Here’s how to treat mild or moderate COVID-19 and alleviate symptoms, with help from over-the-counter medications, nondrug strategies, antiviral pills, remdesivir, or monoclonal antibodies.
By Becky Upham
If you come down with mild or moderate COVID-19, you probably know that you need to stay home to avoid infecting other people. But you may not know all the things you can do to battle the virus.
Over-the-counter drugs and nondrug interventions can help you cope with COVID-19 symptoms, which are typically some mix of runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, muscle or body aches, fever or chills, or other issues.
If you are at high risk of becoming extremely sick or even dying from COVID-19 — because you are elderly or obese, for example, or because you have a medical condition like diabetes — you may be eligible for new experimental therapies authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Unfortunately many people do not have easy access to these treatments, which include antiviral pills like the highly effective Paxlovid.
The first thing you should do if you think you have COVID-19: Confirm with a test, since the symptoms of COVID-19 can resemble those of other conditions like the common cold or seasonal allergies. If you test positive, call your doctor. Even if you think your symptoms are not severe enough to bother a healthcare provider about in the middle of a pandemic, it’s still important to reach out.
“We don’t want people to suffer in silence, at home and possibly alone,” says Paul Pottinger, MD, an infectious-disease doctor at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
Read on to learn what happens during a COVID-19 medical appointment, how to cope with symptoms using a variety of strategies, and whether you might be a candidate for an investigational medication.
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