As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, people's chances of getting infected also increased. Many are still confused as to the first thing they should do when they become exposed to COVID-19.
Several people would probably think that getting tested is the first thing to do. However, experts said that it should not be the case.
The First Thing to Do When You Get Exposed to COVID-19
According to Harvard Medical School, when you or someone in your family get sick, the first thing to do is call your doctor or local board of health and ask for advice. It is not advisable to seek medical care from the emergency department unless you experience severe illness symptoms.
Lisa Lee, a public health expert, and professor at Virginia Tech said that you should get into quarantine right away when you have been exposed to COVID-19.
"Immediately separate yourself from everyone else. And do that for 14 days," said Lee, who has worked in the CDC for 14 years.
It takes about four to five days for symptoms to show if someone is infected but the incubation period for the virus is from seven to 14 days, which is why suspected patients are required to quarantine themselves for two full weeks no matter what they feel or what their test results may be.
Lee said that it is a bad idea to just wait for the result and do nothing.
Since there is no approved vaccine yet, no treatment course is reliable, which works for everyone, as Science Alert reports.
COVID-19 could spread from asymptomatic people, and CDC said that asymptomatic spreaders account for 40% of all the positive cases. So staying quarantined is critical for someone who has been exposed to the virus.
Get Tested Five to Seven Days After an Exposure
The Minnesota Department of Health recommends one to undergo testing five to seven days after being exposed to COVID-19. It is also best to have more than one testing, especially when the first test comes back negative. Then get tested 12 days again after the initial event if it took a while for the symptoms to show.
In a study published in the journal Nature, infected individuals are more likely to spread the virus at an early onset or within the first week of symptoms. Additionally, some could also spread the virus even before the symptoms show.
Lee added that infected people spread the virus between the time they get infected and tested positive for the infection. That is why social mingling is strongly discouraged to avoid further spread of the disease. CDC also suggests to wear a face mask and be quiet if you should really need to share the same space with your family
In getting tested, make sure to get a lab test called the RT-PCR test as it is the gold standard for COVID-19 testing. It involves getting a nose and throat swab test analyzed in the laboratory to yield results.
Although this process may take more time than rapid testing, it is more precise than the latter. Rapid tests are suitable for quick screening, but they only look for a specific protein outside the virus.
Check out more news and information on COVID-19 in Science Times.