COVID-19: Self-care if you are sick

By Joseph Jones (Madigan Army Medical Center)January 15, 2021

(Photo Credit: JONES.JOSEPH.CIV.1058660694) VIEW ORIGINAL

MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. – We have all seen the severe illness and hospitalizations that can develop in those with COVID-19, however, a majority of people have mild illness and are able to self-care and recover at home. If you are sick, be sure to keep track of your symptoms.

“Pay attention to your health and how you are feeling. Most people can manage their symptoms at home. For instance, if you have a fever, stay hydrated and use non-prescription medicine like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) to reduce fever and relieve minor aches and pains,” said Dr. Diane Devita, Madigan's chief of emergency room operations in a recent video presentation streamed on the Madigan Facebook page to educate patients about self-care while sick.

Nutrition during Recovery

“Moderation is key,” says Lt. Col. Julie Rylander, who is the chief of the Nutrition Care Division. “Having a healthy, well-balanced diet as a base is essential,” added Rylander.

Indeed, it’s very important to watch what you eat while recovering. During this dual pandemic and flu season, we all have to keep ourselves as healthy as possible. A well-balanced diet includes things like lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and lots of vegetables. A proper diet is incredibly important in order to support overall health, mental health and the immune system.

Get Plenty of Rest

While infected with a new virus, your body is extremely busy. While we sleep, our body is working very hard to rejuvenate and repair itself. Be sure to give your body the time it needs to rest.

Stay home

While sick, please don’t not leave your home unless it’s to get medical care. Do not visit public areas. Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis. Staying home until you are no longer sick and consulting with your care team before discontinuing quarantine protects others and can help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Stay connected

Stay connected with family, friends and support systems using available technology. Being isolated to stop the spread doesn’t mean you are closed off from the world; you can reach out virtually to friends and loved ones.

“COVID-19 has perpetuated the fragmentation of society. Our Service Members need to spend time virtually with their family and friends,” said Col. Christopher Perry, chief of Madigan’s Department of Behavioral Health, “But don’t forget to also strive for authentic relationships where you are.”

Use this time at home to also let any of your close contacts know that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are doing your part to help protect others.

Stay in touch with your provider. Call ahead before you seek medical care. You can talk to a nurse on the MHS Nurse Advice line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273), option 1, to get advice about how you are feeling and to answer any questions you have on what to do next. Seek care immediately if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face or have any other emergency warning signs.

For more information, visit: and follow @Madiganhealth on Facebook.

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