Treating Mild COVID-19 Symptoms at Home | Health partners blog (2023)

Most people who get COVID-19 have mild symptoms that go away within a week. But even with mild symptoms, it's hard to feel good. The good news is that there are home treatments that can help you feel better sooner.

It's also important to know when to get medical treatment to ensure your mild symptoms don't develop into a serious illness. Read on for information about mild COVID-19, the best ways to treat your symptoms, supplies that will help you, and when to speak with your doctor.

How do you know if you have a mild case of COVID-19?

Mild COVID-19 symptoms versus moderate or severe symptoms

If your only symptoms of COVID-19 are a runny nose, sore throat and headache, does that mean you have a mild case of COVID-19? If you have a high fever and body aches, will it end up being more serious?

The truth is, during the early stages of COVID-19, it can be difficult to know whether your symptoms will be mild or more severe. That's because almost all of the symptoms of COVID-19 can be present in a mild case of COVID-19.

The onlySymptoms of covid-1Not usually seen in people with mild cases are shortness of breath and shortness of breath. If you notice these symptoms, you shouldmake an appointment with your doctor.

For the rest, the main differences between mild, moderate and severe COVID-19 are usually:

  • The intensity of symptoms.
  • how many symptoms do you have
  • How long do the symptoms last?

Mild symptoms of COVID-19 vs flu, cold and allergies

Many people who experience mild symptoms of COVID-19 say it feels like a common cold. But mild COVID-19 can also be like the flu or allergies – the following resources highlight how to tell the difference:

  • COVID-19 symptoms vs. flu symptoms
  • COVID-19 symptoms vs allergy symptoms
  • Common cold symptoms
  • Cold vs flu symptoms
    • Take a COVID-19 testit's often the only way to know for sure if you have the coronavirus or something else.

Are some people more likely to get mild COVID-19?

If you are vaccinated, you are less likely to get COVID-19. But if you get sick, you're more likely to get light.avance COVID-19that can be treated at home. This is especially true if you are up to date onyour recommended COVID-19 booster shots.

If you are not vaccinated, you are more likely to contract COVID-19, regardless of the variant. You are also much more likely to developLong-term symptoms of COVID-19which can last for months.

If children get COVID-19, they are more likely to have mild symptoms of COVID-19, whether they are vaccinated or not. Although,vaccinate your childThey can reduce your chance of getting COVID-19 and stop you from spreading it to others.

How long do mild symptoms of COVID-19 last?

Everyone is different so it's hard to give an exact time frame. But mild symptoms of COVID-19 usually go away within five days. If your symptoms last longer than two weeks, contact your doctor, especially if your symptoms get worse instead of better.

Is it possible to know if COVID-19 will become severe?

It is not always possible to know whether mild COVID-19 will get worse. However, there are some risk factors that make your illness more likely to develop into severe COVID-19, including:

  • Not being vaccinated or not fully vaccinated
  • To bemoderately or severely immunocompromised
  • Having chronic medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and lung disease.
  • Being middle-aged or older

If you have risk factors that make you more likely to become seriously ill, there aretreatments to reduce your chance of severe COVID-19– but should start within the first 5 to 7 days after the first symptoms.

If you have been tested at a HealthPartners clinic, we will contact you if you are at risk of becoming seriously ill. If you received a positive COVID-19 test result on an at-home test, call your clinic.

How to treat COVID-19 at home if you have mild symptoms

Stay at home and isolate yourself

HeCenters for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) says you should stay home and away from other people for at least five days if you have COVID-19. This applies even if you have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Staying at home will reduce the chance of spreading the coronavirus to others, including people who may be made worse by being older, immunocompromised or unvaccinated.

After five days, you can leave self-isolation if your symptoms are resolving and you have been fever-free and off medication for at least 24 hours. When resuming your normal activities, continuewear a mask that fits you wellfor five more days when around other people. If possible, use an N95, KN95 or KF94, as these masks are generally more effective at blocking airborne particles that spread the coronavirus.

If you're wondering why you still need to wear a mask even after you're out of isolation, it's because you could still test positive for COVID-19. If you have access to COVID-19 antigen tests at home, you may choose to use the tests to determine when you can stop wearing a mask.

If you choose to use the test, you must wait at least until the 6th to take the first test. Then you can retest every 48 hours. Once you have two consecutive negative tests, you can stop masking. If you do not test after the isolation period, you must continue to mask until five full days have passed since you stopped isolating.

Gather necessary supplies for COVID-19 isolation

When you are in self-isolation, you will not be able to leave your home. So it's good to have a few essentials on hand. Of course, if you're in a pinch, there are ways to get groceries, household items, and even prescriptions delivered to your doorstep with the help of family, friends, or a delivery service.

