Will antibiotics help to treat COVID-19?


No, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. There are other treatments used by healthcare workers though. 

COVID-19 is a viral infection which means that antibiotics will not be effective as it can only be used to treat bacterial infections. However, antibiotics may be used if a bacterial secondary infection develops afterwards.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that those experiencing mild symptoms practise self-care.

Treatment for most people diagnosed with COVID-19 is about relieving symptoms, here's how:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with a 65% or more alcohol content.
  • Don’t go to work and stay away from public places so you don’t infect other people.
  • Drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids.
  • Get a lot of sleep in a separate bedroom, so you don’t infect family members.
  • Speak to a pharmacist about over-the-counter medications for fever, headache, congestion, cough and sore throat.
  • Eat a bland diet such as bananas, rice, and toast if diarrhoea is a problem. 
  • If you live with other people disinfect surfaces you touch after each use.
  • Wear gloves if you must be around other people and animals
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow during coughs and sneezes.
  • Wear a mask if you have a cough and a fever (wash your hands before and after placing a mask on and taking it off).
  • Follow your doctor’s advice.

Monitor your symptoms and report to your doctor if anything changes or phone the COVID-19 Hotline for advice on what to do.


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