Most people with COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and feel better within a few weeks.
You may be able to look after yourself at home while you recover.
People at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 may be eligible for treatments.
Find out more about treatments for COVID-19 and who can have them
How to treat COVID-19 symptoms at home
Treating a high temperature
If you have a high temperature, it can help to:
- get lots of rest
- drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear
- take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable
Treating a cough
If you have a cough, it's best to avoid lying on your back. Lie on your side or sit upright instead.
To help ease a cough, try having a teaspoon of honey. But do not give honey to babies under 12 months.
If this does not help, you could contact a pharmacist for advice about cough treatments.
Things to try if you're feeling breathless
If you're feeling breathless, it can help to keep your room cool.
Try turning the heating down or opening a window. Do not use a fan as it may spread the virus.
You could also try:
- breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth, with your lips together like you're gently blowing out a candle
- sitting upright in a chair
- relaxing your shoulders, so you're not hunched
- leaning forward slightly – support yourself by putting your hands on your knees or on something stable like a chair
Try not to panic if you're feeling breathless. This can make it worse.
Watch a video to find out how you can help relieve breathlessness
Video: tips for breathlessness
Find out how you can help relieve breathlessness.
Media review due: 2 June 2023
How to avoid passing COVID-19 on to others
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, there are things you can do to help you avoid passing it on to other people, including those you live with:
try to work from home if you can – if you're unable to work from home, ask your employer about options available to you
try to stay away from other people, including those you live with, until you feel better
wear a face covering that fits snugly against your face and has more than 1 layer when you are in shared rooms, or if you need to leave your home
keep windows open for at least 10 minutes after you have left shared rooms to let in fresh air
do any exercise outdoors and where you will not be in close contact with other people
let people who need to come into your home know that you’ve tested positive or have symptoms
think about asking friends, family or neighbours to get food and other essentials for you
avoid indoor or crowded places (including public transport or large social gatherings) or places where there is not much fresh air if you need to leave your home
let any healthcare professionals know about your positive test result or symptoms if you’re asked to attend an appointment in person
You should avoid being in close contact with people at increased risk of getting ill from COVID-19 if you have symptoms or have tested positive.
This includes people who are pregnant, are aged 60 or over, or who have a weakened immune system due to a health condition or because of a medical treatment.
Get an isolation note to give to your employer
You can get an isolation note to send to your employer as proof you need to be off work.
You do not need to get a note from a GP.