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Man with COVID-19 considering medicines

The Best Over-the-Counter Medicines for COVID-19 in 2024

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COVID-19 is here to stay. Many who get it may be taking medications for other conditions. One of the questions you may have is “What medication should I avoid if I have COVID-19?” Previously, it was believed that ibuprofen and blood pressure medications could lead to more severe illness with COVID-19. However, there is no evidence to prove this theory true. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns. We also recommend continuing to follow your treatment plan provided by your provider. There are medications that you can take to help alleviate your symptoms and treat COVID 19.

What are the current symptoms of COVID-19?

For people who have a weakened immune system, symptoms can become severe quickly and can cause serious respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people will experience one or more of the following symptoms listed below. These symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What should I use if I have a fever?

If you have a fever, we recommend taking an acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. Tylenol can also help in alleviating body aches. Talk with your doctor or provider if you are unable to take acetaminophen about alternatives.

What medication should I take if I have a cough or experiencing congestion?

Over-the-counter medication, such as guaifenesin (Mucinex), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and dextromethorphan (Robitussin and Delsym), can help alleviate these symptoms. Read the labels before you take any medication to be sure you take as recommended.

There are also a lot of home treatment options that can help with your congestion, which include:

  • A humidifier
  • Taking a long, hot shower (but not too hot)
  • Using nasal saline spray
  • Using Vick VapoRub on your chest
  • Drinking a lot of fluids to help thin out your mucus
  • At night, propping yourself up on pillows to make breathing easier.

What are other self-care treatment options for COVID-19?

You should practice social distancing and stay inside your home. If you live with other people, try to avoid contact with them to avoid cross-contamination. If possible, use a separate bathroom and wear a mask if you must be around others in your home. Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and take any medication recommended by your physician.

Also, it’s important for you to continue monitoring your symptoms. If your symptoms get worse, please contact your healthcare provider immediately. According to the CDC, below are the signs for emergency medical care:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

To stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 information, visit Ochsner’s COVID-19 web page

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