Recovering from COVID at home

Not all COVID-19 patients require hospitalization. In fact, many are diagnosed and sent home to recover. If you are recovering at home, it’s important to stay away from other members of your household to reduce their risk of contracting the virus.

It can be tough to know how to best treat yourself but there are some important steps you can take to help your body heal.

UofL Health offers antibody infusions, including bamlanivimab, to some high-risk COVID-19 patients. The monoclonal antibody can help patients in the early stages of COVID-19. Bamlanivimab is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19. The treatment requires a physician’s order and is something you should ask your provider about. The hour-long infusion is intended to help people avoid hospitalization but will not automatically take away your symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration recommends receiving the infusion within 10 days of your first symptoms.

COVID-19 recovery is not one size fits all. You should work with your health care provider to determine what treatments are best for you.

Here are some simple steps you can take while you recover at home:

  1. Keep monitoring your symptoms.
  • Purchase a pulse oximeter to measure your oxygen levels at home. If your oxygen levels dip below 90%, you should call your doctor.
  • If you have an increase in shortness of breath or it becomes more difficult to breath, call your doctor.
  1. Get enough sleep.
  • Sleep is extremely important when fighting COVID-19. Make sure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep a day.
  • If you’re experiencing extreme fatigue, sleep for as long as you need.
  1. Keep moving.
  • Get up and walk around when you can. When you’re not sleeping, you should try to get out of bed every two hours and move around.
  1. Stay hydrated.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water each day.
  • Stay away from caffeinated drinks.
  1. Eat healthy.
  • Even though you may not feel like it, you need to eat.
  • Fruits and vegetables are best. Avoid sugar, fat and red meats.
  1. Treat your symptoms.
  • If you have a stuffy or runny nose, nasal spray can help.
  • If you have a headache, use Acetaminophen (Tylenol®). Stay away from ibuprofen, Motrin® and Aleve® because they can cause bleeding and clotting issues.
  • If you’re having trouble breathing, talk with your doctor about prescribing an albuterol inhaler.

If you do not currently have a health care provider, it’s OK to establish care when you are sick. If you’d like to find a provider through UofL Physicians, visit https://uoflphysicians.com/providers/.

If you would like to talk with a doctor via Telehealth, schedule an appointment by calling 502-588-4343.

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About Christian Furman, M.D., MSPH

Christian Davis Furman, MD, MSPH, AGSF is the medical director for the Trager Institute at the University of Louisville. She is a professor of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine and holds the Smock Endowed Chair for Geriatric Medical Education. She joined the faculty in 2000 and served as vice-chair for geriatric medicine from 2005-2016. In 2015, she was appointed medical director for the institute and in 2016 was named the Smock Endowed Chair. In July 2018, she was appointed as interim division chief for the Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine and Medical Education in the Department of Medicine and completed that service in February 2020. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami in 1992, a medical degree from UofL School of Medicine in 1996, and a master’s in public health from UofL’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences in 2003. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at UofL in 1999 and a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine at UofL in 2000. She is board certified in geriatric medicine and hospice and palliative medicine. Her research focuses on palliative medicine in the nursing home setting. She was awarded a Geriatric Academic Career Award to teach palliative medicine to interdisciplinary teams in 2004. In 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services selected Dr. Furman as the only Kentuckian among 73 national health care professionals to participate in the CMS Innovation Advisors Program. She was inducted as a Fellow in the American Geriatrics Society in 2013. Currently, she serves as president of the Association of Directors of Geriatrics Academic Programs (ADGAP) for the American Geriatrics Society (AGS).

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