Helpful supplies for COVID-19 isolation

food itemsmedicines and supplieshome products
Fruits and vegetables, including frozen or cannedPA 30-day supply of your prescription drugsalcohol and gel
Non-perishable foods such as pasta, pasta sauce, rice, soup and brothThermometerfacial tissues
MelMedicines to reduce fever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol)Toilet paper
Bottled waterCough and cold medicationsAntibacterial spray or wipes for home cleaning
Green Teaget marriedAntigen or PCR tests COVID-19Trash with removable lining
pet foodPulse oximeterExtra sheets, towels and pajamas

8 home remedies for COVID-19

If you have mild COVID-19, your illness will likely go away on its own. But that doesn't mean you have to be completely miserable. Here are some ways you can ease your symptoms, heal and get better sooner.

1. Get enough sleep

If you have COVID-19, you need to get enough sleep to help your body fight the infection. If you're having trouble falling asleep, ask your doctor if a melatonin supplement might help.

If your symptoms are keeping you awake, use pillows to elevate your head, as it's harder to breathe when you're on your back, especially if you're congested.

2. Drink fluids to avoid dehydration from COVID-19

When you are sick, your body can lose a lot of fluid, especially if you have a high fever, diarrhea or vomiting. It is important to replace these liquids; The best way to do this is by drinking plenty of water. Tap water is usually fine, but if other people are sharing the sink you would be using for their water, you might want to use bottled water so germs don't get into the faucet while you're getting water. You'll probably be better in five days, but it's best to have a two-week supply of bottled water on hand.

If you have severe diarrhea, a sports drink like Gatorade can replenish electrolytes, essential minerals like sodium, calcium, and potassium. Electrolytes help your cells absorb and use the fluids you're drinking.

Another thing to consider is a cup of green tea. Studies on green tea and COVID-19 have found that the beverage contains a compound that may work against the coronavirus. The upside is that hot tea is great for a sore throat.

3. Keep eating

The idea of ​​eating a plate of food isn't always appetizing when you're sick. What about youlose your sense of smell and taste when you have COVID-19, you may find that eating even your favorite foods is no longer pleasurable. But food is an important part of recovery. By eating, you give your body food to heal itself.

What to Eat When You Have COVID-19

While it's easy to turn to junk food for solace when you're feeling down, healthier options can give you energy and possibly help you bounce back faster. Some great options include bananas, oatmeal, yogurt, salmon and green leafy vegetables.

If you can't handle anything big, try drinking some hot broth every few hours. That way, your body will be nourished. Also, the broth will help you stay hydrated.

4. Take prescribed medications

Unless your doctor tells you to, continue to take all prescribed medications and do everything possible to manage your other medical conditions. This is especially important if you have asthma, breathing problems or other chronic medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

Being in poor health makes it more likely that a mild case of COVID-19 will turn into a worse case. If you think you are at increased risk of severe COVID, talk to your doctor abouttreatments designed to prevent severe COVID-19.

5. Use over-the-counter medications to relieve COVID-19 symptoms

Even if you have mild symptoms of COVID-19, you're probably not feeling well. So if you're wondering what you can take to ease your symptoms, several over-the-counter medications can help.

The following are treatment suggestions foradultswith mild COVID-19. Recommendations are different.if a child becomes ill with COVID-19since using honey and medicine can be dangerous depending on the age of the child. As always, consult your doctor or your child's doctor before giving any new medication.

For fever and pain

If you have a fever, you don't necessarily need to treat it. Indeed, fevers play a role in fighting infections. Therefore, it is best not to take fever-reducing medication unless you feel uncomfortable and your fever is above 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

To treat COVID-19 fever, use the recommended dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can also take paracetamol if you have pain for another reason.

For cough or sore throat

It can be exhausting to have a cough or a sore throat. It doesn't matter if it's from COVID-19, the flu, a cold or something else. To treat a cough, you can try using an over-the-counter cough medicine; they work for some people.

  • For a wet cough:Look for an expectorant like Mucinex to help clear mucus.
  • For dry cough:Look for a cough suppressant. Popular brands include Robitussin Cough, Triaminic Cough and Cold and Vicks 44 Cough and Cold.

Try to limit your use of cough medicine when you need to take a break from coughing. For a more natural option, consider using honey torelieve your sore throat.

Nose covered what smoked

Mild COVID-19 can cause congestion and a runny nose. When looking for something to reduce your symptoms, make sure you're taking the right medication.

