Should You Go to the Doctor For COVID-19? Here’s What Experts Say

March 16, 2020

By Brittany Leitner
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Will Face Masks Protect You From the Coronavirus? (0:38)

Amid coronavirus fears, any cough or sniffle can send people into a frenzy. By now, you’ve probably heard that the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions are most at risk, but the reality is, the virus can spread to anyone. In an effort to keep COVID-19 contained and to keep up with your health, you might be wondering if you should go to the doctor for COVID-19. Here’s what The Dr. Oz Show medical team has to say about novel coronavirus symptoms, when to reach out to your doctor, and more.

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First thing’s first: If you suspect you are experiencing novel coronavirus symptoms, don’t go to the doctor; call your doctor. Staying home until you know what’s truly going on is best. Your doctor will provide further instructions for what to do from there. 

The first thing you should ask yourself if you feel sick is to check your temperature or for respiratory symptoms. Symptoms like dry coughs and fever have been linked to novel coronavirus, whereas symptoms like runny nose, or sore throats are more related to a cold. If you do suspect lower respiratory illness symptoms, have you had close contact with someone in the last 14 days who is an existing COVID-19 patient? If the answer is yes, you should definitely call your doctor. If you’re unsure, think about your travel history. If you’ve recently traveled to an affected area, call your doctor. However, if you have shortness of breath or you feel like something is wrong with your body, please call your doctor as soon as possible.

If you’ve had no contact with a COVID-19 patient that you know of and have not recently traveled, listen to your body. Are you feeling so ill that you’d normally contact a doctor anyway? Do what you’d normally do if you feel sick — especially if your symptoms do not appear to be getting better. It’s always better to be safe and check in with your doctor if you’re feeling any sort of lower respiratory symptoms. If you need more clarity, check out the flow chart below and share it with a friend. Being educated is key in keeping viruses like COVID-19 contained. 

Here's a list of symptoms to help you distinguish COVID-19 with other viruses like the flu or a cold: 

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Article written by Brittany Leitner