Coronavirus (COVID-19): Treatment

Reviewed by Carrie A. Horn, MD, Charles L. Daley, MD, Gwen A. Huitt, MD, MS, Shannon H. Kasperbauer, MD
The COVID-19 virus causes the infectious disease COVID-19. Currently, there are a variety of medications being used and studied to treat people diagnosed with COVID-19.

Antibiotics will not help. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections; they do not work against viruses, including the COVID-19 virus or the infectious disease it causes, COVID-19. Taking an antibiotics will not prevent you from developing COVID-19. 

Research is ongoing in search of a vaccine or medication to prevent and treat COVID-19. Learn about potential medications and treatments for coronavirus here and visit the CDC for the latest information. 

COVID-19 Overview | COVID-19 Causes | COVID-19 Symptoms | COVID-19 Prevention | COVID-19 Diagnosis 


Treatment for most people diagnosed with COVID-19 is about relieving symptoms. While you have symptoms:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.

  • Stay home from work, school and public places so you don’t infect other people.

  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids.

  • Get extra rest and sleep in a separate bedroom, so you don’t infect family members.

  • Take over-the-counter medications for fever, headache, congestion, cough and sore throat.

  • Gargle with saltwater to relieve a sore throat.

  • Eat a bland diet such as bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, if diarrhea is a problem. 

  • Use a separate bathroom and disinfect surfaces you touch after each use.

  • Wear gloves if you have to be around other people and animals.

  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow during coughs and sneezes.

  • Wear a mask if you have a cough and a fever (wash your hands before and after placing a mask on and taking it off).

  • Follow your doctor’s advice.

  • If you have other health conditions, follow those treatment plans and ask questions if those treatments become challenging.


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