COVID Treatments Can Help Against Virus
As COVID continues to evolve so does the diagnosis and treatment of it.
“Thanks to better treatments and advancing knowledge, we’re able to offer treatments to slow the spread of the virus and stop serious complications,” said David Basel, MD, Avera Medical Group Vice President of Clinical Quality.
Testing First, Then Treatment
Foremost, stay home if you’re sick. Cold or flu symptoms, such as cough, fatigue or headache could be signs of COVID-19.
“If you test positive, even when you don't feel bad, go see your doctor,” Basel said. “Your provider can prescribe a medication, if needed, or recommend other treatments.”
Keep a supply of at-home tests on hand. You can get free tests from the government; they’re also covered by health insurance. If you develop cold or flu-like symptoms, test yourself, and if it’s positive, contact your doctor. “Home tests can give false-negative results,” Basel said. “It can happen even when you have COVID-19.”
So if you test negative but symptoms persist, or you feel like you may have COVID-19, you can make sure by retesting at home or by getting a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
PCR tests are highly sensitive and can detect COVID before an at-home test can. Pharmacies and clinics offer PCR tests; most insurance plans or government-sponsored programs cover them.
The COVID Pill
The oral medication Paxlovid – also known as the COVID pill – can be helpful for anyone diagnosed with COVID-19. Anyone age 12 and older who weighs at least 88 pounds can receive a prescription for it.
It is most effective when taken earlier in the course of the illness. Paxlovid is most often prescribed to people who are older, have issues with weight or other conditions or who may be immunocompromised due to illnesses like cancer or kidney disease.
The COVID pill is an antiviral therapy; it is two medications packaged together. Unlike earlier COVID treatments, Paxlovid can be taken at home. Because it can reduce severe cases that lead to hospitalizations, it’s a good tool.
“Antiviral medications can help reduce the ability of the virus to multiply and spread through your body,” Basel said.
Most medical treatments outside of Paxlovid are introduced via an IV.
Other At-Home Treatments to Ease Symptoms
If you have COVID symptoms, your provider might recommend some of the following steps:
- Taking pain- and fever-reducing medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Drinking water to stay hydrated
- Getting plenty of rest to help your body fight the virus
If COVID Symptoms Become Serious
COVID remains a deadly virus, especially to people at high risk.
If you or a loved one experience serious symptoms such as trouble breathing, chest pain, confusion, difficulty waking or staying awake, or pale, gray or bluish skin indicating a lack of adequate oxygen, get emergency help.
While no one wants to go to the hospital due to COVID-19, there are treatments there that can change your outcome.