Although coronavirus has been in the U.S. for two years, there is still some confusion on how exactly you should take care of yourself if you test positive and have a mild case of COVID-19.
Common sense certainly comes into play, but there are also some must-have items you’ll want to get in advance — just in case.
Stock up on approved over-the-counter medications
After you test positive for COVID-19, you may feel ill with symptoms like a fever, cough or a sore throat. But don’t just take any medicine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends over-the-counter acetaminophen products, such as Tylenol, along with ibuprofen to treat those cold-like symptoms.
Tylenol has been proven to work well at easing fevers and aches during the virus, but ibuprofen has been shown to work too.
You can also grab a nighttime version of these medications to help ensure you get your sleep while sick.
If you have a persistent cough, think of buying either a cough suppressant (for a dry cough) or an expectorant (for a cough with mucus).
Cough drops are handy as well and if you’re diabetic, grab those that are sugar-free.
Try to grab these medications in bulk before you need to use them.
Stay hydrated and fed
Of course, you should drink plenty of water or juice while sick to fight your fever, the University of Maryland Medical System recommends. Stay away from sodas or caffeinated drinks.
Drinking tea and other warm beverages could help ease a sore throat, especially with some honey added.
Eating foods like soup can also help your hydration levels, and keep you well-fed.
Tools to have on hand
COVID-19 has been known to be hard on lungs. You should buy a home pulse oximeter beforehand to help monitor oxygen levels in your blood. It’s a painless device that just clips to your finger, and you can use it to determine if you need to seek professional medical care.
The small device can be bought for around $20 on Amazon. The University of Michigan advises to call your doctor or seek medical care if your blood oxygen level (SpO2) goes below 95%.
Additionally, make sure to have more rapid coronavirus tests at the ready to ensure you’re COVID-19 free before you leave isolation. Experts say you should test again five days after you first test positive. If you test negative, you should be free to leave isolation, but still exercise caution and wear a mask.
Don’t forget tissues! One of the symptoms you may have when it comes to the coronavirus might be a runny nose.
If you live with other people, you’ll need to buy some cleaning products and other safety items.
Stock up on disposable gloves, N95 masks, disinfectant spray or wipes and plenty of antibacterial hand soap.
Look after your mental health
In isolation you may experience some negative effects to your mental health.
If you’re alone, make sure to talk to loved ones over the phone during your time away.
Try to avoid “doom-scrolling” on social media, and be mindful of how you spend your time, according to The Economic Times. Take time away from social media if it’s increasing your anxiety, and try a creative activity like reading, writing, watching a movie or doing a puzzle or game, instead.
When to seek medical care
If you are an older adult or have pre-existing conditions, the Mayo Clinic recommends calling your doctor as soon as symptoms begin to avoid having a serious case of COVID-19.
Also, if you begin to experience serious symptoms like trouble breathing, chest pain, bluish lips or face or an inability to stay awake, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
Doctors and hospitals are able to prescribe other COVID-19 treatments like an antiviral treatment and pills.