In the wake of the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, one of the most exhausting parts for many people is the fact that virtually all upper respiratory symptoms make everyone wonder “Is it a cold? Is it that allergy? Am I just tired? Or is it Covid? ” The Omicron variant has added more confusion to the mix of this seemingly endless pandemic, as it does not quite match previous strains and variants.
You’ve probably heard the seemingly good news that most cases are mild and do not require hospitalization among vaccinated individuals.
“Fortunately, Omicron has caused less severe symptoms similar to seasonal allergies, such as runny nose, sore throat and fatigue,” says Suneet Singh, MD, an emergency physician and medical director at CareHive Health in Austin, Texas. “Unlike previous variants, Omicron does not usually cause loss of taste or odor.”
While the latter revealing symptoms made it easier to determine if you had Covid, the good news is that any of the above symptoms are pretty easy to treat at home, no matter what they are caused by.
In any case, you will still do the best you can to avoid getting infected at all, but it is reassuring to know that you can take steps to deal with it on your own if you should unfortunately become infected. As such, we consulted with an expert on what to do if you have a mild infection that you need to treat at home.
Home treatment for Covid
If you experience any of the above symptoms that may indicate a mild or moderate case of Covid, Dr. Singh:
“Most importantly though, if you have any questions about your symptoms, consult your doctor,” he says. “Many providers now offer virtual care services that allow a safe and convenient way through telemedicine to help you get back on the path to health.”
When to see a doctor about Covid
According to Dr. Singh is the biggest red flag for all Covid variants beginning of breathing problems. This will typically feel like heaviness in the chest, combined with an inability to speak throughout sentences and the development of low oxygen levels. These are symptoms of severe cases of Covid, which would require hospital treatment with respiratory support and administration of medicines such as Remdesivir, which is an FDA-approved antiviral medicine that can only be administered via an IV.
Since the beginning of 2022, two new Covid drugs, Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, have been approved by the FDA and introduced to the market, adds Dr. Singh.
“Both of these drugs are for outpatient use only and are FDA approved for administration within the first five days of symptoms,” he explains. “At this time, they are limited to people who have been diagnosed with COVID and are at high risk for complications from the disease.” High-risk patients include those with weakened immune systems, heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.
The most important thing, however, is that people should contact their health team to discuss whether one of these medications is appropriate for their individual situation, says Dr. Singh.
Bottom line:Use your best judgment when it comes to dealing with a case of Covid at home. Stay in touch with your healthcare team to confirm that what you are dealing with is mild and that you are taking the right steps to avoid exposing others. And it can not be said enough: If you have not been vaccinated yet, book an appointment today.
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