What Is the Recommended Pain Reliever for COVID-19?

Reviewed on 5/17/2022
pain relief
Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen can all be used for pain relief from COVID-19 body aches

Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve) can all be used for pain relief from COVID-19 body aches if they are taken in the recommended doses and approved by your doctor.

Early on in the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended using acetaminophen instead of ibuprofen for managing symptoms of COVID-19 or side effects from vaccination. However, researchers have found little to no evidence that one type of pain reliever is riskier than another.  

While recommendations related to the management of COVID-19 are rapidly changing, most doctors still prefer acetaminophen over ibuprofen. If you cannot take acetaminophen or experience no relief from symptoms despite taking the maximum dose (3,000 milligrams a day), you can take ibuprofen instead.

Are pain relievers safe?

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medications help manage symptoms such as muscle aches, headache and fever by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins that cause inflammation in the body.

These medications are safe as long as you follow the prescribed dosages or label instructions. Overdose of pain relievers can lead to side effects such as indigestion, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

You should ask your doctor before taking OTC pain relievers if you:

  • Are taking any other medications
  • Have health conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease, or peptic ulcers
  • Are you over the age of 65

Do pain relievers help prevent COVID-19?

Pain relievers cannot prevent or treat the COVID-19 virus itself. They only help relieve the symptoms of COVID-19 and make you more comfortable. Symptoms may include:

What are treatment options for COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a novel disease, and treatment options are still being explored. Several drugs have been approved by the FDA to relieve symptoms and control the damaging effects of the virus in the body. As active research is being conducted, treatment options for COVID-19 continue to expand.

  • Treatment for mild to moderate cases is called supportive care. Rest, plenty of fluids, and over-the-counter pain and fever relievers, such as Tylenol, are part of the treatment plan.
  • More severe cases, particularly those involving difficulty breathing, may necessitate hospitalization.

Are severe body aches a symptom of COVID-19?

what is the fastest way to get rid of body aches?
Studies show that severe body aches are the third most common symptom of COVID-19 infection.

Studies show that severe body aches are the third most common symptom of COVID-19 infection. 

Most patients suffering from COVID-19 have reported severe body aches and fatigue, as well as low-grade fever and headache. Some have also reported coughing, shortness of breath, vomiting, rashes, and loss of taste and smell. Aches in the body, joints, and bones are common with coronavirus and most other viral illnesses.

  • According to studies, when your immune system is hyper-stimulated secondary to an infection, it triggers an immune response that causes white blood cells to produce interleukins. These can result in severe body aches.
  • When you have an infection, body aches occur because your immune system is working overtime to combat the infection. These aches are not necessarily caused by the virus, but the body's reaction to the virus invasion may result in severe body aches.
  • Fever itself can cause body aches due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a breakdown of symptoms for COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals:

  • 75% of patients had chills, fever, or cough, and nearly as many had shortness of breath.
  • About 33% of patients have reported flu-like muscle aches or severe body aches.
  • 28% of patients have reported diarrhea and 25% of patients have reported nausea or vomiting.
  • 18% have reported headaches.
  • 10%-15% have reported chest or abdominal pain, runny nose, sore throat, and confusion.
  • Seizures, rashes, loss of smell or taste, and conjunctivitis were reported by less than 1% of the CDC cohort study.

Patients may experience symptoms that change frequently as COVID-19 progresses. A patient's symptoms may begin with a headache and fever, then progress to shortness of breath and muscle aches. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), patients with COVID-19 in the United States report a wide range of symptoms across a spectrum of illness severity. Even though studies are limited, most patients have complained of severe body aches before or after the COVID-19 diagnosis was confirmed.

If you suffer from body aches and suspect it could be due to COVID-19, you should:

  • Self-isolate at home
  • Get tested (irrespective of the vaccination status)
  • Monitor themselves for other symptoms, such as fever and sore throat
  • Get rest
  • Stay hydrated
  • Stretch several times a day
  • Eat a healthy and nutritious diet
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers if needed
  • Discuss with your doctor regarding diet and multivitamins that may help strengthen the immune system to fight against COVID-19

What does the research say about COVID-19 symptoms?

According to the most recent research, most COVID-19 cases fall into the least severe category.

  • Mild to moderate: 81%
  • Severe: 14%
  • Critical: 5%

Age appears to be a significant factor in who gets sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that older people have the highest death rate from coronavirus disease in the United States in a recent analysis of COVID-19.

The body reacts to COVID-19 depending on:

  • Age
  • Immune system
  • General health
  • Any underlying health conditions

Conditions that make you more vulnerable to COVID-19 include:

It is possible to be infected and not exhibit any coronavirus symptoms. According to the CDC, 30 percent of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic.

Mild symptoms

Most people infected with the virus will experience mild respiratory symptoms, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, and sore throat.

Other mild COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Low-grade fever (about 100 F)
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea
  • Itchy, painful patches on the skin (especially in young people); these patches often show up on the toes and are called “COVID toes

You may feel as if you have a cold if you have a mild case. You can do most daily tasks without much difficulty in a mild case of infection.

Moderate symptoms

  • Fever above 100.4 F
  • Chills with repeated shaking
  • Deep cough
  • Fatigue and body aches
  • Muscle pain
  • A general feeling of being unwell
  • Some shortness of breath

People with moderate COVID-19 will experience mostly the same symptoms of mild infection but the intensity of the symptoms will be higher.

Severe symptoms

Some or all of the common COVID-19 symptoms, as well as:

  • Shortness of breath, even at rest
  • Chest discomfort
  • Confusion or unresponsiveness
  • Trouble staying awake
  • Eye problems, such as watery eyes or swollen eyelids
  • Bluish face and lips (a sign that the body is not getting enough oxygen)
  • Breathing issues

In the event of severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. COVID-19 can cause pneumonia and lung scarring.

Most people infected with the virus will begin to exhibit symptoms within 11-12 days. Recovery time for those with severe cases can range from three to six weeks and in some cases, even longer.

A mild case of coronavirus can progress to a severe case. The timing will be determined by each person's immune system and underlying health conditions. There have been reports of symptoms developing quickly in a few hours and cases that take days to develop.

The CDC suggests that reinfection with COVID-19 is extremely unlikely in the first 3 months after infection though not impossible.

What is multisystem inflammatory syndrome?

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) is a very rare and severe complication associated with COVID-19 and is often seen in children.

The most common symptoms are:

MIS-C causes a variety of symptoms in the body. All patients suffering from this syndrome should see a doctor. Most of them require hospitalization.

Some cases resemble Kawasaki's disease, a common condition in children. Because COVID-19 remains a mild disease in most children, the occurrence of MIS-C is extremely rare.

Treatment for multisystem inflammatory syndrome includes the administration of medications, such as intravenous immune serum globulin and steroids. Most children recover completely. MIS-C can be avoided by immunizing a child against COVID-19

How safe are COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses?

Before they are administered to humans, vaccines must be proven to be both safe and effective. Vaccines and booster doses for COVID-19 are no exception. Across the country, the vaccine has been administered to millions of people and has saved countless lives and limited infection severity.

The FDA requires a vaccine to go through a rigorous scientific process that includes three phases of clinical trials before it can be authorized or approved. COVID-19 vaccine trials must adhere to the same safety guidelines as other vaccine trials.

Though scientists have developed COVID-19 vaccines, there is no cure for the infectious disease yet. Vaccination is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect yourself from illness.

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References
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7445106/

https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/which-otc-medications-are-best-for-coronavirus-symptoms

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/944956

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html

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