If you’re showing coronavirus symptoms, this new tool from the CDC can help you figure out what to do next
Coronavirus is spreading rapidly now, both around the world and in the U.S., where new cases are being confirmed by the thousands each day. Even though Americans in many states and cities are being told to shelter at home to avoid spreading the virus further, people are still getting sick, whether it’s because they work in essential jobs, they aren’t following social distancing recommendations, or they live in places where no lockdown orders have been given.
But as more people fall ill, the strain on the healthcare system grows. We’re trying to find a pretty delicate balance here — in order to understand the true danger and impact of the coronavirus in the U.S., we need to test people. But sending people who are experiencing mild symptoms to doctors’ offices and hospitals during the height of the pandemic is only going to further strain medical resources, potentially exposing more people and leaving the critically ill without the staff and supplies needed to take care of them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come up with a solution: An automated tool where you can answer questions if you or someone you care for gets sick. The tool includes questions about symptoms, including life-threatening ones that indicate severe illness, and medical conditions that might put a person more at risk for severe illness if they contract the coronavirus. At the end of the series of questions, the tool will provide locally specific recommendations about what you should do next — like call your local health department, seek emergency medical care, or just keep resting at home.
With how overloaded hospitals could become with an increase in coronavirus cases, it’s important that people know the symptoms of the virus and when they should seek care. The CDC is helping people make that choice in an informed way.
You can use the tool by going to this page on the CDC website and clicking the blue “Coronavirus Self-Checker” banner up toward the top of the page. Keep in mind that this is just a tool to help evaluate your symptoms and possible next steps you can take — it’s not a substitute for medical care if you’re seriously ill. But if you’re showing coronavirus symptoms and not sure what to do, it can help you see what resources are available in your area and what the CDC recommends based on the symptoms you have and how severe they are.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.