When should you go to a hospital for COVID-19?

If you are sick, you've probably spent time Googling how to handle your COVID-19 symptoms at home.

"The majority of Covid cases certainly can be taken care of at home you don’t need to come to the hospital," said Dr. Justin Skrzynski, with Beaumont Health. "It’s important to differentiate between symptom control, which is achieved by over the counter medications that sort of things, and medications that would prevent you from getting sicker."

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Skrzynski runs a Covid floor. He said that while medications you can get over the counter will make you feel better, it's important to keep an eye on your symptoms because they aren't a cure.

"Most of the things you’re to get over the counter will make you feel better, but that’s not necessarily going to prevent people from coming to the hospital," he said.

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He said if you want to be prepared, buy a pulse oximeter, which can be found on Amazon for $20, make sure you have cold medicine, and get at-home Covid tests if you can find them. You can use the oximeter to keep an eye on your oxygen levels if you get sick.

"If it’s low below 90%, that’s time to seek expert opinion," he said.

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Skrzynski said shortness of breath and low oxygen levels are reason to go to a hospital because many patients with Covid are admitted with viral pneumonia. 

If you are high risk and get Covid, monoclonal antibodies are an option, but a prescription is required, and the medication is hard to find.

"The flip side of that is getting the prescription might be difficult, but finding the availability of these medications is very tricky right now," he said.