Diagnosis

If you develop symptoms of infection with the new coronavirus, called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), contact your doctor. Tell him or her about any recent travels, especially international travel. Also let your doctor know if you've had close contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Your doctor may take samples, including a sample of saliva (sputum), a nasal swab and a throat swab, to send to the CDC for testing.

Treatment

Currently, no antiviral medication is recommended to treat infection with the new coronavirus. Treatment is directed at relieving symptoms and may include:

  • Pain relievers
  • Cough syrup or medication
  • Rest
  • Fluid intake

If your doctor thinks you can be treated at home, he or she may give you special instructions, such as to isolate yourself as much as possible from family while you're sick and to stay home for a period of time. If you're very ill, you may need to be treated in the hospital.

Preparing for your appointment

You may start by seeing your primary care doctor. Or you may be referred immediately to a doctor trained in treating infectious diseases. If you think you have been infected with the new coronavirus, tell your doctor or clinic before coming in. The doctor and medical team can then:

  • Contact infection prevention and control and public health officials
  • Prepare to move you to a room quickly
  • Have a mask ready for you

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance. Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
  • Your recent travels, including any international travels
  • Key personal information, including major stresses, recent life changes and family medical history
  • All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take, including the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.

Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • How likely is it that the new coronavirus is causing my symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need?
  • What course of action do you recommend?
  • Are there restrictions I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions, such as:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Where have you traveled recently?
  • Who have you been in close contact with?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
Feb. 22, 2020
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  2. Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019. Accessed Jan. 31, 2020.
  3. AskMayoExpert. 2019-nCoV (Wuhan coronavirus). Mayo Clinic; 2020.
  4. AskMayoExpert. Upper respiratory tract infection. Mayo Clinic; 2020.
  5. Tosh PK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Feb. 7, 2020.