The majority of people who are infected with coronavirus experience a mild or asymptomatic disease that can be treated at home. So if you’re experiencing the tell-tale signs of the virus, what should you do to feel better?
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by a coronavirus, include:
*Fever (a temperature above 37.8°C or skin which feels hot to touch).
*A new, continuous cough.
*Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
*Aches and pains.
*If you experience fever or a new continuous cough you should self-isolate immediately. Those experiencing a mild illness don’t need to seek medical attention.
However, you should use the Patient coronavirus checker tool again to find out what to do next if:
*You cannot cope with your symptoms at home.
*Your condition gets worse.
*You still have a fever, are feeling generally unwell or have other symptoms after a week.
*You are unable to do everyday tasks such as looking at your phone, reading or getting out of bed.
*Looking after yourself at home
*As with other viruses such as colds and flu, making it easy and looking after yourself is crucial to your recovery. You should:
Drink plenty of fluids. Drink enough water so that your pee is a pale, clear color. Avoid alcohol as this will make you more dehydrated.
*Get plenty of rest. You should isolate yourself at home if you have any symptoms of coronavirus and avoid any strenuous activity whilst you are unwell.
*Use over-the-counter medicines to treat some of your symptoms.
How to avoid infection from the coronavirus?
The novel coronavirus is primarily transmitted from person to person. At this point, the best way to prevent getting infected is to avoid being around people who have been exposed to the virus.
Additionally, according to the CDCTrusted Source, you can take the following precautions to lower your risk of infection:
*Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
*Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap isn’t available.
*Avoid touching your face unless you’ve recently washed your hands.
*Stay clear of people who are coughing and sneezing. The CDC recommends standing at least 6 feet away from anyone who appears to be sick.
*Avoid crowded areas as much as possible.
*Older adults are at the highest risk of infection and may want to take extra precautions to avoid coming into contact with the virus.
There is not currently a cure for COVID-19 or a vaccine against coronavirus. The aim of treatment is to manage and reduce symptoms until you have recovered.
Most people – around 80% – have an asymptomatic or mild infection which can be treated at home. In this case, you should self-isolate for at least one week until you have recovered.
One in five people who contract COVID-19 will require hospital care. Around 15% of cases experience a severe infection requiring oxygen to help with respiratory symptoms. 5% experience critical infections, requiring ventilation. Those at a higher risk of severe or critical infections include older people and those with underlying health conditions.
To relieve pain and fever, you can use painkillers like paracetamol.
In a recent comment, France’s health minister, Olivier Véran, said that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could aggravate the infection. These medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, among others.
Currently, there is no conclusive evidence that NSAIDs will make a coronavirus infection worse but until there is more information available, you should stick to other painkillers to treat a fever or headache. Anti-inflammatory drugs dampen the immune system which may make it more difficult for the body to recover.
However, if you have been prescribed an NSAID to treat a health condition, you should continue to take it until you are told not to. On 17th March, the Chief Scientific Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance, pointed out that these claims “May or may not be right” but did recommend using paracetamol rather than ibuprofen.
Some of the medications and treatments you might use to treat colds and flu will also help with coronavirus symptoms. Cough medicines or cough suppressants can help reduce your cough. Throat lozenges and remedies like honey and lemon may improve a sore throat.
If you have antibiotics lying around at home, do not take them to treat coronavirus. As it is a virus, antibiotics will not improve coronavirus. You should never take antibiotics that haven’t been prescribed for a certain condition.
Antibacterial handwashes (unless they’re also labeled as antiviral), cleaning products and hand sanitizers also won’t be effective in killing the virus on surfaces or your hands for the same reasons.
There are many natural ‘cures’ and herbal remedy ideas floating around the internet and in health stores. Currently, we aren’t aware of any remedy to cure COVID-19, so don’t be fooled by the ‘miracle’ treatments some people are trying to sell.
When to seek medical attention?
If your illness is worsening or your symptoms haven’t improved after seven days, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If it’s not an emergency, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call 111.
If there is an emergency and you need an ambulance, call 999 and tell the call handler that you have coronavirus.
Even under the new measures announced by the government to prevent people from leaving their homes for non-essential purposes, you are still able to seek medical care of all kinds. You should not see your GP or pharmacist if you think you might have coronavirus.
Any routine medical or dental appointments which you had previously booked should normally be cancelled whilst you are sick and at home. If you are asked to attend whilst isolating or you have concerns, call the practice or hospital first.