Table of contents:
- Treatment for mild COVID-19
- When to go to the hospital
- Treatment for severe COVID-19
- Food during COVID-19
- What to do if symptoms persist
- Does the COVID-19 vaccine help in the treatment?
Treatment of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) varies according to the intensity of symptoms. In milder cases, where there are only mild symptoms such as fever above 38ºC, intense cough, loss of smell and taste or muscle pain, treatment can be done at home with rest and the use of some medicines to relieve symptoms.
In the most serious cases, in which there is difficulty breathing, feeling of shortness of breath and chest pain, the treatment needs to be done in hospital, since it is necessary to make a more constant evaluation, in addition to it may be necessary to administer medication directly into the vein and/or use respirators to facilitate breathing.
On average, the time it takes for a person to be considered cured is 10 days, but it can range from 5 days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the infection. Understand better when the person is cured of COVID-19.
Treatment for mild COVID-19
In milder cases of COVID-19, in which the person has no symptoms or has mild symptoms, such as fever, tiredness, body ache or headache, treatment can be done at home after evaluation doctor.
Treatment usually includes rest to help the body recover, but it is also common to include the use of certain medications prescribed by the doctor, such as antipyretics, analgesics or anti-inflammatories, which help reduce fever, headache and general malaise. See more about the medicines used for the coronavirus.
Anvisa also approved the emergency use of two antibody cocktails that can be used in mild to moderate cases and that do not require oxygen supplementation, and which help to eliminate the virus more quickly, accelerating recovery and preventing the worsening of the infection. However, these drugs cannot be used at home and must be given in the hospital. Learn more about approved drugs for COVID-19.
Furthermore, in moderate cases in which it is considered that there is a risk of progression to a more severe condition, the use of Regdanvimab is approved for people over 55 years of age who do not have comorbidities.
Care during treatment
In addition to medical treatment, during COVID-19 infection it is important to have some care that helps keep the immune system strong and others that prevent the transmission of the virus. So, in general it is recommended:
- Drink at least 2 liters of water a day, to optimize the functioning of the immune system and avoid possible dehydration;
- Eat a he althy and natural diet, investing in the intake of foods rich in protein, such as meat, fish, eggs or dairy products, as well as fruits, vegetables, cereals and tubers. This type of food helps keep the body he althy and the immune system stronger;
- Wear a well-fitting mask in order to cover the nose and mouth and prevent droplets from coughing or sneezing from being projected into the air;
- Maintain social distancing, as this allows to reduce contact between people. It is important to avoid hugs, kisses and other close greetings. Ideally, the infected person should be isolated in the bedroom or in another room in the house.
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a disposable tissue, which should then be thrown in the trash, or the inside of your elbow;
- Avoid touching your face or mask with your hands, and if you do, it is recommended to wash your hands immediately afterwards;
- Wash hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds or disinfect hands with 70% alcohol gel for 20 seconds;
- Disinfect your cell phone frequently, using 70% alcohol wipes or a microfiber cloth moistened with 70% alcohol;
- Avoid sharing objects such as cutlery, cups, towels, sheets, soaps or other personal hygiene objects;
- Clean and ventilate the rooms in the house to allow air circulation;
- Disinfect door handles and all objects shared with other people, such as furniture, using 70% alcohol or a mixture of water and bleach;
- Clean and disinfect the bathroom after use, especially if used by others;
Furthermore, it is important to put all waste produced in a different plastic bag, so that proper care is taken when it is disposed of. It confirms more care to avoid the transmission of COVID-19.
When to go to the hospital
In cases of mild infection, it is recommended to return to the hospital if symptoms worsen, in case of chest pain, shortness of breath or if the fever stays above 38ºC for more than 48 hours, or if it does not decrease with the use of medication prescribed by the doctor.
The ideal is to consult a pulmonologist or an infectious disease specialist, but it is also possible to consult a general practitioner, who will refer you to another speci alty if necessary.
Treatment for severe COVID-19
In the most serious cases of COVID-19, in which pneumonia or other serious complications develop, it is important that the treatment is carried out in hospital, so that the person can receive oxygen, give medication directly into the vein and keep vital signs assessed regularly.
For these cases, ANVISA has approved the emergency use of different drugs against COVID-19, such as Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that is able to help the body eliminate the virus faster, facilitating the cure. In addition, the use of Baricitinib in adults who are undergoing supportive ventilation is also indicated for severe cases. See which drugs are approved for COVID-19.
In addition to these medications, the use of injectable corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone, is also indicated for more severe cases, as it allows to reduce the generalized inflammation caused by the immune system's response to the virus. The same applies to anticoagulants that can be used to prevent clots.
In case there is a lot of difficulty breathing or if breathing starts to fail, it is possible that the person is transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), so that specific equipment can be used, such as a respirator, and so that the person can be under closer surveillance.
Food during COVID-19
Some food care can help with recovery in mild and moderate cases of COVID-19. For this, it is recommended to maintain a he althy and balanced diet, prioritizing natural foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables; whole grains, such as pasta and wholemeal bread; lean proteins such as tofu and fish; he althy fats such as olive oil and peanuts; and legumes, such as beans and lentils. See other tips to maintain a he althy and balanced diet.
In addition, it is also recommended to drink plenty of fluids, such as water and natural teas, which are important for strengthening the immune system.
Although there is no scientific evidence on the consumption of specific nutrients in the fight against COVID-19, some foods with antioxidant, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, such as turmeric, garlic, Brazil nuts and yogurt, strengthen immunity, which may help in the recovery of the disease. Discover other foods that help strengthen immunity.
What to do if symptoms persist
Some people who have had COVID-19 and who have been considered "cured" may continue to experience some symptoms such as body pain, tiredness, headache and changes in smell or taste. These cases are being described as post-COVID syndrome, or long-term COVID, and should be evaluated and followed up by a physician.
Better understand what post-COVID syndrome is and what to do to relieve symptoms.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine help in the treatment?
The main objective of the vaccine against COVID-19 is to prevent the emergence of cases of serious infection. For this reason, it is not used as a form of treatment, as it must be applied before a possible infection to allow the body to have antibodies capable of fighting the virus. Learn more about how vaccines against COVID-19 work.