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Treatments Your Healthcare Provider Might Recommend if You Are Sick

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have one or more health conditions that increase your risk of becoming very sick, treatment may be available. Contact a health professional right away after a positive test to determine if you may be eligible, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective.

Healthcare providers should see Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19 for more detailed information.

Treatments used for COVID-19 should be prescribed by your healthcare provider. People have been seriously harmed and even died after taking products not approved for use to treat or prevent COVID-19, even products approved or prescribed for other uses. Talk to your healthcare provider about what option may be best for you.

Drugs Approved or Authorized for Use

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can issue emergency use authorizationsexternal icon (EUAs) to allow healthcare providers to use products that are not yet approved, or that are approved for other uses, to treat patients with COVID-19 in the U.S. if certain legal requirements are met.

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed and regularly updates Treatment Guidelinesexternal icon to help guide healthcare providers caring for patients with COVID-19, including when clinicians might consider using one of the products allowed for use under an EUA.

Treatment Outside of the Hospital

Your healthcare provider might recommend the following to relieve symptoms and support your body’s natural defenses:

  • Taking medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to reduce fever

  • Drinking water or receiving intravenous fluids to stay hydrated

  • Getting plenty of rest to help the body fight the virus

If you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19

Your healthcare provider might recommend that you receive additional treatment. Learn more about COVID-19 and people with certain medical conditions.

For people at high risk of disease progression, the FDA has issued EUAs for a number of treatments for COVID-19.

  • Monoclonal antibody treatments could help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus.

  • Oral antiviral medications that target specific parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can help reduce its multiplication and spread through the patient’s body.

  • Some of these treatments may not be effective against the Omicron variant. Your healthcare provider will decide which, if any, of these treatments are appropriate to treat your illness.

  • The NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelinesexternal icon provide recommendations about these treatments for COVID-19 and describe what is known about their effectiveness. If used, they should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis.

Treatment in the Hospital

Treatments can be used for different reasons, depending on the severity of the illness, in order to:

  • Slow the virus. Antiviral medications reduce the ability of the virus to multiply and spread through the patient’s body.

  • Reduce an overactive immune response. In patients with severe COVID-19, the body’s immune system may overreact to the threat of the virus, worsening the disease. This can cause damage to the body’s organs and tissues. Some treatments can help reduce this overactive immune response.

  • Treat complications. COVID-19 can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal organs. It also can cause other complications. Depending on the complications, additional treatments might be used for severely ill hospitalized patients, such as blood thinners to prevent or treat blood clots.

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