When do you need to be hospitalized for coronavirus?

March 30, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

This blog was originally posted in 2020. Some information may be out of date. For the latest updates on vaccines, testing, screening, visitor policy and post-COVID support, visit EEHealth.org/coronavirus.

Para ver esta información en español, haga clic aquí.

By now, you’ve heard the advice.

Stay home. Social distance. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or cough into your elbow. Wash your hands.

But how can you tell if that cough or sneeze is something to get checked out?

In short, if you have symptoms of coronavirus, your best bet is to call your physician’s office. Symptoms of coronavirus are often mild, but in some cases can become serious and life-threatening.

The more typical symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or a combination of at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should call your physician’s office to help you determine next steps. You may be asked questions such as if you have been in close contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 or if you have any underlying health conditions.

Those with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, immunosuppression, cancer, lung disease or kidney disease are more at risk for complications from the virus. Adults over the age of 60 are also at higher risk.

For those with mild symptoms, your physician likely will ask you to stay home and recover. Your doctor may suggest you treat your symptoms with over the counter cough syrup, Tylenol or other pain relievers.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency treatment:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • A persistent pain or pressure in your chest
  • Bluish lips or face
  • New confusion or inability to arouse

If you call 911, let them know you may have symptoms of COVID-19 so they can take the necessary precautions.

Daily testing is available for patients with a physician’s order for a COVID-19 test.

At Edward Elmhurst Health, COVID-19 patients, or those suspected of having the virus, are placed in isolation rooms in a specific area of the pulmonary unit.

The hospital has a core team dedicated to the unit to help care for the patients.

Care in this unit includes regularly checking vitals, continuous monitoring of the heart (through telemetry) and oxygen levels. Patients are in a negative-pressure isolation room with a separate airflow system to contain airborne contaminants.

Our staff also takes extra precautions and makes use of personal protective equipment, including gowns, gloves, surgical masks and protective eyewear.

Though visitors are not allowed, COVID-19 patients can remain in contact with loved through phone calls. You may also opt to video chat with your loved one.

We know it’s important to stay up to date with your loved one’s progress. Please consider having one person in your family act as the contact person to get updates from the nursing staff about your loved one.

This will help get the information to all family members while freeing up our nursing staff to care for your loved one and others in their care.

Use our coronavirus Symptom Checker.

Get the latest information on what Edward-Elmhurst Health is doing about coronavirus.

You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Illinois Department of Public Health for additional information on COVID-19 and steps you can take to help prevent the spread.

Get more information about coronavirus from Healthy Driven Chicago.

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