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How to Treat Yourself at Home if You Have Mild COVID-19 Symptoms

“Preparing for a period of home quarantine means making a household plan of action as well as stocking supplies for the duration of the isolation period,” Dr. Lisa Ide, chief medical officer of the national virtual health platform Zipnosis, told Healthline.

“Make sure that you have a list of emergency contacts, a plan to communicate with family, friends, and co-workers, and know-how to get food delivered if possible,” she said.

“Organize a 2- to 4-week supply of food, cleaning materials such as sanitizing wipes and soap, and basic household staples such as toilet paper and facial tissue,” suggested Ide.

“When you are planning your food supplies, think of food that will store well and be nutritious such as rice, pasta, canned or dried beans, dried fruit, soups, and frozen vegetables as well as pet food,” she said.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are also important for health and healing.

“Fruit and vegetables provide loads of essential nutrients and there are ways to extend their shelf-life and make them more convenient,” notes the website Huel, which markets nutritionally complete food with a 12-month shelf life. “For example, soups and sauces can be made straight away and then frozen. You can make a concentrated stock which you can then freeze in ice cube trays and, voila, homemade, low-salt stock cubes.”

Other critical supplies to have on hand as you recover from COVID-19 include the following:

Clean water

Water should be at the top of the list of supplies you’ll need in the event you contract COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is a viral infection and like most viral infections, treatment is all about comfort and keeping well enough while your body heals,” Dr. Roy Benaroch, a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University and a pediatrician with a private practice in Roswell, Georgia, told Healthline.

“It’s crucial to stay hydrated, so plenty of fluids, especially if the fever is high,” Benaroch said.

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Williams said that COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, coughing, diarrhea, and vomiting “can easily impact individuals’ fluid intake and contribute to dehydration, and rob the body of key nutrients if healthy foods and fluids are not consumed while recovering.”

“Healthy hydration levels can help your nose by maintaining that the mucous membrane is intact,” she added. “This could help decrease nasal irritation when coughing, sneezing, and even just breathing. Moisture also helps heal broken membranes so additional bacteria don’t get into the body.”

In most instances, tap or bottled water is fine. If you’re relying on bottled water, experts recommend keeping at least a 15-day supply on hand.

“If you cannot drink your tap water at home safely or if you have a sink that is shared communally by any other people in your home, it’s best to have bottled water that you could keep by your bedside and drink when needed,” Dr. Shirin Peters, medical director of the Bethany Medical Clinic in New York, told Healthline.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine defines adequate daily fluid intake as 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women, although sick people likely should drink more. (About 20 percent of this fluid intake comes from foods).

In the minority of cases where COVID-19 symptoms include acute gastroenteritis, solutions such as Pedialyte can help prevent dehydration. Sports drinks like Gatorade are another option.

Pain medication

“The most useful medicine is something to decrease headaches, body aches, and fever, like acetaminophen (Tylenol),” said Benaroch.

“Many people also use ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), but there has been some concern especially from Europe that ibuprofen is less safe, though there’s no direct evidence that this is true. Still, if you want to be extra careful, use acetaminophen instead,” he said.

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Dr. Larry Burchett, a California emergency physician, recommends 650 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen every 4 to 6 hours as a safe dosage for most adults.

“Some of the methods of treatment in the case of a high or low fever that is causing discomfort include cooling blankets, ice packs, and over-the-counter medications [taken according to package directions],” Dr. Joshua Mansour, a clinical oncologist with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, told Healthline.

“Rest and recovery, as well as staying cool, are very important,” he added.


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