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How to Properly Take Your Temperature

COVID-19 Information

Tue Mar 24 2020
Hands holding a thermometer

If you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, it may take up to 14 days to know if you will get sick. It is important to check your health two times each day for 14 days after you leave. Follow the steps below to check and record your health.

Step 1

Do health checks every morning and every night:

  • Take your temperature and/or that of family members who traveled with you and cannot do so themselves.
  • In addition to fever, be alert for any other symptoms of COVID-19, including cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Write your temperature and any symptoms in the log included in this booklet.
  • Write family members’ temperatures and symptoms in their own booklets. Family members who did not travel with you do not need to be monitored.

Step 2

If your health department asks you to report your temperature and any symptoms, follow their instructions.

Step 3

If you have a fever (fever is 100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or trouble breathing:

  1. Do not go out in public.
  2. Call the phone number listed for your health department in this booklet. Remind them that you are self-monitoring.
  3. If you can’t reach your health department, seek medical advice – call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel, your symptoms, and guidance received from the health department.
  4. Avoid contact with others.
  5. Do not travel while sick.
  6. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  7. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
  8. Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Before you take your temperature:

Wait 30 minutes after eating, drinking, or exercising.

Wait at least 6 hours after taking medicines that can lower your temperature, like:

  • Acetaminophen, also called paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin