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You’re going about your usual day when you notice that your throat hurts. Or you’re coughing more than usual. Or you’re especially tired. Five years ago, it wouldn’t have caused much concern, but now the question pops into your head: Is it COVID?
Two years ago, it became easier to answer that question. Instant at-home COVID tests (rapid antigen tests) are now available from care providers—including Harbor CHC—and affordable at most drugstores. You probably even have at least one in your house that was mailed to you from the federal government. So you run the test: it’s positive.
Six months ago, this would have been worse news. But now you can call Harbor for free, easy-to-get COVID medication. When taken at your first symptoms, these medications can shorten your COVID-19 illness. So not only do you have a better chance of surviving COVID, it won’t even slow you down for long.
What to Do When There Are Two Lines
If you are over the age of twelve, experience COVID-19 symptoms, and test positive, contact Harbor right away to get medication. It’s even more important to do so if you’re at higher risk for more severe illness. Your risk is higher if:
- you are over 50 years of age
- you are not vaccinated
- you struggle with obesity
- your level of physical activity is low
- you have high blood pressure
- you smoke
- you have asthma
- you have diabetes
- you struggle with mental health conditions like depression
Most American adults are eligible for COVID-19 medication, so it’s likely that you are, too. As soon as you feel sick, get tested for COVID-19. If you’re positive, medication must be taken (at most) within 5-7 days of your first symptoms. The sooner you start the medication, however, the more effectively it will work and the better you’ll feel.
You can get COVID-19 medication from a Harbor care provider through a telehealth appointment. (Harbor accepts at-home test results and someone can pick up medication for you, so you don’t need to come in if you feel sick.) You do not need insurance or to be a U.S. citizen to get Covid-19 medication, and you don’t need to be a current Harbor CHC patient to get it from Harbor. To get started, just call us at 310-547-0202 as soon as you have a positive test.
- You can also visit another Test-to-Treat location near you. To find a site, call the statewide COVID-19 hotline at 833-422-4255.
There are two kinds of COVID-19 medications. Your Harbor care provider can determine which is right for you.
- Antiviral treatments stop COVID-19 from multiplying in your body and infecting more cells. Paxlovid and Lagevrio (molnupiravir) are pills that you can take at home. Remdesivir is usually given by a care provider through IV.
- Monoclonal antibody treatments help your immune system recognize and respond better to COVID-19. It’s given through IV by a care provider.
You probably won’t experience any side effects, as most people don’t. If you receive Paxlovid, the most-prescribed medication, there might be mild side effects like nausea or a bitter taste.
Put Away Your Wallet: Medication is Free
You read that right: Covid-19 pills are free. (IV medication may come with a charge.) All providers who receive Paxlovid or Lagevrio (molnupiravir) from the federal government have signed an agreement not to charge patients for the medication. If you or someone you know is charged for COVID-19 pills, call the statewide COVID-19 hotline at 833-422-4255.
You’ll breathe easier once the medication starts working, also because it prevents serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 by up to 88%. If you take Paxlovid, for example, you’re up to eight times less likely to be hospitalized and ten times less likely to die from the virus. Medication may also lower your risk of long COVID symptoms.
Finally, medications like the Paxlovid pill can help you test negative sooner. This means that in less time than without the medication, you’re back to work, school, and being there for your family. So at the next cough, yawn, or grunt of pain, test for COVID-19 and for no cost at all, take the worry out of your day.