I've Been Exposed to Someone With COVID-19

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: April 7, 2020

With the continued spread of the coronavirus, many of us will likely be exposed to the virus. Not everyone who is exposed will get sick, and some who contract the virus will only experience mild symptoms. However, it is essential to remember that even if you don’t have any symptoms, it is possible you could still have, and spread, COVID-19. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve come into contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms or someone who later develops symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking several steps to protect yourself and others.

Isolate
When you know that you’ve been exposed to someone with symptoms - cough, fever, shortness of breath - or someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you need to begin isolating yourself at home right away. The CDC recommends isolating for 14 days after possible exposure.

If you are the only member of your household exposed, you need to isolate yourself in a separate room of the home to prevent the spread of the virus to your roommates or family members. This is especially important if anyone in your household is at a higher risk. If possible, you should designate a room and a bathroom for your exclusive use. If you leave your designated area, wear a face mask. Be sure to clean and disinfect your home, as studies suggest the coronavirus can live on various surfaces and in the air for hours and even days.

Self-Monitor
While you are self-isolating, keep an eye out for any developing symptoms. Take your temperature twice a day, and any time you feel like you have a fever. Watch out for a cough or shortness of breath. Typically, symptoms occur about 4-5 days after exposure. Though, the time from exposure to onset of symptoms is believed to be anywhere from 3-14 days, according to experts. If you start to experience any of these symptoms, call your primary care physician for advice. For more information on what to do if you start having symptoms, click here.

Utilize Telemedicine
It is understandable to want to go directly to the emergency room or your doctor, but this is not the best course of action. After you’ve been exposed, call your primary care physician and let them know. Many healthcare providers have expanded their telemedicine offerings. Instead of leaving your home, you can talk to a medical professional over video chat on your phone, tablet, or computer. For more information on Kroger Health’s telemedicine service, click here.

If you do not develop any symptoms after 14 days of isolation, you can end your quarantine. Exposure to COVID-19 can be scary. If you have questions or concerns after being exposed, schedule a telemedicine visit with one of our healthcare professionals. We’re here to help.


Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.