAventus MD, MedCheck E-Consult, CloudPx, SeeYouDoc, HealthNowPH, or TrinityCare at 0917-111-1975. 

For help and assistance, you may also contact your local government unit’s COVID-19 hotlines, as compiled by the Office of the Vice President’s Bayanihan E-Konsulta.

If you do test positive for the virus, take note of your COVID-19 classification. Facility-based quarantine and isolation especially applies to those with moderate or severe symptoms. With the surge in cases in the country, many hospitals have reached full capacity. Hence, if you are asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms, you may opt for home care. The WHO emphasized it would still depend on three factors: your clinical evaluation, evaluation of your home setting, and your caregiver’s ability to monitor the clinical evolution of a person with COVID-19 at home. “Caregivers and household members should receive guidance from a trained health worker,” the agency further stressed. 

Should you qualify for home care, you may refer to this algorithm developed by the UP College of Medicine Class 1991:

What should be in a COVID-19 home care kit? Dra. Anna Lisa Ong-Lim suggests having Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), cleaning and disinfection supplies, monitoring supplies (like vital signs record, thermometer, blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter), and medications, among others.

As of yesterday, April 13, the Philippines has recorded a total of 884,783 COVID-19 infections—with 165,534 active cases, 703,963 recoveries, and 15,286 deaths.