What to do if you've been diagnosed

When you contract COVID-19, an understanding of how to manage the illness, how to behave to prevent transmission to others, and how to work towards recovery, is key. Find out all you need to know.

To help contain the spread of COVID-19, you need to take proactive steps to prepare for an illness in the home. Here are practical guidelines on what to do if you get sick with COVID-19, basic supplies you'll need, and how you can ready your house.

What to do if you are sick with COVID-19

There is currently no approved treatment for COVID-19. The treatment we do have is supportive, targeted at alleviating symptoms and preventing the virus from spreading to others. Clinical trials are underway all over the world to try and find safe and effective treatments for COVID-19. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like COVID-19, and can only be used to treat secondary bacterial infections.

So, what can you do?

Protect your family members by staying in a specific room and away from other people in your home, completely isolating yourself from them. Use a well-ventilated room.

Do not share a bathroom (where feasible), eating utensils and other personal items like towels and bedding with other people in your household.

What you will need at home

Here are a few things you can do to get your home ready in case you or a family member contract the virus:

  • You will need soap and running water to use for regular handwashing. Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser with 60% to 70% alcohol content.
  • A working thermometer to monitor your body temperature. Over 37.5 degrees Celsius is considered a fever.
  • Prepare your meals beforehand, such as soups and stews that you can freeze for later. Visit the Vitality Home-Cooking Channel for advice on how to eat healthily while staying home.
  • Make sure you have enough clear liquids to drink, like herbal tea or apple juice, but remember, water remains the best way to stay hydrated.
  • Have some medicine at hand to alleviate any symptoms, such as paracetamol for managing a fever. Consult a doctor online to make sure you get the medicine that's right for you.
  • A box of tissues and a lined bin for safe and easy disposal of used tissues. Use tissues to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • A box of latex disposable gloves and face masks. Please remember to wear your mask at all times when you are around your family to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • If you have a chronic condition, you can still pre-order your chronic medicine and get family to collect it on your behalf. You can also get your medicine delivered at home.
  • Cleaning supplies, disinfectants, cleaning gloves and bin liners. Clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops and doorknobs. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.

Reach out if you need help

While you are staying home to help contain the spread of COVID-19, you need to stay connected to stay informed, stay positive, and reduce the stigma around the virus.

If you are in self isolation, your symptoms become serious and you need medical intervention, you or your family should contact the Fund's emergency services, ER24.

If, at any point, you need to speak to someone who can help you deal with feelings of anxiety or depression, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group offers a helpline dedicated to Discovery clients: Call them toll-free on 0800 01 02 03.

All medical information found on this website including content, graphics and images, is for educational and informational objectives only.

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