I have coronavirus

In brief

In brief

  • Stay home if the coronavirus test shows that you have coronavirus. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids. You can take paracetamol to treat a sore throat or fever. 
  • Call your GP or the out-of-hours service (huisartsenpost) immediately if 1 or more of the following conditions apply to you:
  • You feel more and more ill over a few days.
  • Your breathing becomes faster and faster or more difficult (for example while walking).
  • You are confused.
  • You have had a fever for more than 3 days (38 degrees Celsius or higher). 
    Are you over 70 years old, or do you have a chronic illness or a weakened immune system? In that case, call immediately if you have a fever.
  • The municipal health service (GGD) will tell you when you may leave your home.
Videos

Videos

What is it

What is the coronavirus?

The coronavirus can cause cold symptoms (blocked or runny nose, sneezing). Some people get more serious symptoms, like pneumonia (lung infection).

The virus is contagious. The virus can spread from one person to another through small droplets in the air.

A coronavirus test can show whether you have coronavirus.

What will I notice

What will I notice if I have coronavirus?

Common symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • fever (38 degrees Celsius or higher) or feeling feverish 
  • coughing (with or without mucus/phlegm)
  • feeling tired 
  • difficulty breathing or breathing faster, for example while walking 
  • sudden loss of taste or smell
  • cold (blocked or runny nose, sneezing), sore throat

Symptoms that occur less often are:

  • muscle or joint pain 
  • headache 
  • chest pain

Symptoms that sometimes occur are:

  • diarrhoea 
  • nausea or vomiting 
  • eye inflammation (red eyes) 

You won’t get symptoms immediately if you have the virus. It usually takes 5 to 6 days before symptoms appear.
But you can also develop symptoms after just 2 days. 
It never takes more than 14 days for symptoms to appear.

Are you pregnant? As far as we know now, coronavirus does not harm babies in the womb. If you are pregnant (in Dutch), you do not have a greater risk of becoming more ill from coronavirus.

Extra risk

Who is at a greater risk of becoming very ill from coronavirus?

You have a greater risk of becoming very ill from coronavirus in the following situations: The more points apply to you, the greater your risk: 

  • You are over 70 years old.
  • You have a weakened immune system, for example due to a serious illness or medication. 
  • You have diabetes and have had high blood sugar for a long time, or organ damage from diabetes.
  • You already have a serious heart or lung condition for which you see a specialist.
  • You have a kidney disease that requires dialysis.
  • You have HIV. (In the case of HIV it depends on the severity of your illness. Your doctor can tell you more about this.)
  • You are very overweight: your BMI (Body Mass Index) (in Dutch) is higher than 40. Even being a little overweight can increase your risk. 

Read about when to call here. Your GP will discuss with you whether you can and want to be treated in hospital or at home (in Dutch).

Are you taking medication that weakens your immune system? Never stop taking this medication without discussing this with your doctor first.

Advice to follow at home

Advice if the coronavirus test shows that you have coronavirus

Advice for your health

Stay home. Take good care of yourself. Coronavirus can make you feel very tired. Keep following this advice:

  • Drink 2 litres of fluids a day. 
    Keep a glass or bottle of water nearby. Take sips regularly.
    When you have a fever, you sweat a lot. You lose a lot of fluids. You therefore need to drink plenty of fluids. Otherwise you get dehydrated (your body dries out) (in Dutch). 
  • Make sure you eat enough. Are you unable to make sandwiches or cook yourself? Then ask others for help. 
  • Make sure you get enough rest.
  • Are you spending a lot of time in bed? Then try to get out of bed regularly. This prevents thrombosis (blood clots in a blood vessel). Walk around in your room. Or walk to the toilet. Try to get out of bed for at least 5 to 10 minutes 3 times a day.
  • If you have a fever: wear thin, loose-fitting clothes. In bed, a sheet is often enough if you feel warm. 
    This allows your body to get rid of the heat. For advice on what to do if you have a fever, see fever (in Dutch).
    Do not place a cold or wet cloth on the skin. Also do not rinse or sponge the skin with cold water.
  • For advice on what to do if you have a cough, see coughing.
  • Try to quit smoking (in Dutch). People who smoke probably have a greater risk of becoming very ill from coronavirus.

