Self-monitoring means watching closely for symptoms in yourself or your dependents. At the first sign of symptoms, such as increase in body temperature or development of a cough or sore throat or shortness of breath, you should self-isolate and use the testing options available to you.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold and may include one or more of the following:
- muscle and/or joint aches and pains
- sore throat
- runny nose
- nasal congestion
- loss of appetite (difficulty feeding for children)
- altered sense of taste or smell
- shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing
Note that some people experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
1. Self-Monitoring vs. Self-Isolation
Self-monitoring means paying attention to your health and so you can identify signs of sickness. During a pandemic, everyone should be self-monitoring. It is important to know the symptoms of COVID-19 and to act appropriately if you have those symptoms.
Self-isolation means staying at home to prevent the spread of infection. If you are sick, it is recommended that you self-isolate and use the testing options available to you. This will help stop the spread of the virus so that other people don't get sick.
2. I have been advised to self-monitor. What are my next steps?
Ensure your home is supplied with basic needs including food, medications (such as fever-reducing medications and prescriptions), personal hygiene products, pet supplies, etc. to support you to stay at home and isolate if symptoms develop. Have a plan for whom to contact if you develop fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period who can help access medical assessment if needed.
Carefully monitor your symptoms twice a day. Be alert for cough or difficulty breathing and document on a worksheet for tracking.
A fever is defined as:
- Temperature of 38 C or higher (infant/child rectal temperature or adult oral temperature);
- Infant (under 3 months) armpit temperature of 37.3 C or higher;
- Child armpit temperature of 37.6 C or higher;
- Adult ear (tympanic) temperature of 38.1 C or higher; or
- 1 degree C above a person's usual temperature.
3. What if I need medical care?
Pay attention to your health and how you are feeling. You can call HealthLine 811 anytime to get advice about how you are feeling and what to do next.
If leaving your home for medical care from a primary care physician or walk-in clinic, call ahead and tell the clinic you are coming in and that you are self-monitoring due to the risk of COVID-19. They may have instructions for you to ensure your safety and the safety of staff.
If it becomes harder to breathe, you can't drink anything or you feel very unwell, go to an urgent care clinic or emergency department.