A guide for preparing for illness, preventing spread to others, managing symptoms, and recovery
The People’s CDC has reviewed up-to-date research to create evidence-based guidelines and recommendations for what to do if you have COVID. This one page document is meant to serve as a simplified and printable guide. For more detailed information, please visit our full resource guide and see our sources. For a downloadable version of this page, click here.
Layers of Protection
- You can help prevent the spread of COVID by using multiple layers of protection.
- These layers include: ventilating and filtering air; masking with well-sealed and high filtration masks; staying up to date with vaccines and boosters; testing before seeing others; testing and isolating after possible exposures; and physical distancing and limiting time indoors.
- If you’re at home with others while isolating due to infection or exposure, you can implement additional household-specific layers of protection. These include creating isolation zones, minimizing time spent in shared zones, and clearly communicating the use of layers of protection within your household.
- Improve the air quality of your home with humidifiers, purifiers, and open windows.
- Have supplies, contact information (medical provider, testing, social supports), and a plan of action ready in case of illness. Familiarize yourself with your work or school’s COVID policy and devise ways to extend the 5-day isolation period, if possible.
Exposure and Testing
- If you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID via shared air, you should isolate yourself for a minimum of 7 days. You should use multiple tests over the course of 5-7 days to determine if you are negative (1-2 tests over the course of the same 24 hours is not adequate).
- If you test positive, you should isolate yourself for a minimum of 10 days after your first positive result. After 10 days, use rapid tests to find out if you are negative.
- If you are experiencing symptoms, but do not have access to adequate testing, you should isolate yourself for a minimum of 10 days after the first day of symptoms.
- If you test positive or experience symptoms, notify anyone you have seen in the past 7 days and share this guide, so that they can isolate and protect people around them as well.
Short and Long Term Recovery
- If you have COVID, we encourage you to speak with a medical provider about options for pharmaceutical treatments (such as Paxlovid or molnupiravir) as soon as possible.
- The specific home remedies most helpful to you will depend on the symptoms you’re experiencing, but may include: over the counter pain relievers and fever reducers; cough suppressants and lozenges; and medicine to help you manage an upset stomach.
- It is incredibly important to rest as much as possible both during and after your infection, as this appears to help with recovery and could potentially help prevent Long COVID. In general, we recommend that you avoid as much physical and mental exertion as possible both while you actively have COVID and in the weeks following your infection.
- Continue to limit mental and physical exertion after recovering. We recommend following the pacing method as much as possible; you can find more information about specific recommendations for pacing in our full resource guide.
Please note that this is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice.