26 Sept 2022

EXPLAINER: How to treat coronavirus symptoms at home

As there is no specific treatment for coronavirus, the HSE has published advice on how to treat mild symptoms at home.

People with symptoms - a cough, breathing difficulties or a fever - are asked to contact their GP where they may be referred for a test. People are encouraged to do so early after the onset of symptoms.

About 80% of people can recover from Covid-19 at home and without needing to go to hospital. If you are generally fit and healthy with only mild symptoms, your GP will tell you to self-isolate.

The most important thing you can do is to protect others from catching coronavirus. It is especially important to protect people at higher risk from coronavirus.

The HSE has issued the following advice:

You should:

- self-isolate
- get lots of rest and sleep.
- drink enough water to avoid dehydration. Your pee should be light yellow or clear
- eat healthily
- avoid smoking
- keep warm
- monitor and treat your symptoms

Phone your GP if your symptoms don't improve.

If you are over the age of 60 or have a condition that puts you at higher risk from coronavirus, keep a close eye on your symptoms. Phone your GP straight away if they get worse.

So what about medicines?

The best medicines to use will depend on your symptoms; other medical conditions; and any other medication you're taking

Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains. Paracetamol is usually recommended as the first-line treatment for most people.

Before taking any medication, read the full package leaflet that comes with your medicine. Follow any advice a healthcare professional gives you.

Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus or any viruses. They will not relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.

Coronavirus is a virus and antibiotics cannot treat viruses.

It is okay to take Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories (NSAID) if you have coronavirus. There is no evidence that they are unsafe.

Only take one anti-inflammatory medication at a time. It is okay to take paracetamol and an anti-inflammatory at the same time.

Anti-inflammatory medicines include:

ibuprofen - brand names: Nurofen, Actiprofen, Advil, Brufen, Brupro, Buplex, Easofen, and Fenopine. Ibuprofen gel can be called Nurofen, Melfen, Phorpain, Ibugel and Ibuleve
naproxen – brand name: Naprosyn
diclofenac – brand names: Voltarol, Diclo, Diclac, Cataflam, Difene and Flector

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