Do you know what to do if you start feeling ill or having symptoms?

There is a ton of news out there about COVID-19 and how we all should deal with it. Yet, I'm not convinced there is a clear understanding among the general public what the proper course of action is for people who suspect they possibly have contracted the coronavirus. Let me try and clear things up.

Now, the information is out there, and for a lot of people, it's pretty easy to find if you know where to look. One problem is that people aren't looking and choosing to remain ignorant. Meanwhile, elderly people who are among those at greatest risk might be the ones who have the least amount of access to the information.

This information comes directly from the state of Colorado's official website and so it is a reliable source you can trust.

First of all, know the symptoms of COVID-19.  Fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms related to the coronavirus and if you are having any symptoms whatsoever it is vitally important that you self-quarantine. That means not going to work, not going to the store, and not being around your family members. Exercise extreme caution. Stay home, stay home, stay home! Even if it's not COVID-19, this is not the time to be spreading any sort of illness.

The next best step is to make a phone call and the state recommends telehealth - which is connecting with a doctor through a live video call. The doctor can assess you, give you a treatment plan, recommend you for COVID-19 testing if applicable, and/or prescribe medication if appropriate.  In Colorado, telehealth is covered by all insurance plans.

Another option is to call a nurseline. When you call a nurseline you will get information on what you should do next. The nurse can help you decide when to contact your doctor or visit a health care facility. Nurselines typically are free but there may be some restrictions.

Here is a link to telehealth and nurselines that are available. And if you will go to the state website there is a ton of information that will answer many of the questions you may have about costs and how to use telehealth.

There are two ways we can help stop the spread of the coronavirus. One is for healthy people to stay that way and to continue to be vigilant with hand washing, sanitizing, and social distancing, and taking this thing seriously. Minimize your contact with the outside world as much as possible.

The second thing is for those who are sick and have symptoms and people who have been around sick individuals, to self-isolate and eliminate all contact with others. Use this information about telehealth and nurselines to take that next step to help determine if you have COVID-19. The best thing you can do is assume you have it until it's proven otherwise. Along with that, assume that anyone you come in contact with could potentially be carrying the virus. Extreme caution is our best friend in our efforts to get our lives back to normal.

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Looking for Info About the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Colorado’s COVID-19 Hotline

CO-HELP is Colorado’s call line for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). People who have general questions about COVID-19 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, for answers in many languages, or email them at COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.

Helpful Links:

Center for Disease Control & Prevention

World Health Organization

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment

Mesa County Public Health