What You Need to Know About Recovering From COVID-19
Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, some information may not be up to date. Stay informed by following information from your local officials and by visiting the CDC website.
The road to recovery from COVID-19 looks different for everyone who has it. However, there are some general guidelines to help people understand whether or not they have recovered and whether it is safe to integrate back into life after quarantine.
If You Have Been Diagnosed With COVID-19
For people who have been tested and diagnosed with this virus, there is a clear set of guidelines from health officials for being considered recovered. If you have been symptom-free for three days — without the use of fever-reducing medication — and it’s been more than 10 days after initial symptoms appeared, you are generally considered recovered.
For those who can be tested again, the CDC considers a patient fully recovered if the above criteria are met and they have two negative COVID-19 tests in a row, 24 hours apart.
Because most people remain quarantined at home, “re-integrating” back into life still means staying at home. But once recovered, you can make a trip to the grocery store to get essential supplies. The CDC advises wearing a mask in public whenever possible, even for healthy individuals.
If You Have Symptoms but Have Not Been Tested
Because the symptoms of COVID-19 can be mild for some individuals, it’s difficult to know the exact number of affected people in total. This virus is very contagious, so it’s smart to consider yourself affected even if you do not have access to a test. Just like those who are officially diagnosed, you can consider yourself recovered if you meet these guidelines from the CDC:
- Three full days without fever and without the use of fever-reducing medication
- Other symptom improvement, for example, a cough going away
- 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
If you believe you have COVID-19, isolate yourself from other individuals in your home and avoid sharing personal household items. Once you are fully recovered, you should still self-isolate, but you can return to a more normal lifestyle at home.
Antibody Response and Testing
When people have COVID-19 and their illness does not progress, they are able to self-cure because their body develops antibodies. This generally occurs around 10-14 days after initial infection and effectively renders these people immune to getting COVID-19 in the future. According to the CDC, people who have recovered from this virus and been released from isolation are not a threat for spreading the virus.
Many people are interested in measuring antibodies in people who have recovered. By understanding how many people have been exposed to the virus, we can better understand how it spread and why certain people got sicker than others. Learn more about antibody tests here.
If you believe you have COVID-19, contact your primary care physician immediately. They can ask about your symptoms and advise if you should be tested and what additional steps you should take. Follow their advice regarding quarantine and leaving isolation. If you need to speak to a doctor but don’t want to leave your home, you can schedule a virtual visit with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician.