People with mild or moderate illness can usually manage their symptoms with supportive care at home, similar to care for the flu. This may include taking over-the-counter medications for fever, cough and pain, drinking plenty of fluids, using a humidifier and getting adequate rest.
In more severe cases, a person with COVID-19 may require hospitalization for more advanced care. This may involve breathing supplemental oxygen or, if patients can’t breathe on their own, the use of a ventilator machine.
There are currently no approved treatments for COVID-19. Several drugs have shown activity against SARS-CoV-2 or related coronaviruses in laboratory and animal studies, and hundreds of human trials are underway. Some of these medications are already approved to treat other conditions, such as HIV or malaria, and others are new experimental drugs.
Because most people recover without treatment, it is important to compare new therapies against an inactive placebo or different medications to see which ones work best. Be cautious about rumors and overly optimistic information about treatments that have not yet been tested in randomized clinical trials.
Last Reviewed: July 6, 2020