Advice to prevent spreading the virus to other people 

  • Only the people who live with you are allowed into your home.
  • Stay in your own room as much as possible. You may also sit in your garden or on your balcony.
  • Your family/housemates should stay out of your room as much as possible.
  • Keep a distance of 1.5 metres between each other. So do not hug, kiss or have sex.
  • Use your own separate cutlery, plates, cups and glasses.
  • Use your own toothbrush.
  • Use your own separate towels.
  • Use paper tissues to cough or sneeze into. If you don’t have a paper tissue, cough into your elbow.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Always wash your hands after coughing or sneezing, after going to the toilet, after cleaning and tidying up, and before eating.
  • Open all vents above your windows. Or, if you do not have these vents: make sure to leave open a small upper window. This allows fresh air in and stale air out. Also open a door or window for 30 minutes at least once a day. This allows a lot of fresh air in and stale air out quickly. 
  • Clean the bathroom and toilet regularly. Or ask someone else to do this for you. Also open the bathroom or toilet window for 30 minutes at least once a day.
  • Often clean things that are touched a lot, such as taps, light switches and door handles. Clean with an all-purpose cleaner first. Then clean again with a solution of water and bleach. 
    Then put the cleaning cloth into the wash immediately. Wash your hands with soap and water afterwards.
  • Put your washing in a separate laundry basket. Wash your laundry at least 60 degrees Celsius.

Click here for advice for your family/housemates.

Stress and anxiety
Medication

Can I get medication for coronavirus?

With coronavirus at home

If you are ill with coronavirus at home, there is no medication that will make you less ill or make you better faster.

Malaria medication won’t help either in that case. There are no studies that show that this medication helps. This malaria medication is called hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). This medication will not make you less ill or make you better faster. Not even if you take it with zinc or something else. But the malaria medication can have serious side effects, such as heart problems.

To treat pain and fever at home, it is best to take paracetamol.
Other painkillers (NSAIDs: ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen) have more side effects. This is why paracetamol is safer. Paracetamol also works better for reducing fever than ibuprofen. As far as we know now, NSAIDs do not make coronavirus worse.

Have you had deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (in Dutch) in your leg or a pulmonary (lung) embolism (in Dutch), or do you have cancer? And have you been lying in bed for more than 3 days in a row? Then you have a greater risks of blood clots in a blood vessel (thrombosis). In this case, your GP will discuss with you whether you should take blood thinners. 

Seriously ill, in hospital

When people are so ill that they are in hospital, the following medications could help:

  • medication that stops or slows down the virus
  • medication that reduces inflammation and suppresses the body’s immune system 

It is not known whether they really help. They can also have serious side effects.

People in hospital are also usually given blood thinners. This is to prevent blood clots in a blood vessel (thrombosis). People in hospital with coronavirus have a greater risk of thrombosis. Especially patients in intensive care.

What happens next

What happens next if I have coronavirus?

Most people have few symptoms. They also recover in a few days. 

Sometimes the virus can cause a severe lung infection (pneumonia). In this case, it takes longer to recover: a few weeks or more (in Dutch). People who have pneumonia are often very ill. They often have a fever and have difficulty breathing (for example while walking). 

Discuss with the municipal health service (GGD) when you may leave your home. Usually, you may leave your home and go back to work or school if you meet all 3 conditions below:

  • You have not had any symptoms for 24 hours or more.
  • Nobody in your house has a fever or difficulty breathing.
  • It has been 7 days or more since you developed symptoms. (For people with a weakened immune system: 14 days)

In that case, you are no longer contagious (can no longer spread the virus to others).

If you have coronavirus without symptoms, you may usually leave your home again 3 days after the test.

We do not know if people can get coronavirus more than once. This is still being studied.

When to call

When should I call my GP if I have coronavirus?

Call your GP or the out-of-hours service (huisartsenpost) immediately if 1 or more of the following apply to you:

  • You feel more and more ill over a few days.
  • Your breathing becomes faster and faster or more difficult (for example while walking).
  • You get more and more confused.
  • You have a fever for more than 3 days (38 degrees Celsius or higher).
  • You are over 70 years old, you have a chronic illness or a weakened immune system AND you have a fever (38 degrees Celsius or higher).

Do NOT go to your GP. The GP or assistant will ask you questions on the phone.
If necessary, the GP will examine you The GP will make sure this can be done safely (in Dutch), at the practice or at your home. The GP will wear glasses, a mask, gloves and a protective coat or apron.

If you are in poor health, you have a greater risk of dying from coronavirus. Discuss with your GP whether you can and want to be treated in hospital or at home (in Dutch).

More information

More information about coronavirus

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