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If you have a fever, don’t jump to the conclusion that you have COVID. – Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FAAN
With more and more cases of COVID being diagnosed every day, our healthcare systems are adapting by using more telehealth and virtual office visits for primary care, and you can go get a COVID test on your own if you have any symptoms that are related to COVID – such as a fever, chills, and/or muscle aches. But there are some potential pitfalls and perils to this system, making it hard to navigate and can lead to you ending up being sicker than you needed to be if we still lived in a pre-pandemic world.
In this week’s episode, you’ll learn about:
- 3 Things to Know if You Get Sick (with anything else!) during COVID
Part One of ‘3 Things to Know if You Get Sick During COVID’
About two weeks ago, I decided to take a little vacation, as many of us are doing now that it’s summer and we’ve all been in quarantine for months. So, I rented an AirBnB and was riding a jet ski, going about twenty-five miles an hour when I fell off and ended up hurting my back. A week after I retired from vacation, my back was doing better and I thought I was going to be ok.
On Day 8 after the jet ski tumble, I did a webinar for something related to work and by the time I was done, I felt terrible. I checked my temperature and discovered I now had a new symptom: A fever. Fevers lead to chills, followed by aching all over (including my back hurting again)…and then the story takes a turn for the worse, and there are some lessons I learned the hard way – and wanted to share them with you in hopes of preventing you from experiencing what I did.
Stay healthy. It’s the best strategy of all.
– Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FAAN
When my fevers started, as a nurse, I began self-management of my fever, chills, and aches by taking Tylenol, alternating with Motrin and waiting to see what would happen by the next day. In the meantime, I decided to call my primary care provider. I tried to call them (no answer) and their website wasn’t helpful either at the time. I couldn’t figure out how to make an appointment and wasn’t able to talk to anyone there.
So, I found another provider online and was able to get a virtual appointment the next day (Friday). But because I had the fever and the muscle aches and all the other stuff, I thought maybe I had COVID because I recently traveled, I decided to be proactive and go on and get a COVID test, so that would be in the works while I waited for my virtual appointment on Friday.
By Saturday, my fevers were up to 103.3; called the same place back on Monday morning and was given another virtual appointment for Tuesday at 4pm – and ended up visiting two Urgent Cares and spending 6 hours on a hospital gurney in the ER for antibiotics. At the end of the day, if I had been able to go in and see someone Friday, a urinalysis and basic blood work would have been done to determine why I had a fever – but that didn’ happen because of my virtual visit.
Part Two of ‘3 Things to Know if You Get Sick During COVID’
Long story short: Here are the top three things you should know if you get sick during the COVID pandemic:
Tip #1: Know how to get in touch with your primary care provider, make an appointment, and access primary health care before you get sick.
Tip #2: Know which urgent cares will see you for non-respiratory symptoms and/or respiratory symptoms before you get sick.
Tip #3: Think twice before you take it upon yourself to be proactive and get a COVID test before you’ve talked to your provider. It just complicates things at the end of the day (in my opinion).
Wear your face mask when going out, because this COVID-19 thing is real. – Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FAAN
So at the end of the day, try not to jump to the conclusion that you have COVID if you get a fever.. If you feel like you have the possible symptoms, talk to a provider first to try to figure out the best way to get any labwork or tests done in your local area.
Stay tuned for the next episode and I’ll give you three tips (and a bonus tip!) for how you can take care of yourself when you’re sick at home and managing being sick. Keep safe and stay healthy!
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (‘96) and Master of Science in Nursing (‘00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I truly enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home and office visits) then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer.
I obtained my PhD in Nursing and a post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing (’11) and then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the faculty at George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor where I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health and Humanities.
Find out more about her work HERE.