If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider.
On this page you will find:
- Why to only use approved treatments
- Drugs approved for use
- Treatment outside the hospital
- Treatment in the hospital
- What to do if you’re sick
- Questions and answers
Why to only use approved treatments
Only use treatments for COVID-19 prescribed by your healthcare provider. Unapproved treatments can cause serious harm or even death.
Drugs approved for use
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one drug to treat COVID-19: remdesivir (Veklury).
- The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs). These let healthcare providers use products that are not yet approved. Some drugs approved for other uses are also permitted to treat COVID-19. But certain requirements must be met.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines. These help COVID-19 healthcare providers understand how to use available drugs.
Treatment outside the hospital
If you receive a positive test result for COVID-19 and are likely to get sick, your doctor may recommend you get treatment.
For high-risk patients
For people at high risk of getting very sick, the FDA has issued EUAs for two monoclonal antibodies. They are bamlanivimab and casirivimab plus imdevimab. These attach to parts of the virus, helping the immune system recognize and respond to it. If used, they should be given as soon as possible, or within 10 days of the beginning of symptoms.
NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines say there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against these treatments. They should not be considered standard of care.These treatments are available at designated distribution locations. They are also available at many long-term care facilities in California.
For low-risk patients
If you’re generally healthy, your doctor may recommend the following:
- 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
Treatment in the hospital
Your healthcare provider will decide on what approach to take for your treatment. Some drugs have reduced the severity of illness or risk of death for patients in the hospital by:
- Slowing the virus. Antiviral medications slow down the virus multiplying and spreading through the body.
- Reducing an overactive immune response. In patients with severe COVID-19, the body’s immune system may overreact to the threat of the virus. This can cause damage to the body’s organs and tissues. Some treatments can help reduce this overactive immune response.
- Treating complications. COVID-19 can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal organs. It can also cause other complications. Depending on the situation, more treatments might be needed, such as blood thinners for blood clots.
- Supporting the body’s immune function. Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can contain antibodies to the virus. This may help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus. But currently, NIH guidelines do not recommend plasma treatment.
What to do if you’re sick
If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might be, life can’t go on as usual. You must care for yourself and protect other people in your home and community.
Follow these steps:
- Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 will only have a mild illness. You can likely recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get treatment. Do not visit public areas. Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
- Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
- Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you seek medical care. Get care if you have trouble breathing or have any other emergency warning signs.
If you have these emergency warning signs, call 911.
Emergency warning signs of COVID-19
Questions and answers
- CDC: Treatments Your Healthcare Provider Might Recommend if You Are Sick
- CDC: How COVID-19 Spreads
- CDC: What to Do If You Are Sick
- CDC: When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19
- CDC: Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings
- NIH: COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines
- NIH: Clinical trial database
- NIH clinical trials for vaccines and drugs: Vaccine Research Center Clinical Studies