How should I manage my mild COVID-19 at home?
Treatment: The most important aspect of treatment is the general self care that allows for the immune system to do its job effectively – sleep, rest, hydration, healthy diet. In term of symptomatic treatment, think of what you might do for the flu:
- Tylenol or Advil for fever, aches and sore throat
- Cough drops, warm tea with honey, steamy shower for daytime cough
- Consider asking your doctor for a stronger cough suppressant if you’re not getting any rest due to night-time cough
Supplements: No supplements have yet been proven to effectively treat COVID. Vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc are the most often discussed, but currently there is not enough evidence to recommend them. If keeping to low level supplementation, side effects should be minimal, but nausea and diarrhea can occur, which can confuse the picture in terms of which symptoms are from the disease and which are due to a treatment that has not been proven effective. For this reason, many health care providers recommend avoiding taking any supplements specifically for COVID prevention or treatment until we have more data.
What to monitor:
While most people will experience symptoms in a mild range from almost nothing to those of the flu, you should monitor for warning signs that your COVID symptoms are becoming more severe. Have your medical provider’s phone number handy and have a family member responsible for checking in on you regularly. If you are having trouble breathing or having persistent pain or chest pressure, call your medical provider. It may be helpful to have a pulse oximeter (oxygen monitor) on hand, though even if your oxygen levels are in normal range (>93%), it is important to call your medical provider if you are experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. More helpful information can be found on the CDC website.
Should family be tested and if so, when: Typically, family testing is not necessary – all family members should quarantine for 14 days after the most recent close contact with the infected family member. From the day the infected family member isolated by staying in a separate bedroom and, ideally, a separate bathroom, family members should quarantine for 14 days. For specific scenarios that can help address how to think about your ‘most recent close contact’ date, see more here.
(Jennifer Abrams, September 29, 2020)
Stanford University (undergrad)
Stanford University (med school)
Stanford University (residency)