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How to treat coronavirus symptoms at home

NHS advice about how to ease symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) at home.

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19), but you can often ease the symptoms at home until you recover.

Information:

If you're concerned about your symptoms and need medical advice, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.

Treating a high temperature

If you have a high temperature, it can help to:

  • get lots of rest
  • drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable
Is it safe to take ibuprofen if I have symptoms of coronavirus?

There have been some news reports of anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, making coronavirus worse.

The Commission on Human Medicines has now confirmed there is no clear evidence that using ibuprofen to treat symptoms such as a high temperature makes coronavirus worse.

You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat symptoms of coronavirus. Try paracetamol first if you can, as it has fewer side effects than ibuprofen and is the safer choice for most people.

Always follow the instructions that come with your medicine.

Treating a cough

If you have a cough, it's best to avoid lying on your back. Lie on your side or sit upright instead.

To help ease a cough, try having a teaspoon of honey. But do not give honey to babies under 12 months.

If this does not help, you could contact a pharmacist for advice about cough treatments.

Do not go to a pharmacy

If you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms, you must all stay at home.

Try calling or contacting the pharmacy online instead.

Information:

Get help while you're staying at home

NHS Volunteer Responders can help you while you have to stay at home (self-isolate).

They can help with things like collecting shopping and medicines.

Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, everyday) to arrange help from a volunteer.

Things to try if you're feeling breathless

If you're feeling breathless, it can help to keep your room cool.

Try turning the heating down or opening a window. Do not use a fan as it may spread the virus.

You could also try:

  • breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth, with your lips together like you're gently blowing out a candle
  • sitting upright in a chair
  • relaxing your shoulders, so you're not hunched
  • leaning forward slightly – support yourself by putting your hands on your knees or on something stable like a chair

Try not to panic if you're feeling breathless. This can make it worse.

Important

Feeling breathless can be a sign of a more serious coronavirus infection.

If you feel breathless and it's getting worse, get medical advice from the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.

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