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Don't leave home while you're still contagious

A person with COVID-19 is thought to be most contagious in the days immediately leading up to symptom onset (aka, the presymptomatic period) and throughout the first several days of his or her symptoms. But, it can take several more days for a person's immune system to actually clear the virus from the body.

​Drugs suggested by CDC

The CDC suggests the following as part of an overall treatment plan to manage your symptoms at home.


  • Pain

Pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can relieve minor aches and pains. Cough suppressants or expectorants may also be recommended, but it’s best to get specific advice from your healthcare provider.


  • Dyspnea

If you are having symptoms of dyspnea (difficulty breathing), schedule an appointment with your doctor. They may recommend that you lie prone, or face down, rather than flat on your back.


  • Short of Breath

If being short of breath makes you anxious, your doctor may advise breathing exercises that can help. UC San Diego Health created a short video that details how to perform a simple breathing technique to help with COVID-19-related stress.


  • Cough

For help managing a cough, try cough drops, Vicks VapoRub, and hot water or hot tea with lemon.


  • Dehydration

To reduce the risk of becoming dehydrated, drink fluids regularly and keep eating. Aim for about 64 to 70 ounces of water every day. If you are sweating a lot from a fever, you may want to supplement water with an electrolyte-containing sports drink, such as Gatorade, according to Geisinger Health System.


  • Eating

To make eating easier, opt for foods that are easy to digest and relatively bland such as chicken noodle or vegetable broth soup, avocados, or toast. While loss of taste and smell can make food unappetizing, good nutrition will aid your recovery.


A study published in July 2021 in Food Science & Nutrition found that in mild or moderate infections, staying physically active, sleeping seven hours per day or more, drinking 2 liters or more of water per day, and consuming more plant-based proteins “can provide a significant role in early and safe recovery from COVID-19.”


  • Anosmia

About half of COVID-19 patients experience anosmia, which also affects their ability to taste food. But most people return to normal after two or three weeks. However, about 10% of them may persist for several months.


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