How am I supposed to feel now?

Getting sick in times of the new coronavirusScratch in the Neck: How you to you now behavior should

The new type of corona virus is spreading more and more in Germany. This is particularly unsettling for those who are currently having a fever, coughing or catching a cold. We explain how you should act now if you feel sick.

(Please note: This post and the associated audio largely reflect the status of March 14, 2020. Updates are indicated in the online article.)

The risk of catching a cold, flu or flu at this time of year is quite high. The problem: Initially, the symptoms hardly differ from those of the novel coronavirus.

First of all, it is important not to panic! According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the probability that you have contracted the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus in Germany, which can trigger the lung disease Covid-19, is moderate. You can find the current risk assessment under "Risk assessment for Covid-19". And: In most cases, the Covid-19 disease caused by the virus will be mild if you have no previous illnesses.

Nevertheless, you should act when you feel sick - like this:

Checklist in case of illness:

  • Call a doctor if you have the following symptoms: cough, sore throat, fever, runny nose, possibly also diarrhea.
  • Do not go to the practice personally, but initially only contact them by phone. This reduces the risk of new infections.
  • If your family doctor cannot be reached, you can reach the nationwide patient service hotline on 116 117. Many health authorities have also switched corona hotlines, some of which are also manned on weekends. You can find the health department responsible for you by searching the Robert Koch Institute by zip code.
  • However, if it is an emergency - for example acute shortness of breath - then dial 112.
  • In any case, inform the doctor immediately on the phone if you have had contact with a person in the past 14 days with whom the virus has been detected or if you have been in a risk area identified by the RKI during this time. The RKI constantly updates the list of risk areas.

If you have symptoms of a cold or flu: stay at home

You can discuss the situation with your family doctor over the phone. It decides whether there is a justified suspicion of the novel coronavirus and a test should be carried out. It is based on a flow scheme of the RKI. The decisive factor is whether you had contact with a confirmed Covid 19 case in the 14 days before the onset of the illness or whether you were in a risk area.

If there is any suspicion: PCR test

If there is actually a suspicion of the novel coronavirus, a polymerase chain reaction test - or PCR test for short - is carried out. A swab is taken from the throat or a sample is taken when you cough up secretions. This sample goes to the laboratory of a university clinic. There it is determined whether the sample contains genetic material from the novel coronavirus. You will get back to the doctor within about two days. Until then: stay at home and avoid contact with other people. If you have no one who can go shopping for you or the like, the health department will advise you.

Medical certificate by phone

Even if you feel sick, but have not had contact with an infected person or have been in a risk area: Call before you go to the doctor. In order to relieve the medical practices as much as possible, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians and the Central Association of Statutory Health Insurance have agreed that it is enough to consult by phone if you have a mild upper respiratory disease. The doctor can use this to put you on sick leave for up to seven days. The health insurance certificate is usually sent by post. The regulation applies until April 5, 2020.

The procedure mentioned here was expanded again on March 25, 2020. On the one hand, patients with the above-mentioned diseases can receive a 14-day sick leave by telephone. On the other hand, this regulation now applies until June 23, 2020 (update from April 7, 2020)

Visit to the practice for other complaints

The same applies to other complaints, such as stomach pain: call a doctor and ask! Everyone has to decide for themselves whether the symptoms are so bad that they want to see a doctor. Chronically ill people should not do without their checks, but should clarify by phone whether there are any changes for them.

No symptoms - but stay in a risk area

As soon as you know that you have had direct contact with a person who tested positive for the virus, you should report to the health department - even without symptoms and complaints. The health department will try to get in touch with you anyway. It will then discuss with you which measures you should take in the next 14 days - i.e. the incubation period.

If you have just returned from a risk area, the RKI and the Ministry of Health recommend avoiding contact with other people for the next 14 days and stay at home in order to further contain the possible spread of the virus - regardless of symptoms.

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So far mild course

And again: don't panic! The responsible RKI says: Around 80 percent of infections with the novel corona virus are mild. So far, mainly older people with previous illnesses have died. Of the currently 3,758 cases in Germany, eight people have died so far (as of March 14, 2020, 2:40 p.m.).

John Hopkins University continuously publishes current international figures on an interactive world map.

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This leads to external content from a provider such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. If you load this content, personal data will be transferred to this platform and possibly other third parties. You can find more information in our privacy policy.