Common symptoms for “mild” cases of COVID-19 include sore throat, coughing, and fever.
There’s no shortcut to getting over the virus other than best-practice advice such as staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and monitoring symptoms.
Those at higher risk due to age or underlying conditions, or those with more severe symptoms, such as chest pain and difficulty breathing, should seek medical attention.
Self-isolation vs. self-quarantine
All nonessential workers have been advised to stay home in self-quarantine to slow the progress of the virus.
While this helps limit contact with strangers, staying home increases the amount of time spent with family members or roommates.
In these cases, it’s difficult to avoid the risk of transmission.
When is it safe to end a self-isolation?
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that self-quarantine and self-isolation can stop when it’s been 7 days since the onset of symptoms and 72 hours since symptoms disappeared.
“For those who have been exposed to a confirmed case but did not develop symptoms, we recommend self-quarantining for 14 days from the day you were exposed because you can develop symptoms anywhere between 2 and 14 days after your exposure,” Dr. Joshua Mansour, an oncologist at City of Hope Hospital in Los Angeles, told Healthline.
“It’s worth noting that this is the best guidance we have from the CDC today, but we don’t really know exactly when it’s OK for someone to come out of isolation,” he cautioned. “This seems like a reasonable starting point to me, but it’s possible that this will change as we learn more about the virus.”
Dr. Nir Goldstein, FCCP, a pulmonologist and leader of the post-COVID-19 clinic at National Jewish Health, also pointed out some of the unknowns currently surrounding the virus.
“We don’t have data regarding reinfection after recovery and so for now, we should assume that it’s possible,” Goldstein told Heathline. “As blood tests develop and more data is applied, we’ll know more. In general, the viral shedding declines over time, so the longer you wait after recovery, the less chance you have of still shedding the viruses. Currently, we say at least 7 days, but there have been cases where the shedding has been reported up to a month after recovery.”
“So you should still maintain social isolation and take precautions even if you’re a week or two after recovery,” he added.