Tampa Bay area doctors share advice on dealing with mild COVID-19 diagnosis at home

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Posted at 10:30 PM, Sep 02, 2021

TAMPA, Fla.—As the Tampa Bay area continues to deal with COVID-19 cases in the community, many people have reached out to ABC Action News asking how to recover from the illness at home if you’re not sick enough to be in the hospital. Local doctors shared what steps people should take if they’re dealing with a mild or moderate case of COVID-19 that doesn't require hospitalization.

Dr. Laura Arline, Baycare Health System’s Chief Quality Officer, says she would say the majority of people can recover from COVID at home.

“Recovering from COVID at home may look different for different people. What should happen though, in terms of keeping yourself and others safe, is you really need to isolate yourself from others,” said Dr. Arline. “So if you don’t live by yourself, you need to get yourself a sick room and a sick bathroom, if that’s possible, and stay there as much as you possibly can and not around others while you’re recovering.”

Dr. Arline says the period of isolation tends to be 10 days from your onset of symptoms or 10 days from your positive test. She says if you need to be around other people in your home, it’s important everyone wears a mask and social distances as much as possible.

Dr. Laura McGill, an urgent care physician at Sarasota Memorial, weighed in on what to do when isolating at home.

“The biggest thing is to totally isolate when you’re at home. Don’t go anywhere. Pick one side of your house and stay there,” said McGill. “Obviously be monitoring your temperature. If you can get a pulse oximeter off of Amazon or the internet, get one of those delivered and be checking your oxygen at home. You can be doing vitamin C, zinc, plenty of fluids, acetaminophen or Tylenol, and ibuprofen in some patients, but consult your own physician on that first.”

Doctors also say to keep an eye on what symptoms may be getting better or worse.

“Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. Do not push yourself. You’ll feel tired with COVID. Sleep. It’s one of the best things that you can do,” said Arline.

If you’re among those at high risk of severe COVID-19, SMH explains monoclonal antibody treatments can help prevent mild to moderate illness from getting worse.

ABC Action News checked in with local sites about the demand they’re seeing. As of Wednesday at the Kings Forest Park monoclonal antibody therapy site in Hillsborough County, county officials said more than 2,600 antibody therapy treatments have been administered since the site opened two weeks ago.

Red flags to indicate when a COVID case may need to go from your home to the hospital include trouble breathing, chest pain, fever spikes, and inability to stay awake.

“The earlier you can come and get help for that, the better that you’re going to do,” said Dr. Arline. “We’ve seen too many patients stay home too long and think, ‘This is going to get better. This is going to get better,’ but if you’re starting to have trouble breathing, you really have to stay on top of that and that’s, I would say, when it’s time to say, 'I need to get help.”