Treatment

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. Most people with illnesses caused by coronaviruses like COVID-19 will recover on their own. However, there are some things you can do to relieve your symptoms, including:

  • Taking pain and fever medications (caution: do not give aspirin to children).
  • Using a humidifier or taking a hot shower to ease a sore throat and cough.
  • Drinking plenty of liquids and stay home and rest.

Follow instructions from your local health department and health care provider for appropriate care.

Medications and treatments for COVID-19 are being investigated, including through clinical trials in North Carolina and across the nation. A clinical trial is a type of research study used to test if a drug or medical device is both safe and effective for human use. Registered trials for drugs being studied for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov

To find clinical trials happening specifically in NC, you may specify your search through ClinicalTrials.gov by location. Additionally, many academic medical centers update clinical trials occurring at their institutions on their respective websites.

Frequently Asked Questions

What treatments are available?

What treatments are available?

Most people with illnesses due to coronavirus recover on their own. There are no specific treatments for COVID-19, but treatments to bring down fever or alleviate other symptoms may help. For people who become severely ill, hospitals can provide care. There is more to be learned about COVID-19 as the situation continues to evolve, and treatment options may change over time. Learn more from the CDC.

Is a vaccine available?

Is a vaccine available?

Currently there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself from respiratory diseases like COVID-19 is to take common-sense precautions. These include frequent hand washing, avoiding touching your face, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and practicing social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others as much as possible. There is work underway to develop a vaccine.

What is hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and does it treat COVID-19?

What is hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and does it treat COVID-19?

Hydroxychloroquine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as treat or prevent malaria. There is not enough data to know if hydroxychloroquine will treat COVID-19. We also do not have data to show if hydroxychloroquine can prevent coronavirus infection. Hydroxychloroquine is known to cause severe cardiac and ocular side effects. The risk of these side effects should be considered anytime the medication is evaluated, not just in COVID-19. We continue to review the evidence as it becomes available. Learn more from the CDC.

What other medications are being tested to treat COVID-19?

What other medications are being tested to treat COVID-19?

Many medications are being tested to treat or prevent COVID-19, but no medication is currently approved by the FDA to treat the virus. Many of the medications in testing for COVID-19 are FDA approved to treat serious diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV infection and autoimmune conditions. It is important that those medications remain available to treat the conditions for which they are FDA approved as their effectiveness for COVID-19 is being assessed. Learn more from the CDC.

Are veterinary medications or other products with chloroquine as an active ingredient safe to consume?

Are veterinary medications or other products with chloroquine as an active ingredient safe to consume?

No. People should not take any medications unless they are FDA approved for human consumption and prescribed by their doctor. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council issued a statement reminding everyone “they should never use pet care products, or any products, for any purpose other than what the label directs.”

Is there a definition of recovery from COVID-19? If I've had symptoms of COVID-19 when can I end self-isolation?

Is there a definition of recovery from COVID-19? If I've had symptoms of COVID-19 when can I end self-isolation?

A standardized definition of recovery from COVID-19 has not yet been established; it is a work in progress in North Carolina and at academic institutions across the country. As with other respiratory illnesses, how long a patient takes to return to feeling “normal” is highly variable and depends on many factors including severity of illness and underlying medical conditions, so a single time period cannot be applied to all people. At this time NCDHHS is not able to collect or provide data on recovered COVID patients.

It is important to understand the steps to ending self-isolation. Patients who have mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and can recover at home can return to normal activities if:

  • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) AND
     
  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
     
  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

Notably, patients with clinical COVID-19 infection, in general, do NOT need a negative COVID-19 test result to document recovery, if they meet the clinical criteria.

Read the CDC What to do if you are sick and the CDC guidance for ending isolation for more information.