Viral respiratory symptoms include fever, shaking chills, cough and major weakness or fatigue. These symptoms can be caused by influenza (flu), novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and other respiratory viruses.

Most patients have mild symptoms and recover on their own. Rest, hydration and sleep are helpful. As of today’s visit, you are well enough to be home and treat your symptoms with oral fluids, medicines for fever, cough, and pain. Follow these guidelines from the CDC for self-care when you are sick:

COVID-19 testing is now performed on most people with symptoms or close contacts to a known case. In the event COVID-19 testing is indicated, testing will be coordinated with the Gallatin City-County Health Department (GCCHD) and results will be available in approximately 24-72 hours. You will be contacted by a member of our team when the result is known.

Regardless of whether you are tested for COVID-19, you may still be asked to self-isolate as a precautionary measure.


If you have been told to self-isolate:

  • Please stay home.
  • Monitor your symptoms closely and seek medical attention if your symptoms are worsening.
  • Avoid public areas and public transportation.
  • Wear a face mask if you have one and must be around others.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, dispose of the tissue then immediately wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces daily (doorknobs, light switches, bathroom faucets and handles, etc.).
  • CDC guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in homes and residential communities can be found here:


Discontinuing Home Isolation:

During the COVID-19 pandemic individuals with symptoms of viral illness are directed to care for themselves at home.  Discontinue home isolation under the following conditions: 

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since your last fever without needing any fever-reducing medications such as aspirin, tylenol, ibuprofen, etc.


  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g.: decreasing cough, decreasing shortness of breath); 


  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. 


What supportive measures may help?

You can do several things that will help you feel better while you are recovering on your own:

  • Get extra sleep.
  • Drink lots of liquids like juices, broth and soda.
  • For head congestion, try 12-hour Sudafed. This long-acting formulation of pseudoephedrine can give prolonged relief and is available over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription. Pseudoephedrine will usually not make your drowsy but can make you jittery. Avoid taking before bedtime as it might keep you awake.
  • For cough, try Delsym or any similar long-acting cough syrup that contains dextromethorphan and is available OTC. It might make you drowsy, so it is okay to take it at bedtime but be careful driving or operating equipment while taking it. Also, avoid dextromethorphan-containing medicines if you are taking antidepressant medications such as Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Cymbalta or Lexapro.
  • For fever, headache, muscle aches and sore throat, take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Take two 325-mg tablets every six hours as needed. To avoid liver damage, do not exceed 8 tablets or 3000 mg of acetaminophen in 24 hours. Acetaminophen is preferred, but another option would be to take ibuprofen (e.g. Motrin, Advil). Take two 200-mg tablets four times per day with a meal or snack. Take these regularly for three or four days with 8-16 oz of fluid each time.
  • For vomiting: Do not eat or drink anything till you have not vomited for four hours, then sip on liquids for 24 hours. If no further vomiting, begin eating mild foods like crackers, mashed potatoes, rice, applesauce, for 24 hours. Then resume your regular diet.


Complications from viral respiratory syndromes can be serious. If you develop shortness of breath, chest pain, uncontrolled vomiting or stiff neck you will likely need to be rechecked. However, it is of utmost importance to call ahead to SHP Medical Services, Urgent Care, or the Bozeman Health Emergency Room before you travel to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.