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COVID Treatment Overview

Find the right care and learn about different treatments.
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Care Plan


First steps to consider

  • Mild to moderate COVID symptoms can be treated at home.
  • OTC medications like decongestants and pain relievers can help a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Take fever reducers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil).
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When you may need a provider

  • Your symptoms are severe, especially if you’re unvaccinated.
  • You have a high risk of developing severe COVID, including being 65 or older, or having health conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or obesity.
  • Your symptoms are mild to moderate symptoms and have worsened after 3 days of home treatment.
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Emergency Care

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Call 911 or go to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Trouble staying awake

The suppliers listed follow Buoy’s clinical guidelines, but listing the suppliers does not constitute a referral or recommendation by Buoy. When you click on the link and/or engage with these services Buoy will be compensated.

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All treatments for COVID
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Read more about COVID care options

When to see a healthcare provider

You should also see a healthcare provider if you have mild to moderate symptoms that have gotten worse after about 3 days of home treatment. See a doctor right away if your symptoms are severe or you’re at high risk of developing severe COVID. Those at high risk include anyone who is 65 or older, and those with underlying conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or obesity.

Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication or want you to go to the hospital for more advanced treatment.

Getting diagnosed for COVID

You can test for COVID at home or at a testing site. There are two main types of tests:

  • Antigen tests. Results of this type of test are ready in 15–20 minutes. But they’re not always accurate, so you may get false-negative results, especially in the early stages of the illness.
  • Molecular tests (nucleic acid, RNA, or PCR tests). These are more accurate than antigen tests, but it takes longer to get results (usually about 24 hours).

What to expect from your visit

If you’re at high risk of severe COVID, your doctor may prescribe medication.

  • Antiviral medications such as molnupiravir (Lagevrio), ritonavir (Paxlovid), and remdesivir (which is given intravenously), reduce the risk of COVID progressing to severe disease. It may even reduce the length and severity of your symptoms. These are approved for people at increased risk of severe illness, like people with underlying health conditions. Antivirals need to be taken soon after symptoms start to be effective (within 5–7 days depending on the medication).
  • Monoclonal antibody drugs are approved for treating COVID in people who are not hospitalized. These are casirivimab-imdevimab (Regen-Cov) and sotrovimab. They can help your immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus, making it harder for the virus to reproduce and damage the body.
  • The steroid dexamethasone (Decadron) can also calm the immune system.

Prescription COVID medications

  • Monoclonal antibodies: casirivimab-imdevimab (Regen-Cov) and sotrovimab
  • Antiviral medications: remdesivir (Veklury), molnupiravir (Lagevrio), ritonavir (Paxlovid)
  • Steroid: dexamethasone (Decadron)

Types of COVID providers

  • A primary care provider can treat mild to moderate symptoms.
  • If your symptoms are severe, you may need to be treated in a hospital, and you may be seen by emergency care physicians, pulmonologists, and infectious disease specialists.
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