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Health - Public Health News

Posted on: May 19, 2022

COVID-19 drugs work best when taken at the start of illness

If you're at increased risk of severe COVID-19 and test positive, start drug treatments right away

For people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, drugs are available that can reduce your chances of severe illness and death. If you are in a higher risk group and test positive for the virus, don’t wait to start treatment - call your doctor right away! Drugs to treat COVID-19 must be started within a few days after you first develop symptoms to be effective.


People who are at higher risk of severe illness include (but are not limited to):

  • Older adults. The risk increases for people in their 50s and increases in 60s, 70s, and 80s. People 85 and older are the most likely to get very sick.

  • People with certain medical conditions, like cancer, chronic kidney disease, lung diseases, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, diabetes (type 1 or type 2), heart conditions, and immunocompromised or weakened immune system conditions. 

  • Pregnant and recently pregnant people. If you are pregnant or were recently pregnant, you are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant. Pregnancy causes changes in the body that could make it easier to get very sick from respiratory viruses like the one that causes COVID-19. These changes in the body can continue after pregnancy.

  • Being unvaccinated or not having received a booster.


Remember, drugs to treat COVID-19 are widely available, but they must be prescribed by a doctor. The sooner you start treatment, the better it will work! 

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