Most people who catch coronavirus will experience mild symptoms. They should make a full recovery without needing to go to hospital.
If your symptoms get worse and you feel very unwell you may need to go to hospital.
Caring for yourself at home
About 80% of people can recover from coronavirus at home and without needing to go to hospital.
If you are generally fit and healthy with only mild symptoms of coronavirus, your GP will tell you to self-isolate.
- get lots of rest and sleep.
- drink enough water to avoid dehydration. Your pee should be light yellow or clear
- eat healthily
- avoid smoking
- keep warm
- monitor and treat your symptoms
If your symptoms get worse
Check back in with your GP or out-or-hours GP immediately if you:
- start feeling very unwell, particularly if your breathing changes, becomes difficult, or your cough gets worse
- feel that you are getting increasingly short of breath
Older people and people with underlying conditions are most at risk of deterioration. Carers should watch out for signs of rapid onset of confusion in older people as a sign of deterioration.
If you are very short of breath and cannot reach the GP service, call the emergency services on 112 or 999.
If you are in an at-risk group, you should keep a close eye on your symptoms. Contact your GP straight away if they get worse.
Contact your GP if you have a very high fever (over 40 degrees Celsius) and you:
- are still feverish after 3 days of home treatment or seem to be getting sicker
- are shivering or shaking uncontrollably, or have chattering teeth, and it does not stop within an hour or so
- have a severe headache that doesn’t get better after taking painkillers
- are getting confused or are unusually drowsy
Contact your GP if you you have been dehydrated and are now drinking regularly and/or are using oral rehydration sachets and you:
- are feeling unusually tired
- are confused and disorientated
- have any dizziness when you stand and it does not go away
- have not peed all day
- have a weak or rapid pulse
- have fits (seizures)
If you are concerned about any of your symptoms phone your GP. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Living with self-isolation
For some people self-isolation can be boring or frustrating. It may affect your mood or how you feel. You may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping. You may also feel isolated and alone.
Ask a family member, friend or neighbour to check in with you over the phone a few times every day. Let them know how you are feeling. It’s important to stay in touch with people.
Caring for someone at home
If you are caring for someone who has coronavirus, support them with home treatment.
You should also try to help them prevent the spread of germs. Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible.
Medicines to treat symptoms
The best medicines to use will depend on your:
- other medical conditions
- any other medication you’re taking
Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains. Paracetamol is usually recommended as the first-line treatment for most people.
Before taking any medication, read the full package leaflet that comes with your medicine. Follow any advice a healthcare professional gives you.
Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus or any viruses. They will not relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.
Coronavirus is a virus and antibiotics cannot treat viruses.
There is currently no vaccine to treat or protect against coronavirus.
The flu vaccine does not protect against coronavirus.
If you are taking medication for other conditions
Take any medication you are already taking as usual, unless you are told not to by a healthcare professional.
There is no evidence that any medication is unsafe if you have coronavirus.
Information on the virus is changing rapidly. We are closely following any updates worldwide.
All information here is accurate and up-to-date. If it changes, we will update this page.
Prescriptions and collecting medicines
Everyone needs to stay at home, so changes have been to make it easier for you to get your medicines.
These changes mean:
- you do not need to get a paper copy of your prescription – phone your GP and they’ll send your prescription to your pharmacist
- some prescriptions will be valid for 9 months instead of 6 months – your GP or pharmacist will be able to tell you by phone
- you may be able to get a repeat prescription without a new script – phone your pharmacist to discuss this
These changes are temporary. They will be reviewed once the pandemic is over.
If you have coronavirus or respiratory symptoms, do not go to your pharmacy. Phone your pharmacist to order a prescription. Ask a family member to collect your medicines.
There is no disruption to the supply of medicines. There is no need to order more medicines than you need. If you do, it will affect the supply of medicines to others.
Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory medication
It is okay to take anti-inflammatories (NSAID) if you have coronavirus. There is no evidence that they are unsafe.
Only take one anti-inflammatory medication at a time. It is okay to take paracetamol and an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen at the same time.
Anti-inflammatory medicines include:
- ibuprofen – brand names: Nurofen, Actiprofen, Advil, Brufen, Brupro, Buplex, Easofen, and Fenopine. Ibuprofen gel can be called Nurofen, Melfen, Phorpain, Ibugel and Ibuleve
- naproxen – brand name: Naprosyn
- diclofenac – brand names: Voltarol, Diclo, Diclac, Cataflam, Difene and Flector
High blood pressure medicines
Take your medicine as usual unless you are told not to by a healthcare professional.
This includes ACE inhibitors and Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs).
Stopping these medicines may cause your blood pressure to rise. This may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
ACE Inhibitors include:
- ramipril (Ramic, Ramilo, Ramitace, Tritace)
- perindopril (Coversyl)
Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) include:
Some combination medicines also include ARBs.
Immunosuppressive medicines and treatments
There is no evidence to date that you at a higher risk of a severe infection of coronavirus if you are on:
- immunosuppressive medicines
- immunosuppressive treatments
If you stop your medicine you may be more likely to have a flare of your condition during this period.
But phone your GP or consultant if you have coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus. Do this before taking the next dose of your treatments.
Keep taking steroids if you are usually on them unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Stopping steroids suddenly can make you very unwell.
If you usually have regular blood tests, these should continue. But ring your hospital first as some hospital services are disrupted.
If you are receiving treatment for cancer, read about cancer treatments and coronavirus.
Around 14% of people who catch coronavirus will have a more severe illness. If your symptoms get worse and you feel very unwell you may need to go to hospital.
Treatment at hospital for coronavirus may include:
- medication to reduce a fever
- oxygen therapy
People who have a hard time breathing on their own due to coronavirus may need a respirator. Life support can be used in extreme cases.
Bring medicines with you
Bring any medication you are currently taking with you. This includes any inhalers, eye drops, injections or patches.
Keep all your medicines in 1 bag with a list of the medicines you are taking. Download and print a My Medicines list (PDF, 245KB, 2 pages) – this will be useful for your doctor or nurse.
Leave your medicines in their packaging, showing the pharmacy dispensing label. If your medicines are packed into a blister pack, bring it with you.
Write your name on any over-the-counter medicines you bring in, such as paracetamol.
Ask before taking your medicine
Check with your hospital doctor or nurse before taking any of your medicines. They may need to change some of your usual medicines if you are unwell.
Going home – check your medicines
Check with your healthcare professional if:
- any of the medicines you were on have been stopped
- the amount you take has changed