When COVID-19 Requires Urgent Care

Apr 01, 2023
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The initial panic from the pandemic has faded, but COVID-19 still poses significant health threats. So how do you know when to isolate at home after a positive test and when to head to urgent care? Here are some guidelines.

Navigating the ever-evolving COVID-19 landscape can be challenging, especially when considering whether you need urgent care after testing positive. So, let's clear the air and dive into determining when a visit to urgent care is necessary for COVID-19 in today's context — spring 2023.

In 2020, before vaccines and variants, all COVID-19 symptoms were cause for alarm, and everyone sought emergency care. But the situation has transformed, and it's time to revisit the guidelines surrounding urgent care for COVID-19.

Dr. Amos Ladouceur and our team at Weekend Urgent Care have been testing, diagnosing, and treating the symptoms of COVID-19 from the beginning, and we’re well-equipped to help you and your family get through a bout of this persistent virus. We’re open seven days a week for our patients throughout View Park and Baldwin Hills, California, so you can count on quality care whenever you need us.

Here’s what you need to know about COVID-19’s current guidelines and how to determine if you need urgent care.

Signs that you may have COVID-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection — so is the common cold. It can be difficult to tell the difference because the symptoms are similar. However, the list of COVID-19 symptoms is longer, and some of them are more severe than those for a cold. Here’s what you might experience if you have COVID-19:

  • Cough (often persistent)
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache or body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

You may only have a few of these symptoms. For example, you can have a case of COVID-19 that only presents with congestion, cough, and a sore throat. Cases like this make it tricky to differentiate from other viral infections.

Another telltale sign of COVID-19 is the loss of taste and smell. These senses often return after the virus runs its course, but some people report a long-term loss. 

Test yourself for COVID-19

Now that at-home tests are available, testing for COVID-19 has never been easier. We recommend keeping a few tests at home so you have them at the ready whenever you suspect that you or a family member may have contracted the COVID-19 virus. A positive test helps you take steps toward keeping yourself and others safe.

If you test positive at home, you don’t necessarily need to seek urgent care. Dr. Ladouceur recommends that you:

  • Isolate yourself for five days
  • Wear a face mask
  • Avoid contact with others
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands often
  • Sanitize the surfaces in your home

Most people get over COVID-19 in about 10 days, but the elderly and those with compromised immune systems may not, so you must do your best to contain the virus. 

​​The coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 stealthily hitches a ride on tiny droplets, escaping into the air with every breath of an infected person. If you inhale these microscopic invaders, you could be next in line for infection. 

While initial advice in 2020 urged people to maintain a 6-foot distance from others to avoid this invisible enemy, it turns out that may not be enough. The droplets can linger in the air longer than previously thought, and with the emergence of more contagious variants, it's become even easier for the virus to find new targets. 

When to seek urgent care for COVID-19

If you're hit with a wave of COVID-19 symptoms, you’ll quickly realize just how debilitating they can be. Even a mild case can put you out of commission for a few days. But beware — here are some red flags that should send you straight to Weekend Urgent Care: 

  • Struggling to breathe beyond mere shortness of breath
  • Unrelenting chest pain or pressure
  • Difficulty staying awake or waking up 
  • Unusual confusion 
  • A pale, gray, or bluish hue to your lips, skin, or nails 

Keep in mind that everyone with COVID-19 — even those who've had it before or are vaccinated — runs the risk of experiencing severe symptoms, and some have a higher risk than others, such as pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions. 

If you don’t have an at-home COVID-19 test or would rather not do it yourself, come to Weekend Urgent Care for quick and accurate results. We offer two types of COVID-19 tests: the rapid antigen test, which provides instant results, and the more accurate PCR test, which delivers results in 24 hours. 

If you suspect you have COVID-19, we can help. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online to connect with our team and put your COVID-19 worries to rest.