COVID-19 Recovery Advice From People Who Had It
Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, some information may not be up to date. Stay informed by following information from your local officials and by visiting the CDC website.
Sometimes, the best advice comes from people who experienced the same situation you’re in. That’s why we surveyed people who have recovered from COVID-19—to provide the most relevant information to you. Keep in mind: everyone we received answers from had a mild case that they recovered from at home, and more severe symptoms may require hospitalization. If you or a loved one have COVID-19, consider this advice.
The Most Common Mild Symptoms of COVID-19*
Among the group of people with mild cases we surveyed, the most common symptom was the loss of taste and smell. Other manifestations discussed were fatigue, headaches, sore throat, and cough. Finally, a minority of the respondents mentioned congestion.
This falls in line with data presented by the CDC, which states, “Symptoms differ with severity of disease. For example, fever, cough, and shortness of breath are more commonly reported among people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 than among those with milder disease (non-hospitalized patients).”
The Average Duration of Mild COVID-19 Symptoms*
Of our respondents, a little less than half said they experienced symptoms for 2-3 days, while the majority had them for 7-10 days. Of course, this is just a small sample of mild cases. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization in February 2020, “the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately two weeks and is 3-6 weeks for patients with severe or critical disease.”
“You know you’ve recovered from COVID-19 once you have symptomatic improvement,” said Dr. Sarah Abdellatif, a primary care physician in The Woodlands. “Most people may have a fever, chills, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, loss of smell/taste, shortness of breath, or headache. The most important thing is to listen to your body, and if you feel better, you are most likely on your way to recovery.”
Tips for Recovering From COVID-19 at Home
The most common piece of advice we received from survey participants was to sleep. They recommend staying away from caffeine and giving your body all the time it needs to rest and recover. Some other pieces of advice include:
- Placing an ice pack or cold compress on your head to reduce the pain of a headache
- Taking zinc and vitamin C**
- Using a saline spray to relieve congestion
- Drinking warm fluids for a sore throat
**There are currently no studies to confirm that taking supplements may reduce COVID-19 symptoms or duration. Always consult with your doctor before taking any new supplement or medication.
“Warm salt water for nasal congestion or sore throat, honey taken on its own or mixed with tea for sore throat, rest, lots of fluids, steamy showers, and eating infection-fighting foods, especially ones that contain vitamin C, are the best ways to naturally overcome symptoms,” echoed Dr. Abdellatif. “See a healthcare professional if you have any concerns. Once you are done with isolation and go out in public, please wear a mask. It is the best way to prevent infection and re-infection!”
If you notice any symptoms of COVID-19, including loss of taste or smell, fever, or dry cough, schedule a virtual visit with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician.
*According to survey participants.
CDC | Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
WHO | Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)