The most common signs of COVID-19 are fever, cough, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea and diarrhea. These symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Most people can recover at home from COVID-19 disease without the need for hospital care. However, you may need to seek emergency medical care especially if you are having severe signs of sickness such as trouble breathing, bluish lips or face, persistent chest pressure or pain, new confusion, inability to stay awake. It is important to talk to your health care provider when you become sick. Your health care provider can guide you regarding testing and treatments and will help decide if you can stay home or benefit from going to the hospital. You can also use CDC’s self-checker tool to help you decide about seeking medical care. Help for COVID-19 is always changing and many clinical trials are ongoing.

At-Home Coronavirus Treatment

If your signs of sickness are not severe, you likely can get better at home. Try doing the following to help you get better and protect others from getting sick.

  • Rest as much as possible.
  • Stay home. Don't go to work, school, or outside. It is very important that you don't make your family or others sick while you are recovering.
  • Stay in one place in your home. If possible, use a separate room and bathroom.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow. Wear a mask even at home to prevent making others sick.
  • Tell others that you are sick so they can stay away.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Don't share dishes, eating utensils, cups, towels, or bedding with anyone.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, counters, and tables.
  • Drink lots of water. You tend to lose water when you are sick. This could make you feel worse and cause other health problems.
  • Check your progress daily. If signs of sickness get worse, call your health care provider right away. Don’t show up without calling first. They need to time your arrival or take extra steps to protect staff and other people.
  • Advances in understanding of COVID-19 disease and treatment options are occurring almost daily. Therefore, it’s important to notify your Health care provider when you get sick and if your symptoms worsen. You may qualify for a treatment that may help you get better sooner or prevent you from getting severely ill. For example, you may qualify for Bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody that has FDA EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) approval for outpatient use in patients 12 years or older who are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 or hospitalization.
  • Also, ask your healthcare provider about over-the-counter medicines that may help with managing your symptoms. Make sure to tell your health care provider about all of the medicines you are already taking; including any over-the-counter and herbal medicines. Medication interactions can be very dangerous and can occur with even vitamins or medications that are available over-the-counter.
  • Remember that treatments used for COVID-19 should be prescribed by your healthcare provider. People have been seriously harmed and even died after using medications not approved for COVID-19, even though these medications may have approval for other uses.
  • Check the CDC if you are sick page for more advice on how to take care of COVID-19 symptoms at home for yourself or your loved ones.

Coronavirus Treatment in the hospital

If your signs of sickness are severe, you may need to go to the hospital.

  • You will most likely be admitted to a private room with strict precautions in place to prevent others from getting sick.
  • Unfortunately, you will not be able to have any visitors, but you will be able to speak to them by using a phone or an iPad. Your health care team can also help to update your family. It will be helpful to your health care team if you designate one person as your family’s spokesperson. Make sure to give the contact information of this person to your nurse.
  • You will have many blood tests, and imaging tests such as x-rays and CT scans to examine your general health and the condition of your lungs.
  • You will be given Oxygen to help you breathe better. Different masks may be used depending on how much help your lungs need.
  • If you are very sick, you will go to the intensive care unit. You may need to be placed on a ventilator if your lungs are unable to oxygenate your blood well. The ventilator is a breathing machine that gently pushes air into the lungs.
  • Most people need to be given fluids and antibiotics during the hospitalizations.
  • You may receive antiviral medications such as Remdesivir that help slow the virus.
  • You may receive medications such as Dexamethasone which is a steroid to help reduce an overactive immune response.
  • COVID-19 can cause damage to multiple organs in your body including the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and brain. Depending on the complications, you may receive additional treatment such as blood thinners to prevent or treat blood clots.
  • Other treatments to help support your body’s immune function such as Convalescent Plasma may be considered. Convalescent plasma is plasms that is donated by patients who have recovered from COVID-19. This plasma contains antibodies to the virus which could help your immune system in recognizing and better responding to the virus.
  • You will be in the care of your team of nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and other health care members. They work together to help you get better.
  • Refer to NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelinesfor up-to-date information on all treatments currently being offered or considered for COVID-19 disease.

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