Self-Care Instructions for patients with Possible COVID-19

General Information

  • COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus that spreads from person to person.
  • The virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, talking or laughing. Droplets not blocked by masks typically do not travel more than 6 feet. Masks are meant to decrease the chance of you spreading the virus to others.
  • COVID-19 is usually a self-limited illness with most people experiencing mild to moderate respiratory illness without requiring special treatment.
  • Self-limited infections are ones that can be treated at home and will resolve on their own without seeing a medical provider.
  • While most patients have mild to moderate symptoms, some can develop serious illness that requires hospitalization. This may develop after a week of illness.

 Symptoms: (Mild to moderate disease)

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain
  • New loss of taste or smell

Self-care measures:

  • Rest.
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids.
  • Take Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) 650 mg every 6 hours and/or Ibuprofen (Advil®) 600 mg every 6-8 hours as needed to reduce fever, aches or other pains.
  • Treat any bothersome symptoms with over-the-counter medication.

Limit spread to others:

  • Isolate yourself as completely as possible. On-campus isolation housing will be offered to students already living on campus depending on space availability.
  • Isolation means:
    • Avoid interacting with anyone who has not been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Do not go out for meals. If you live on campus, you can call Aramark at 540-568-6751 to help arrange food delivery. If you live off-campus and have a meal plan, you should also call Aramark at that same number to discuss options.
    • You must stay within the confines of the isolation space and no one may visit you. You are allowed to visit with other students who are staying in the isolation space since they will have tested positive also.
    • You may only leave the isolation space for a health care visit due to worsening of your symptoms and the potential need for hospitalization.
  • You can leave isolation after 10 days from the onset of illness has passed AND your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Wear a mask if you must be around anyone else.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Wipe down any surfaces or objects you have used or touched before others use or touch them.
  • Contain coughs and sneezes using tissue or the crook of your elbow.
  • Contact the Dean of Students (540-568-6468 or by email to and contact all of your professors to let them know you are ill and unable to attend classes at this time.
  • Set up a plan with each professor related to your academic demands.

When to seek care from a medical provider:

  • If you are at high risk for complications (chronic lung disease to include chronic asthma on daily medication, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, immunocompromised)
  • Fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit that lasts for more than 3 days
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain/pressure in your chest
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • For symptoms that last over 10 days and get worse instead of better

Call ahead before seeing a medical provider.

  • We do not recommend seeking care at any local urgent care facility if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are getting worse.
  • If you feel well enough and need to see a medical provider at the UHC, call 540-568-6178 and speak to a nurse first.
  • If you are going to the Emergency Department, call ahead, especially if you have already been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • If you call 911 related to a COVID-19 illness, be sure to give the emergency operator that information.

CDC Links to more information:

This information is subject to change. We will update this website as the situation evolves.

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