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12.1.22 – Let’s Talk About COVID Treatment

Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. Today let’s talk about COVID treatment. If you test positive for COVID and are more likely to get very sick, treatments are available that will reduce your chances of hospitalization and death.

Who should get treatment?
People who test positive for COVID and are at risk for getting very sick should get treated. This includes people who are 50 and older, have weakened immune systems, have chronic medical conditions, or who have never gotten a COVID vaccine.

What treatments are available?
There are both oral and IV treatments available for people at risk for getting very sick from COVID. Paxlovid is an oral medication that’s available as a tablet and is an option for anyone 12 and older. Because it is a prescription medication, you do need to see a health care provider. The medication is available at most pharmacies.

There are also treatment options that are given intravenously in an outpatient setting. This is for people who have a higher risk of developing severe illness due to COVID or for people who can’t take the oral medication.

Your healthcare provider will help determine your best options for treatment. 

How do I get a prescription for medication?
All COVID treatments require a prescription, so the first step after a positive COVID test is to contact a healthcare provider to discuss your treatment options. They’ll assess your risk factors such as age, medical history, and how long you’ve had symptoms. They’ll also look at what medications you’re taking to avoid any medication interactions with the treatment they prescribe. It’s important to start treatment within 5 days of the start of symptoms so get seen early.

What other options for treatment are available?
Whether you have mild or severe symptoms, supportive care is an important part of your care. Supportive care consists of:

  • Pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Cough syrup or medication
  • Fluid intake
  • Rest

Treatment for COVID is just one part of keeping yourself safe from COVID. Make sure to stay up to date on your COVID vaccine and booster, wear a mask in higher risk settings or around those at higher risk, and get tested if you’re sick.

Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.

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