How seriously should you take your health

Fever, cough, malaise: suspected COVID-19

COVID-19 is a disease that primarily affects the respiratory tract. The most common symptoms are similar to those of other respiratory diseases: cough, fever, malaise and fatigue. It is therefore not easy to determine whether you have COVID-19, the flu or the common cold. However, the first signs of illness should not be taken lightly. In the worst case, the disease caused by the coronavirus can be fatal. However, 80 percent of people who become infected with the virus experience only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Research institutes try to determine how high the number of unreported cases is of those who have survived an infection without symptoms, among other things through studies on the spread of antibodies against the coronavirus (you can find an overview of the studies here). Symptoms occur after an infection with a time delay (incubation period). The incubation period averages five to six days, but can last up to 14 days.

What to do if you suddenly have a cough or a fever, or if a colleague you have recently had contact with tested positive for the coronavirus, read here:

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms include dry cough, runny nose and fever over 38 ° C. But there are also a number of other symptoms such as shortness of breath, exhaustion, muscle and joint pain, as well as sore throat and headache. In many of those affected, the sense of smell and taste is temporarily impaired. Nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, lymph node swelling and drowsiness (somnolence) have been reported less frequently. If the disease is particularly severe, those affected develop pneumonia and have to seek intensive care in hospital. The symptoms and their severity, however, differ from person to person. There are no “typical” symptoms with which COVID-19 can be clearly identified. Certain risk factors can make the disease more severe.

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Do you belong to the risk group?

Basically, all people whose defenses are weakened are exposed to an increased risk of a severe course. Since the immune system weakens with age, older age is a risk factor. Certain pre-existing conditions also make it more likely that the infection will become more severe. These include: chronic respiratory or lung diseases (such as COPD or asthma), heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes mellitus, severe depression and bipolar disorder. Further factors that can negatively influence the course of the disease can be found here. In order not to expose yourself to the risk of serious consequences of a COVID-19 illness, it is all the more important that people from the risk group get vaccinated early because the corona vaccination prevents a serious course of the disease.

Common Symptoms and Complications of COVID-19
Federal Ministry of Health

What do I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms?

Once you discover symptoms that are common with COVID-19, isolate yourself at home. Reduce contact with other people to the bare minimum so as not to expose them to the risk of infection. Anyone who has had cold symptoms or any of the symptoms listed above for COVID-19 or has had contact with someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 should call their family doctor. Please do not appear in person at the practice, but first clarify how to proceed by telephone. In this way you can prevent more people from contracting the virus. Outside the opening times of the practices, you can also call the medical on-call service on the nationwide uniform telephone number 116 117. You can also contact your local health department. The Robert Koch Institute provides a tool that determines your responsible health department by postcode.

Whether a test is carried out or not is decided by one of the above-mentioned bodies on the basis of the national test strategy. In addition, additional steps are discussed during the phone call, e.g. B. where a test for the coronavirus should be carried out or whether a test can be carried out at your home if necessary.

When should I get tested?

Whether a PCR test is carried out or not is decided by one of the above-mentioned bodies on the basis of the national test strategy. In addition, further steps will be discussed during the phone call, for example where a test for the coronavirus should be carried out or whether a test can be carried out at your home, if necessary.

If you do not have any symptoms, you should take advantage of the free antigen rapid tests: Since March 8, the federal government has been assuming the costs for regular rapid tests for citizens. You can have yourself tested by trained staff at least once a week (for example in your local test center) and thus gain additional security. However, rapid antigen tests are less reliable than PCR tests. If your rapid test result is positive, it must be confirmed by a positive PCR test result. Further information on rapid antigen tests and various test procedures can be found here and in our diagram.

Have you had close contact with someone infected with the coronavirus?

If you have had contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus, call your local health department immediately and regardless of symptoms. After an individual interview, they can recommend the personal measures and decide on the further steps required. You should definitely stay at home during this time.

One of the decisive factors for the transmission of the coronavirus is how close contact was with an infected person. The virus is transmitted by droplets and tiny particles of liquid (aerosols) that infected people carry e.g. B. when breathing, speaking, coughing and sneezing. However, other transmission routes, for example via surfaces on which the virus is located, are also possible. Therefore, contact with body fluids from an infected person is particularly risky. Depending on how close and long the contact was and whether mouth and nose protection was worn, a distinction is made between different categories. Contact persons in category 1 had particularly close contact with an infected person without a mask, for example for at least 15 minutes and less than 1.50 m away. In this category, particularly strict quarantine measures are necessary as the risk of transmission is particularly high. If you are a Category 1 contact person, you must go into quarantine at home for 14 days as soon as possible. Information on home quarantine can be found here and can be obtained from your health department.

Keep a quarantine diary

If you need to quarantine after contacting an infected person, you will be prompted to keep a quarantine journal. Possible symptoms and body temperature should be recorded there. The Robert Koch Institute recommends measuring this twice a day. General activities and any contacts with other people should also be recorded. If the disease is later proven in you, the contact persons noted in the diary can be informed of their risk of infection. The health department will contact you regularly and ask about your state of health.

For a de-isolation it needs to be symptom-free.

For immunosuppressed people, medical staff and residents of geriatric care facilities, the criteria for isolation may differ. You can find more information here.

If there are minor signs of illness: cure at home

If the coronavirus has been detected in you, but you have no or only slight symptoms, you can cure the infection at home. You should isolate yourself from other people during this time. If you live in the same household with other people, you should isolate yourself if possible by staying in a separate room. If possible, eat your meals separately from other members of the household. Have your purchases delivered to your doorstep and always ventilate the interior thoroughly. The responsible health department decides when the isolation can be lifted. However, they should remain isolated at least until ten days have passed since the onset of symptoms and there has been lasting improvement in the acute symptoms for more than 48 hours. The Robert Koch Institute provides further helpful tips.

Even those who have not been tested but suspect that they have been infected with the coronavirus should go into isolation at home as soon as possible. However, do not hesitate to seek medical advice if the symptoms of the illness worsen (for example, if it is difficult to breathe or if you develop a high fever). Call 112 in an emergency.

Break chains of infection with the AHA + L + A formula

Please note: Even if you have no symptoms, you could have become infected and thus infect others. That is why it is so important that we limit contacts and observe the AHA + L + A formula: A.hold on, Hpay attention to hygiene, im A.Wear mask regularly L.and the corona warningA.use pp. The use of the Corona warning app helps to relieve the burden on the healthcare system and to track contacts. The more people use the Corona warning app, the faster the chains of infection can be broken. In combination with the observance of AHA + L, the app also helps to contain the coronavirus pandemic.