I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. This is what I’ve learned about COVID from experience and consulting with doctors, however. TALK TO A DOCTOR OR MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL YOURSELF BEFORE FOLLOWING ANYONE ELSE’S ADVICE.

Even if you’re vaccinated and fully boosted, it is still possible to come down with COVID. Fortunately, fully vaccinated people are much less likely to get seriously ill and almost certainly will not die.

If you begin feeling symptoms like a scratchy throat, fever, coughing, tightness in the chest, and other similar effects, and you take an antigen or a home test that shows positive, immediately schedule a PCR test as soon as possible to confirm. PCR tests are much more accurate and sensitive.

Once confirmed, quarantine yourself and call your doctor immediately to see if you’re eligible for the Paxlovid antiviral treatment. There are specific pre-existing health or bodily conditions you need to meet. Paxlovid can protect you from needing to be hospitalized and help you get over the worst flu-like symptoms in only two or three days. Keep a close eye on your temperature and blood oxygen levels. If you consistently fall under 90%, call a doctor right away.

Once you’re done taking Paxlovid (usually a 5-day course), watch out for a sudden return of flu-like symptoms. It does NOT mean you’ve got COVID again. Many people report that this is a typical aftereffect of the antiviral treatment.

Get tested in seven to ten days, but do not depend on a full PCR test to tell you when you’re over COVID. PCR tests are so accurate and sensitive that they will come back positive up to 90 days after you’ve been infected because they can even detect dead coronavirus DNA. Instead, take an antigen test — home tests are quick antigen tests. If you test negative, take another one to double-check. If that one is negative too, you’re done with COVID and are okay to be around other people again. However, wear your mask and maintain distance from others for another week or two to ensure you don’t infect them.