What To Do If You Feel Sick

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Jump to:  Available treatments  |   How to get treatment  |  Know your rights

Did you know there are treatments for COVID-19? Research shows treatments can lower your risk of going to the hospital and dying—but you have to get them in time. Treatments are available for people who are at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Nearly two thirds of people in North Carolina are high risk, so don’t rule yourself out.

As soon as you feel sick, it’s time to get tested and treated. That’s because treatments work best if you start them soon after you notice symptoms of COVID-19. Remember, your first symptoms may be a cough, headache, or sore throat—and they may even be mild. The key is: don’t wait.

Don’t wait to see if your symptoms get worse. If you feel sick, even a little, take steps to get tested and treated now.

Or, stay at home and book a virtual visit.

Are you uninsured? Or underinsured?  
You may qualify for a free nationwide telemedicine program. 

Check My Eligibility

If You Feel Sick


Step 1: Stay away from other people, and get tested

You may be contagious, so it’s important to stay isolated as much as possible–except to get medical care. How long do you need to stay isolated? Use this tool to find out

Take a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. Most doctor's offices, health centers, and some pharmacies offer testing.

If you want to test at home, you may be able to pick up free tests in your community. Or, buy home tests from a pharmacy or retail store. 

More Testing Options


Step 2: Talk to a medical professional

Talk to a medical professional within 5 days of feeling symptoms, even if your symptoms are mild. A medical professional will determine if you are eligible to receive treatment.

If you have trouble breathing or notice any of these warning signs, seek medical care right away.

Here are four ways to get treatment:

About Treatments

The following options are available to treat people who are likely to get very sick from COVID-19:

  • Antivirals (e.g. Paxlovid and Molnupiravir) are pills you can take. You'll need a prescription to get them, and you have to start taking them within five days of your first symptoms.
  • Other options may be available to treat symptoms shortly after they begin. If you have symptoms, don’t wait—seek testing right away and talk to a health care provider.

There's misleading information out there about drugs not authorized for treatment of COVID-19. They include hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and some other veterinary medications. Do not take any medications unless they are FDA approved and prescribed by your doctor.

Treatments are not a substitute for vaccination. Vaccines offer the best protection against COVID-19.

Learn more about treatments or compare authorized treatment options for mild to moderate COVID-19. Please check back often as information is updated.

Know Your Rights

All health care providers must:

  • follow ADA accessibility requirements.
  • treat you even if you don't have government-issued ID.
  • treat you even if you don't have insurance.


What should you do if you don’t have medical insurance or a doctor?

Don’t panic. If you test positive and need treatment, test to treat locations must give you antiviral pills at no cost. You might be charged for testing and evaluation. 

Find a community health center near you. Health centers provide care to patients regardless of ability to pay.

Contact a telemedicine provider who can evaluate you for treatment over the phone. Some people may qualify for a FREE nationwide telehealth program. The National Institutes of Health established the program in partnership with eMed. Learn more and find out if you qualify.

You may be eligible to have your COVID-19 vaccine, testing and treatment covered at no-cost by Medicaid. Apply online.

Will your insurance cover treatment costs?

If you have Medicare or Medicaid, your insurance will cover all treatment costs.

Private insurance must cover the cost of antiviral pills. Depending on your plan, your insurer might charge you for testing or evaluation.