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10 ways to treat Covid-19 at home

If you had a positive RT-PCR swab before, you do not need to have a repeat swab before coming out of isolation.

Monica Therese Cating-Cabral, MD



The majority of people who are infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus experience a mild disease that can fortunately be treated at home. If you or a family member is experiencing signs and symptoms of the virus or have been diagnosed with Covid-19, here are some ways to feel better, how to keep yourself and others safe while you are recovering at home, and when it’s time to seek further medical care.

1. Stay home and isolate yourself from others.

This cannot be stressed enough. Do not go to work, public places or run errands because you can infect others around you. Ask someone to help get you supplies or have them delivered.

While at home, stay in a well-ventilated room separate from other family members. If not possible, you and other family members should wear masks at all times. If you share a room, place beds at least two meters apart.

Ask your doctor if you need to monitor your blood sugar at home as well. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ENDOCRINEWEB.COM

Use a separate bathroom. If you share a bathroom, adopt a decking schedule with a couple of hours between users, allowing for ventilation by opening the windows or using a HEPA filter.
Eat by yourself and away from others, using your own utensils, washing them separately.

Strictly no visitors are allowed.

2. Stay in isolation for at least 14 days.

You should self-isolate for at least 14 days, or for another three days once you no longer have any symptoms, whichever is longer. If you had a positive RT-PCR swab before, you do not need to have a repeat swab before coming out of isolation.

WORSENING cough is a warning sign not to be ignored. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UNSPLASH/ANNIE SPRATT

3. Monitor your symptoms every day.

The critical period is five to 10 days after symptoms first appear. You need a thermometer and your doctor may also recommend a pulse oximeter, a small device placed on your finger to monitor your oxygen levels. Make sure you know how to use it properly.

If you have diabetes, ask your doctor if you need to monitor your blood sugars at home as well. You can also monitor your blood pressure if you have a home device.

4. Don’t wait too long to seek medical help.

Many physicians now do telemedicine and you can reach out to your doctors if you have concerns.


If your condition is worsening, don’t hesitate to go to your nearest emergency room.

Warning signs that mean you should contact a doctor or go to the nearest emergency room include:

* Fever that persists for more than three days
* Worsening of cough
* Chest pain
* Signs of dehydration — dry mouth and skin, making minimal urine
* Difficulty breathing
* Oxygen saturation of less than 94 percent for two episodes
* Poor appetite
* Confusion and inability to stay awake
* Bluish lips, face or nailbeds

5. Take your medications.

If you take medications for hypertension or diabetes, continue to do so. Ask your doctor if you need to adjust any of them.

If your doctor has prescribed medication to help with fever and cough, take them as directed.


If you have a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression, continue with your treatment. Contact your doctor or mental health professional if your condition worsens.

6. Do not self-medicate or use oxygen without a doctor’s recommendation.

Do not take anything without checking with your physician first since there can be serious side effects and interactions with other medications that you are already taking.

7. Stay hydrated, but don’t overdo it.

Drink enough to quench your thirst, about eight to 10 regular glasses of water a day. Do not hydrate with energy drinks or juice which may elevate your blood sugar and cause more dehydration. If you have diarrhea, drink some oral rehydration salts in a glass of water after every watery bowel movement. If you have heart disease or kidney problems, discuss with your doctor how much fluid you can take per day.

8. Do self-proning.
While awake you can do side lying and proning to distribute oxygen more evenly in the lungs and help with your breathing. For 30 minutes to 2 hours each, lie on your belly, lie on your right side, sit up, lie on your left and then on your belly again. You can support yourself with pillows.

9. Caregivers should also take precautions.

Anyone who has to come in close contact with you should wear disposable gloves and a mask, and also when handling any of your trash or laundry. Do not shake dirty laundry.

Caregivers should also quarantine for 14 days and observe for signs and symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Another option is to quarantine after 10 days if there are no symptoms but continue to watch for symptoms for 14 days.

10. Stay positive.
As you or your loved one recover, seek emotional support. Stay connected by keeping in touch with others by phone or online, and don’t be afraid to share your concerns. Avoid news about Covid-19 and instead focus on enjoyable activities such as playing games, reading or watching movies.