Advice for caring for someone who has COVID-19

Pediatric infectious disease specialist Jana Shaw, MD, shown here in a 2018 interview, speaks about COVID-19 with Upstate's radio show/podcast “HealthLink on Air”; to listen, see details at the end of this story. (photo by Jim Howe)

Pediatric infectious disease specialist Jana Shaw, MD, shown here in a 2018 interview, speaks about COVID-19 with Upstate’s radio show/podcast “HealthLink on Air”; to listen, see details at the end of this story. (photo by Jim Howe)

BY AMBER SMITH
With no specific treatment for COVID-19, people who are sick at home may be comforted with supportive care measures.
That means get plenty of rest. Stay hydrated with plenty of fluids. Consider honey, vitamin C and a pain reliever that can help reduce a fever: acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin.
“All of those measures we would use for treatment of colds and mild respiratory tract infections apply to this, as well,” says Jana Shaw, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Upstate.
She says it’s important for those who are ill to isolate themselves as much as possible from housemates. Use a separate bathroom, exercise diligent hand hygiene, cover coughs.
The majority of people who become infected with the new coronavirus will experience mild symptoms, so mild they may not realize they are sick. That’s why medical experts have told us to stay home and keep 6 feet away from others.
“Social distancing is the key to mitigate the transmission of this virus in a community,” Shaw says. “We currently have no other effective measures to stop the virus from circulating but to remove those susceptible – which is all of us.”
This virus is such a challenge because so many people are infected without realizing they are sick. Even those who go on to develop symptoms may be spreading the disease for days before a cough or fever develops.
Shaw says most people can let the virus run its course while they recover at home. But, if the cough worsens, or it becomes difficult to breathe, call your health care provider.
If you do not have a primary care doctor or are uninsured, call the Upstate COVID-19 hotline at 315-464-3979.
Upstate Health magazine cover for spring 2020, special coronavirus editionHealthLink on Air logoTo hear a “HealthLink on Air” interview with Jana Shaw, MD, about what it means to care for someone with COVID-19, click here.  This article is from the spring 2020 Upstate Health magazine, a special edition dealing with the coronavirus.
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