  • For stuffy nose:The most common medications for nasal congestion are pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine (Sudafed and Sudafed SE). These medications work by causing the swollen blood vessels in the nose to constrict. However, these medications can make it difficult to sleep, so it's best not to take them before bed or nap.
  • For runny nose:Take a Benadryl or another medication that contains diphenhydramine, which is a specific type of antihistamine. These medications block a chemical reaction in your body that can cause the tissues in your nose to swell and itch. The biggest downside to these medications is that they can make you drowsy.

6. Do breathing exercises for COVID-19

Exercising your lungs can help if you have mild COVID-19, but stop if you're short of breath. If you are still having trouble breathing after resting, call 911.

Here are breathing exercises you can try:

Breathing with pursed lips

This is a quick and easy breathing technique that you can do anywhere. Here's how to do it:

  • Inhale through your nose for two seconds.
  • Purse your lips as if you were going to whistle and then exhale.
  • Repeat this technique several times throughout the day.

diaphragmatic breathing

This is a great technique to try when you're lying on your back. This is often called "abdominal breathing" because your stomach is moving and your chest is not. That's how it works:

  • Place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your stomach below your ribs.
  • Inhale slowly through the nose and push the breath into the stomach, causing the stomach to push into the hand.
  • Before exhaling, contract your abdominal muscles. As you exhale through pursed lips, let your stomach drop.
  • Continue breathing in this way for about 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat several times during the day.


While it may seem difficult to do, getting out of bed and moving around can make a big difference. If you live alone and are not at risk of spreading COVID-19 to others, walk around the house a few times. If you're isolating yourself in your bedroom, you likely have less space to move around, so make sure you find time for breathing exercises like the ones described above.

7. Track your symptoms

While most cases of COVID-19 are mild or moderate, it's important to make sure your symptoms improve over time. Prompt treatment for worsening COVID-19 symptoms is very important. Here are some things to consider:

this is the temperature

COVID-19 illness is not always accompanied by a fever. This is especially true with the new variants..Still, taking your temperature twice a day can be a way to tell if your illness is getting worse; just be sure to wait at least six hours after taking Tylenol or another fever-reducing medicine.

If your fever gets worse or if you consistently have a high fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, contact your doctor.

Consider checking your blood oxygen level

Very rarely, people with COVID-19 may have hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen levels, even if their symptoms are mild or they have no symptoms at all. You are more likely to experience oxygen problems during COVID-19 if you have lung or heart disease, or if you are overweight or smoke.

If you are at higher risk or if your doctor recommends that you monitor your oxygen level, you may be directed to wear a pulse oximeter, a device that clips to your finger and specifically monitors your oxygen levels. If the pulse oximeter reading is below 95%, call your doctor. If it's less than 90%, you should call 911.

Be aware of how you feel

It's also a good idea to take stock of your symptoms. Do you have new symptoms? Do you feel better or worse than yesterday? Is it harder to breathe?

The symptoms of COVID-19 can last for a few weeks. But if you feel worse instead of better after a few days, call your doctor.

You should also watch for symptoms that start or come back after you get better. Is it possible to getLong-term symptoms of COVID-19even if you had a mild case.

8. Use COVID-19 supplements with caution

You may have heard that zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D can help treat COVID-19 at home. But the truth is, we still don't know for sure whether these supplements will actually improve your symptoms.

What we do know is that zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D are generally safe as long as you follow the daily dietary intakes. Even though the research is still unclear on how vitamins play a role in the fight against COVID-19, they can still help the body in other ways; For example, vitamin D is important for strong bones, strengthening the immune system and reducing inflammation within cells.

Still, it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking vitamins or supplements, especially if you're taking medication or are under a doctor's care for another medical condition.

When to see a doctor about COVID-19

If your symptoms of COVID-19 are still mild, you probably don't need to see a doctor. However, there are certain occasions when you should seek immediate medical attention or your doctor's advice.

Call 911 if:

  • you have severe shortness of breath
  • You have persistent pain or pressure in your chest.
  • Has difficulty waking up or staying awake
  • Feels very confused, cannot stand or walk
  • Your skin, lips, or nails look pale, gray, or blue
  • You have a blood oxygen level of less than 90%

Make an appointment with your doctor if:

  • your fever doesn't go away
  • You're not better in a week or two
  • You have a higher chance of getting severe COVID-19, for example if you are unvaccinated, have a weakened immune system or are older
  • He had severe diarrhea and vomited a lot.
  • You had symptoms that lasted for weeks or months after the initial infection. you may have prolonged COVID-19 syndrome.

Tell us how we can help

We hope you are feeling better soon. But if not, we're ready to help you feel like yourself again. If you have any concerns about your symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. If you are a patient or member of HealthPartners or Park Nicollet, you can also call the CareLine at612-339-3663o800-551-0859.

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