Not all patients with a respiratory illness will require medical attention or treatment, and most people recover without medical care. For mild cases, treatment focuses on managing symptoms by staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and taking over-the-counter medications.
Some respiratory illnesses may be treated using prescription medication.
- For COVID-19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized antibody therapies for use in people who are at high risk for being hospitalized or developing severe illness. For more information, visit the FDA website.
- For the flu, antivirals can help fight against the virus in your respiratory tract. This treatment can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. It also can prevent serious complications. Antiviral treatment of the flu is most effective when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. However, starting them later may still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick. For more information about antiviral medication, contact your healthcare provider.
If you’re experiencing severe respiratory symptoms, be sure to follow up with your healthcare provider about your treatment options.