One Good Turn, an Austin-based nonprofit organization that brings health care strategies to communities around the world, started developing resources for places in the world where COVID-19 testing wouldn’t be available.
This week it released a COVID-19 symptom tracker.
If you can check off that you have five of seven symptoms, it is mostly likely that you have the virus.
Then, Executive Director and Founder Dr. Ann Messer, said she realized that these resources could be good for people in Austin, too, where people can get tested.
In addition to the symptom tracker, handouts being added include:
What to do if you have the virus and have symptoms.
What to do if you have the virus and don’t have symptoms.
What to do if you are caring for someone with the virus.
How to keep your family safe when everyone around you seems to have the virus.
The resources will be on the website onegoodturn.org.
A lot of the advice is practical including taking low doses of zinc, which provides a barrier to COVID-19 entering the cells, and taking Vitamin D, which can help protect against developing pneumonia. She also recommends doing lung exercises that the American Lung Association recommends for people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and going outside to get Vitamin D.
"My goal is to keep people out of the hospital," she says.
The symptom tracker is one can you print out. It goes through the symptoms and asks you to keep a log that you can then hand to a medical provider.
The document has you fill out basic information, which could be helpful if someone else needed to take you to the hospital or if you are taking care of a family member. It asks for everything from height, age and weight to medications and pre-existing conditions. It allows you to not rely on your memory.
Then it asks you to track your symptoms and rate them twice a day for five days and then you print out another page for each additional five-day period you need to log.
The symptoms it logs are fever; cough; shortness of breath; fatigue; sore throat; nasal congestion; diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. It also asks you to record the fever, record your respiratory rate and oxygen level (and tells you how to get those numbers) and blood pressure.
Tracking your symptoms is important with this disease, Messer says, because there’s something called the Day 8 Syndrome — in which people are most often admitted to the hospital between Day 7 and Day 10. This is the point where the immune system, which is attacked by the virus, gets tired and becomes overwhelmed.
If you haven’t been tracking, you might not know where you are in the cycle, she says.
It’s also important because you need to be three days without symptoms without medicine before you can come out of quarantine.
A third reason to track, Messer says, is this is a disease in which doctors are finding new symptoms and new patterns regularly. You can help doctors discover more about the disease through your symptom tracking.