If it is confirmed that you have been infected with COVID-19, the first thing to do is to not panic. There have been more recoveries than fatalities from COVID. Most cases are mild, and you can recover safely at home. However, where symptoms such as chest pains, troubled breathing, difficulty sleeping, discoloration of lips or skin occur, you must seek emergency care immediately.
You must alert those who have been in contact with you so they can get tested and isolated once a positive test is confirmed. You do not want to infect others with the virus so you must isolate yourself at home. If you live with others, isolating yourself in a room would help keep others safe. Wearing a mask, and staying at a distance from everyone in your household, including your pets, is necessary, and avoiding physical contact while you are still sick is very important.
To prevent the spread of the virus, hygiene is extremely important. Washing hands and cleaning surfaces with alcohol-based sanitizers are common practice, including thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing clothes and bedspreads, and doing so in a separate wash from other’s laundry.
When seeking medical care for your symptoms, it’s best to not go to the hospital unless recommended by your doctor. This is to keep others safe from getting infected. Telehealth sessions during the pandemic and currently have been proven useful to still get the adequate care while socially distancing yourself for the safety of others.
In the United States, the FDA has approved a few medications for emergency use in life-threatening situations, along with oral antiviral medications to treat COVID-19. The WHO Solidarity PLUS trial includes studies conducted all over the world in a global collaboration to find the next best cure for COVID-19. Remedies that alleviate various symptoms and make it easier to manage the infection have been recommended, however it’s best to always consult with your doctor before self-treating with any kind of remedy, prescription or non-prescription.
For infections that result in milder symptoms, care at home and symptom relief is recommended. Common over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen have been shown to be effective in reducing fever, aches and pains. For cough, it is recommended you sit up, use a menthol-type topical like vapor rub or air humidifier to help breathing, and stay hydrated. Studies show lying face down instead of on your back can also help with mild breathing difficulty. For extreme breathlessness, seek medical care from your doctor right away.
Supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc, as well as natural remedies like green tea and ginger have been considered to help with COVID-19 symptoms, however studies are few and often times yield inconsistent results. Although there is some rationale to these remedies, more studies need to be conducted to conclude evidence. If you’re considering taking any supplements, it’s always best to consult your doctor or seek a professional such as a naturopathic doctor or herbalist for guidance. It’s best to keep in mind that just because these supplements are not prescription medications and labeled “natural”, it does not mean they are free from side effects or drug interactions. Natural remedies are not always safe. This means that you must be careful before taking any of them when you have COVID-19 symptoms. Taking enough fluid, eating healthy and resting well remain important to support recovery from infection.