FAQ: What to Do If You Test COVID Positive? What Medicines Should You Take?

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The third wave led by the Omicron COVID-19 variant has seen a rapid rise in cases with questions on how this particular variant behaves, how its symptoms differ from Delta, what medicines should you take and at what stage.

Omicron is a highly transmissible COVID-19 variant but has "mild symptoms" compared to Delta. The hospitalization rates are also seen to be low.
Dr Mathew Varghese, public health expert and former director at St. Stephen’s Hospital, New Delhi helps to decode everything you need to know regarding the treatment related to Omicron.

What medicines to take if you test Omicron positive? Is hospitalization necessary? Is Molnupiravir effective for Omicron? Are monoclonal antibodies helpful? Dr Mathew Varghese joins The Quint to answer all your frequently asked questions.


When should one start taking medicines if they are infected with COVID-19?

As of now, there is no need to take any medicines for Omicron COVID-19 variant. Dr Mathew Varghese advises symptomatic COVID-19 treatment for all.

If you have fever, take a paracetamol. If you are suffering from severe cold and blocked nose, take anti-allergic medicines.

Sore throat is one of the major symptoms of Omicron. If one is suffering from severe sore throat, symptomatic COVID-19 treatment is recommended.

If one has symptoms such has fever and severe cough with no phlegm, take cough relief medicines.

If one has cough with white phlegm and no bacterial infection, then there is no need of antibiotics. To get rid of dry cough, gargling with warm water is helpful.

These are all the symptomatic treatments. Along with these, take rest, hydrate and remain in isolation.

What role do Monoclonal antibodies play in the treatment of Omicron?

Some initial research has indicated that Omicron COVID-19 variant does not affect our lungs like Delta.

It was observed in South Africa that 99% of Omicron infected patients did not have to be admitted in the ICU. Few people were hospitalised but they did not require ICU admission.

In Delta, we saw due to blood clotting there was a pneumonia type situation, this is not observed in Omicron.

Research has shown that the Omicron variant specifically targets the upper respiratory system.

Hence, Monoclonal antibodies are not required to treat Omicron COVID-19, says Dr Varghese.


Is Molnupiravir required to treat Omicron?

Dr Mathew Varghese explains that the Molnupiravir antiviral medicine was initially made to treat influenza. It is a very toxic medicine with a lot of side effects.

Should Molnupiravir be prescribed to unvaccinated COVID-19 positive patients?

Since Molnupiravir has a lot of adverse side effects, it is not recommended for routine use.

Immunocompromised and critical patients can take Molnupiravir, but one should not consider routine use.

How will Omicron positive patients understand when to get hospitalized?

According to Dr Varghese, symptoms with this variant seem to fade in patients after five days. The most persistent symptoms that stay after five days are sore throat and scratchy throat.

Fever in Omicron positive cases can stay up to three days. If fever stays after that, one should become cautious.

Go to a doctor if the fever comes back and check if there is a lung infection or bacterial secondary infection. One can take antibiotics after consulting the doctor.

Can vaccination protect you from the COVID-19 virus?

The answer to this is, no. Vaccination is meant to prevent severe disease in patients. One should keep wearing a mask, sanitize and follow physical distancing even after being double vaccinated or receiving the booster dose.

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Topics:  Medication   Treatment   COVID-19 

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