COVID-19 is a novel (new) coronavirus, not previously identified in humans, that is responsible for an outbreak of respiratory illness that became a global pandemic in 2020. COVID-19 is different from other coronaviruses that cause mild illness, such as the common cold.
Other common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Changes in taste and/or smell
- Feeling unwell (malaise)
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
Signs of COVID that require immediate medical attention (call 911 or go to a hospital’s emergency department):
- Difficulty breathing
- Bluish lips or face
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
What Tests Can Diagnose COVID?
Tests used to diagnose the virus include:
- PCR tests (genetic or molecular test)
- Results can take hours to up to one week
- More accurate than an antigen test
- Antigen test
- Results are available in less than one hour
- Less accurate than a PCR test
What Are Antibody Tests?
An antibody test may be used to determine if a person had a past COVID-19 infection, but it is not used to diagnose current infections because it takes up to 3 weeks following infection for the body to produce antibodies to the virus.
What COVID Treatments Are Available?
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19, and supportive care is aimed at relieving symptoms in mild cases.
COVID Home Remedies, Medicines & Treatments
In mild cases, staying home and self-isolating for 14 days is recommended to avoid spreading the virus. Treatments for mild COVID-19 symptoms include:
- Pain relievers
- Cough suppressants
- Adequate fluid intake
- Casirivimab/imdevimab (Regen-COV), a monoclonal antibody combination, has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients 12 years and older who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.
- Monoclonal antibodies are not indicated for use in severe cases.
Hospitalization for COVID
More severe COVID-19 cases may require hospitalization and treatments may include:
- Antiviral therapy with remdesivir
- Antithrombotic therapy - anticoagulants and antiplatelet therapy
- High-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) oxygen
Hydroxychloroquine has been touted as a possible treatment, but studies have shown it to be ineffective with a high risk of fatal heart arrhythmias, and it is not recommended.
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