But health officials say the emergency room shouldn’t be their first stop if they are experiencing mild symptoms.
If a person is at home feeling any of the three key symptoms — fever, cough, shortness of breath — WellSpan Health is advising patients to first use its coronavirus assessment tool on its website at www.WellSpan.org/coronavirus. Scroll to the bottom of the page to take the assessment.
Patients can also set up an online urgent care appointment to be seen remotely at www.WellSpan.org/OUC.
Pennsylvania hospitals, and state and federal medical officials, are all recommending that patients with mild symptoms should check with their primary care physicians first.
If you do not have a regular doctor, you are advised to call your county health department or the state Department of Health. The state department can be reached at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).
“If you are worried but well, please stay home,” according to an advisory from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. “Going to a hospital or doctor’s office when well adds a higher number of people and can overwhelm medical staff.”
Coronavirus vs. allergies symptoms
Symptoms of coronavirus can sometimes be confused with seasonal allergies or the flu. These explanations from hospitals can help to spot the differences.
The following coronavirus symptoms appear 2 to 14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Shortness of breath
Less frequently, coronavirus also causes aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea, according to the World Health Organization.
The main difference between coronavirus and allergy symptoms is that allergies do not cause a fever, according to the CDC.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology identifies these symptoms of allergies:
- Runny nose, stuffy nose, and/or sneezing
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Dry cough
- Itchy, watery or puffy eyes
- Itchy nose, throat and ears
The main difference between coronavirus and flu symptoms is that the flu rarely, if ever, causes shortness of breath, according to the CDC.
The CDC and WHO identify these main flu symptoms:
- Dry cough
- Aches and pains
- Sore throat
Something that the coronavirus and flu have in common is that they both may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, coughing into your elbow, staying home when you’re sick and limiting contact with people who are infected, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Candy Woodall is a reporter for the USA Today Network. She can be reached at 717-480-1783 or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.
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