Research shows that most people who get COVID-19 recover without ever having to go to the hospital. But if you’ve contracted the virus or are taking care of someone with it, you probably have lots of questions.
We’re here to help answer some of the biggest ones, including what you can do to help your body recover.
Important ways to take care of yourself
Although there are no absolutes, most people recover from COVID-19 within about two weeks. While you’re fighting this virus and recovering, consider these healthy tips.
- Stay hydrated. This will help replace fluids in your body. It also helps thin out mucus and respiratory secretions to keep your lungs clear and reduce the chances you’ll get pneumonia. Most experts recommend drinking two to four ounces of liquid every 15 minutes even if you’re not thirsty. Watch for signs of dehydration, which include dark urine, fever and increased thirst.
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet. Nutrients will support your body’s functions and energy needs while you recover. If you’re not hungry or lose your sense of taste and/or smell, try making high-protein smoothies or soups that also help keep you hydrated.
- Sit in a steamy bathroom. Steam will help loosen secretions to make breathing easier. It’ll also help with a cough. You can get similar benefits from leaning over a bowl of steaming water or using a cool mist humidifier.
- Take medication. Over-the-counter medications can help ease sore throats and lower your fever. If you’re not sure about which ones are right for you, talk to your primary care provider for expert advice.
- Get a pulse oximeter. This is a small device that’s easy to use. It attaches to your finger and lets you keep an eye on your oxygen levels. Normally, you should get a reading between 95% and 100%. If readings go lower, it can help you decide if you need to seek emergency care.
Know when to call for help
Some people experience very mild COVID-19 symptoms. Others have severe symptoms that need urgent attention. In either case, it’s important to monitor yourself throughout your illness. If symptoms do worsen, call your primary care provider to get some guidance.
However, if you experience any emergency warning signs, it’s essential to call 911.
Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include:
- Blue tint to the face or lips
- Confusion or disorientation
- Difficulty staying awake
- Oxygen levels of 90% or less on a pulse oximeter
- Pressure or pain in your chest
- Trouble breathing
Protect the people around you
Even if you’re feeling better, you could still spread the virus. Protecting the people around you is a vital part of minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
Current guidance suggests that you should self-isolate for 10 days from the time that you first start feeling sick or get a positive test result. Additionally, you should have no fever for at least 24 hours without using any medicine to reduce it, and your other symptoms should be improving.
If you’re recovering at home and live with other people, stay separated as much as possible. If you have to interact, wear a mask and stay at least six feet apart. Make sure any shared surfaces are sanitized after every use.
Consider donating plasma after recovering
Once you’re better, you could provide critical help to those still fighting COVID-19 by donating your plasma. It’s similar to donating blood, as plasma is part of your blood. Convalescent plasma — the plasma taken from someone who got better — contains antibodies. Those antibodies can help save someone’s life.
Stay updated on what Bon Secours is doing related to COVID-19.