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COVID-19: How Can You Manage Symptoms? When Should You Call Your Doctor?

May 20th, 2020 | 1 min. read

By David Pong, M.D.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are well known. Cough, fever, chills, headache, and chest pressure that can lead to shortness of breath. Some people have G.I. issues such as an upset stomach of diarrhea. Some people notice a loss of smell. And we're still learning more. 

But at the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, after you've tested positive, the first step is often to quarantine at home and monitor your symptoms over the following days. How can you best manage those symptoms? And when should you call your doctor for advice? Watch the video below and read on for details. 

How to Treat COVID-19 Symptoms at Home 

A lot of what you can do at home is similar to how you would treat a cold or the flu. Tylenol to help with fever, headaches, and body aches. It is not recommend to use anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil or ibuprofen. 

If you have a sore throat, you can use lozenges.

If you have a runny nose, you can use typical cold remedies.

If you have a cough, you can use things with dextromethorphan, such as Delsym or MucinexDM may help. Honey is a great, natural cough suppressant and could certainly be used. 

When Should You Call Your Doctor for Advice? 

It's important to call your doctor at multiple stages during COVID-19. At PartnerMD, we want our patients to call when they are experiencing symptoms but don't quite know what's going on. We want to help figure out what's going on and give you advice about testing and managing symptoms. 

If you are able to stay at home and manage symptoms, as you would with the flu, we would still encourage you to do that. However, if any symptom is getting out of control, if fever, pain, breathlessness, staying hydrated, staying fed, or care for yourself in your home is being limited, we would want to talk to you so we can coordinate hospital care if that's needed. 

COVID-19 is a fascinating, challenging virus. It has a lot of different manifestations. A lot of it is treating symptoms and staying connected with your provider to get advice about testing, treatment, and potentially hospital care. Otherwise, to try to avoid COVID-19, keep washing your hands, wear a mask, and keep your distance from others. 

Looking for more COVID-19 content? Check out our videos on antibody testing, the value of masks, and more, here. 

David Pong, M.D.

As a board-certified family medicine physician and Director of Executive Health at PartnerMD in Richmond, VA, Dr. David Pong provides you with the knowledge and tools to pursue your health goals. With over 25 years of experience, he focuses on developing a trusting relationship with you to empower you to achieve your desired healthy outcomes. Dr. Pong enjoys helping you identify and harness your motivation to make the necessary changes for optimal health.