With the number of positive cases increasing by the day, we're receiving more and more phone calls in the emergency department from patients who are at home in quarantine with a positive test result and they want to know about treatment. Well, for up to 85% of patients are known to be positive for COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) their symptoms will be no more serious than a common cold or a mild case of flu. In those cases, the remedy is rest, hydration specific symptom relievers as directed by your primary care doctor and self isolation for up to 14 days. For the 15% or so of patients who are at higher risk - patients over the age of 70, patients with complicated preexisting medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic lung disease, asthma, COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, patients with compromised immune systems like patients receiving immunotherapy or chemotherapy. These patients are more likely to require hospitalization because they are at higher risk of developing the most serious complications of COVID-19 - those are the dangerous viral pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS. These patients can suddenly and rapidly deteriorate and require care in the intensive care unit and may even require being placed on a mechanical ventilator. It's important to note that any patient with COVID-19 who develops chest pressure or pain or difficulty breathing or changes in mental status should seek care promptly and if possible, they should alert the EMS personnel or the emergency department prior to their arrival of their positive test result and their symptoms. I'm sure you're seeing on the internet that there are a number of strategies that are being proposed in terms of using combinations of antiviral medications and other antimicrobial agents but currently none of these remedies has been approved or vetted and is being used in any case or trial to treat these diseases. So it's your best bet that if you have a positive test result that you communicate with your primary care doctor or your public health officials for the most up to date guidance on how to get healthy and stay safe.
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