COVID-19 Symptoms: What to Do Next

If You Think You or a Loved One Has COVID-19

Just like the common cold or the flu, COVID-19 can affect each person differently. Some people will experience no symptoms at all, while others might feel mild symptoms, such as a cough or body aches and fatigue. For some people, especially those with severe underlying medical conditions, symptoms could be much more severe and even require hospitalization.

It’s important to continually assess how you are feeling so you can take the best steps to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

Here are the most common symptoms*:

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

*This list is not all inclusive. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Symptoms of Coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control


If you are experiencing any of these common symptoms, stay home and call your doctor. Please do NOT go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care. Doing so for more mild-to-moderate symptoms could prevent someone who does have severe symptoms and needs immediate help from getting the timeliest medical attention.

You Think You Could Have COVID-19, But Your Symptoms Are Mild to Moderate

If you are mild to moderately sick, here are the most important next steps:

Please stay home. Avoid visiting public places where you can spread the virus to others. Instead, ask loved ones or neighbors to drop off needed items.

Notify your doctor. Your family doctor or local health department may have special guidance for you based on your symptoms and unique health history. You can also call our COVID-19 Hotline at 231-935-0951 and speak to a nurse about any symptom-related questions. This option is currently available daily from 7 am - 11 pm.

Rest and Recover. Get plenty of rest, which your body needs to recover. Remember to stay hydrated and use over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen as needed.

Monitor your symptoms. Watch your temperature and pay close attention to your breathing and other emergency warning signs.

Other Tips for Mild-to-Moderate COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID Testing

Your primary care provider (PCP) can give you direction regarding testing. If you don’t have a PCP or can’t get through, talk to a nurse through our Munson Healthcare COVID-19 Hotline who can help refer you for testing. Please note: A doctor's order is REQUIRED for COVID-19 testing.  

Notify Close Contacts 

If you are infected, you may have exposed others up to 48 hours prior to feeling symptoms or testing positive. Help protect others by letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Separate Yourself and Mask as Needed

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 – or you’ve tested positive – it’s important to stay quarantined in a specific room of your home, such as a bedroom, where you can rest and recover.  Avoid others in your household as much as possible, and wear a mask if you need to be in the same room or vehicle. If you are experiencing trouble breathing with your facemask, ask others to either 1) wear a facemask or 2) avoid staying in the same room or vehicle with you.

Please use a separate bathroom from loved ones or roommates if you are able.

Don’t Share Personal Items

Avoid sharing the following with others while you are ill:

  • Dishes
  • Drinking glasses and cups
  • Eating utensils
  • Bedding
  • Towels

After using the above items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.

Clean and Disinfect “High-Touch” Surfaces Everyday

Clean high-touch surfaces with a household cleaner* on a routine basis. Examples of high-touch areas include:

  • Counters
  • Tabletops
  • Doorknobs
  • Bathroom fixtures, such as faucet handles
  • Toilets
  • Phones
  • Keyboards
  • Tablets
  • Bedside tables

Immediately wipe down any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.

*Use a household cleaning spray or wipe according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Call Ahead Before You Seek Medical Attention

Calling your healthcare provider in advance and letting them know that you may have COVID-19 will help your doctor’s office take the necessary steps to prevent others from exposure to the virus.

Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes

Use a tissue when you sneeze or cough as much as possible. Then:

  • Dispose of your tissues is a lined trash can.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds, preferably with soap and water. If you use hand sanitizer, choose one containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Be sure to rub all surfaces of your hands together until they feel dry.

Stay Home Until…

If you have confirmed COVID-19 or are showing symptoms, stay home until the risk of spreading the virus to others is low. Talk to your doctor about returning to work.

Severe COVID-19 Symptoms

Some people show more severe symptoms for COVID-19.  

COVID-19: Emergency Warning Signs

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Inability to stay awake or wake up
  • Bluish lips or face

If you experience any of the more severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.