Have mild flu-like symptoms? Doctors say: just stay home

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CHICAGO —  Feeling sick, or concerned you or a family member might have COVID-19? 

The first step isn’t demanding to get tested, doctors say. Instead, anyone experiencing mild, typical flu symptoms like fever, cough and chills should just stay home.

“Getting tested and knowing is not really going to help you, there’s not much we do for you in the hospital if you would have mild illness anyway,” said Dr. Jeffrey Linder, Northwestern University.

Linder is the Chief of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and says while we still “do not have a lot of the answers” about COVID-19, staying home and away from other people is still best. 

While we’ve become accustomed to instant answers and immediate care and relief, he says COVID-19 has brought about a change in the way people get medical attention these days.

“Our primary care system is organizing much more care over the phone, over video, talking to people and if they do have symptoms, really being careful about who does need to come in and be seen,” Linder said.

Those visits are now reserved for people most at risk, including the elderly, people who have compromised immune systems and those who have severe symptoms. 

People experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, persistent chest pain or pressure, bluishness of the face and/or confusion should then seek emergency medical care. 

Otherwise, he said practicing social distantancing and staying home can help cut down on the number of COVID-19 cases, which have seen a sharp rise in illinois.

“The problem is, if we over-tax the healthcare system, if you’re young and healthy and develop appendicitis and we have a tremendous spike of COVID-19 cases, and all the ventilators in the hospital are used up, we literally may not be able to take care of you,” Linder said.

Still, Dr. Linder points out the vast majority of people who come down with COVID-19 will recover.

The best advice is if you think you have COVID-19, call your doctor and don’t go in for a visit.


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