What Should You Do If You Think You Have COVID-19?

April 13, 2020 - Katie McCallum

Right now, even the slightest cough may send you on high alert. Could it be coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If your symptoms start ramping up, your questions do, too. Is it allergies? Is it a cold? Is it the flu? What do I even do if I think it is COVID-19?

Here's how to tell if you may have COVID-19, as well as what to do next.

Step 1: Know which symptoms separate COVID-19 from a cold, flu or allergies

With many overlapping symptoms, there's some initial investigative work you can do to help determine if your symptoms may be due to a cold, the flu, allergies or COVID-19.

Take note of your specific symptoms, and use the chart below to determine if your symptoms are frequently caused by COVID-19 or by some other common respiratory condition.

how to tell if it's coronavirus, or just allergies, a cold or the flu   

If your symptoms are more consistent with that of a cold, flu or allergies, use over-the-counter medications or home remedies to treat your symptoms — and keep in mind that you can still get the care you need through the telemedicine option that's most convenient for you.

If you're experiencing symptoms commonly seen in COVID-19, move to step two below. Additionally, notice that many symptoms of a cold and COVID-19 overlap, so there's no harm in getting tested just to be safe.

Step 2: Get screened through Virtual Urgent Care

If you're experiencing common COVID-19 symptoms, we recommend being screened virtually by one of our board-certified care providers through Houston Methodist Virtual Urgent.

Our providers are available 24/7 to help determine if you need testing, as well as advise you where to go. (Related: 4 Questions You May Have About COVID-19 Testing, Answered)

Step 3: See your doctor for follow-up care if needed

Many people experience mild symptoms that can be treated at home through pain relievers, cough medications, rest and hydration. If you have further questions about your symptoms or need follow-up care, we recommend scheduling a visit with your doctor. 

If you have a Houston Methodist doctor, you can also call your doctor's office to schedule a virtual video appointment — or an in-person visit, if needed. Need your doctor's phone number? You can look it up here.

If you don't have a Houston Methodist doctor and are looking for one, let us help:

  • Visit Find-a-Doctor, choose a provider and call the office number to schedule
  • Call 713.790.3333 and let our trained representatives help you find a doctor
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