If you wake up feeling listless, have a headache, sore throat and a cough, how do you know if it is seasonal allergies or the dreaded COVID-19?
These are the questions everyone is asking these days, as the disease is still impacting people in the Clearfield County area.
One of the biggest symptoms of the virus that you will not have with seasonal allergies is a fever.
Other things symptoms of the virus are:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
It is recommended that you seek emergency medical care immediately if you have trouble breathing, a persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, an inability to wake or stay awake, a high fever and if your lips or face turn blue, the CDC says on its Web site.
Those considered as “higher-risks” due to their health conditions are also encouraged to contact their doctor or to seek treatment immediately if they have any symptoms.
But what if you are sick but not in need of emergency care? How does one get tested for the virus?
First, there are no “walk-in” tests given locally.
The county has a few options for testing, but all involve consulting with a health care professional or completing an assessment.
The only drive-thru testing done in the area is at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Clearfield.
Prior to registering to be tested there, you have to complete a short questionnaire about your health and your symptoms at corporate.walmart.com/covid19testing. The Clearfield Wal-Mart site is being administered by Quest Diagnostics.
If recommended by the questionnaire for a test, you will be required to register your basic information and then be directed to a site to set up your appointment for an actual test.
Their tests are a self-administered nasal swab, according to the Web site.
From your car, you will be given a swab and someone will watch to be sure you take a proper sample. Then you drop it off in a separate container as you drive out of the testing area.
You should receive results via your e-mail in about two days.
If you are a patient of Penn Highlands Healthcare, you are asked to first contact your primary care physician for guidance about your symptoms.
Or you can do a virtual visit with a physician at MyHealthNow either on your computer or by downloading the app.
If needed, your test will be arranged at one of Penn Highland’s Q Care Clinics. Their locations include Clearfield, DuBois, Brookville, Ridgway and St. Marys.
It is also a swab test that can be billed to your insurance or will cost $70.
If UPMC is your choice for treatment, you should know that they have developed its own test using a nasopharyngeal swab. This also requires a physician order or appointment in order to receive a test.
According to the UPMC web site, the amount of time it takes to get results depends on how many tests they are doing. They sometimes receive results are early as 24 hours.
Visit Upmc.com/COVID19 for screening questions and more information on the disease.
If you have UMPC For You insurance, you can call 1-866-918-1591 for the UMPC MyHealth Nurse Line where you can talk to a nurse about your symptoms and be directed to your next step.
They also have an option for a video doctor visit via a smart phone, tablet or on the MyUPMC app.
Geisinger Health Care has made testing available in Philipsburg. Like UPMC, it has its own nasal swab test.
Geisinger also suggests first contacting your primary care physician, having a virtual visit (geisinger.org/telemedicine) or calling the Geisinger nurse triage line at 570-284-3657 to discuss your case and make an appointment for a test.
According to its Web site, Geisinger test results are available between three and 24 hours.
It is estimated that 80 percent of those infected have only mild symptoms. Even so if you suspect you have it, you should isolate yourself from others, even those in your own home, according to the CDC.
Family members should not use any of the same items as the patient, and if possible, the sick individual should be quarantined in a separate room and use a different bathroom.
“Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better,” is what the CDC recommends for mild cases.
After you have been fever-free for three days or if it has been 10 days since your symptoms first appeared, you can end your quarantine, the CDC suggests.
“You should monitor your symptoms especially if you have trouble breathing or a fever and if they worsen, be sure to seek treatment immediately.”