So, you have COVID-19. Here's how to take care of yourself at home
As the highly transmissible Omicron variant fuels an unprecedented wave of COVID-19, a growing number of Canadians, including those who are fully vaccinated, are falling ill.
Rapidly evolving testing guidelines and inconsistently available rapid antigen tests (RATs) may prevent some from determining whether or not they have COVID-19 right away, but common indicators of mild to moderate cases include runny nose, sore throat, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, fever and, in some cases, diarrhea and vomiting.
These symptoms may last anywhere between two and 10 days.
And while there are still cases of severe illness in some people, experts say the majority of people who have at least two vaccine doses will experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms which can be easily treated at home.
Keep in mind, if you are experiencing severe symptoms, or have underlying health conditions that may increase your risk for severe outcomes, you should seek medical help right away.
CREATE A COVID-19 SUPPLY KIT
First, it’s important to note that if you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should isolate—that means monitoring your symptoms at home, away from other household members, and avoiding any public settings, according to public health guidelines.
If that is the case and you are in need of supplies, you should have them delivered by an online service, friend, neighbour, or family member.
In the event you do fall ill, Health Canada recommends having the following supplies on hand:
- Over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce fever
- Tissues and disposable paper towels
- Fluids to prevent dehydration from gastrointestinal side effects
- Hand sanitizer, dish soap and hand soap and other cleaning supplies, such as alcohol wipes for commonly touched surfaces and electronics
REST, FLUIDS AND OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATION
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mild cases of COVID-19 can be treated the way you would treat any common cold or flu—that means lots of rest, fluids and taking over-the-counter medication to ease any symptoms as needed.
Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to help with body aches or fever. Health Canada also recommends increasing fluid intake and eating a healthy, balanced diet to help your body recover.
For now, most therapeutic treatments are only available at the hospital.
Canada has ordered oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19 patients that can be taken at home to prevent severe disease, but the drugs have not yet been approved by Health Canada.
But Health Canada says most mild or moderate cases of COVID-19 should clear up on their own within a week.
KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS
Whether you have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, you should closely monitor your symptoms to ensure you don’t become severely ill while at home.
Health Canada says adults should call 911 if they develop severe symptoms such as significant difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, new-onset confusion, or difficulty waking up.
If you have a newborn or infant that looks and feels lethargic, is dehydrated, has sunken eyes and is producing fewer than five wet diapers a day, you should seek immediate medical help.
For children over the age of one, red flags may include being unable to control fever with Tylenol or Advil, not drinking enough fluids, barely eating, vomiting, severe diarrhea, dry tacky mouth and tongue, listlessness or trouble breathing.