Covid-19 treatment at home: what doctors recommend

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More than 45,000 people are currently considered actively infected with SARS-Cov-2 in Austria. Most, 43,000, are not in the hospital but in home care. But those who have more severe symptoms should also start medicinal treatment of the disease at home – in consultation with their family doctor. Largely uncontroversial is blood thinning with heparin, but more controversial is treatment with cortisone. The use of a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen in the blood is also specifically recommended.

Blood thinner useful
Covid-19 can initially cause tiny thromboses in the smallest vessels of the body. Wilhelm Marhold, former medical director of the Vienna Hospital Association, believes that something should be done about this as early as possible: “This microthrombosis and the obviously immunologically triggered inflammation that occurs there” can, like all diseases, be treated much better in the early stages than when it has already fully developed. In the early stages, primary care physicians can treat the disease with low-dose cortisone and with low-molecular-weight heparin blood-thinning injections, Marhold said.

Divided opinion on cortisone
Yes to heparin – but not in mild, but only in severe courses or high-risk patients, say Innsbruck hospital head Günter Weiss and Susanne Rabady, head of the Department of General Medicine at Karl Landsteiner University. They advise against administering cortisone. This only makes sense if the immune system overreacts: “In the early phase of cortisone, however, it can also have the opposite effect, because you naturally suppress essential work of the immune response against the virus. That means it shouldn’t be too early, and not too early means definitely not before the seventh day after the onset of symptoms.”

Measure blood oxygen levels
Doctors strongly recommend drinking enough, as this is often forgotten. And it makes a lot of sense to get a pulse oximeter from your doctor or pharmacy to check the oxygen level in your blood on your finger, they say. Sick people often only notice very late when the oxygen level is already too low and then go to the hospital too late. According to Weiss, if the oxygen level falls below 95 percent, hospitalization should be urgently considered.

  • source: orf.at/picture: unsplash.com
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