By Steffanie Campbell, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness – about 8 in 10. They are usually advised by doctors to recover at home with supportive treatment to relieve symptoms, which can last up to 14 days. There is currently no cure or proven treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine to prevent it.
Those recovering at home must first separate and isolate themselves from others in the home. COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Once isolated, supportive treatments can begin, which can include:
• Staying hydrated
• Monitoring temperature
• Taking over-the-counter medications, such as a pain reliever like acetaminophen for minor aches and pains and cough suppressants or expectorants
• Covering cough and sneezes
• Washing hands regularly
• Disinfecting surfaces
• Avoiding sharing utensils
• Considering using paper or disposable products for eating
If symptoms worsen, emergency medical care may be needed. Emergency symptoms may include:
• Difficulty breathing
• Extremely high temperature, 103 degrees Fahrenheit or above
• Chest pain or pressure
• Severe cough with choking
• Blue lips or face
Call their healthcare provider for guidance or alert 911 to their coronavirus infection.