Treatment Options for COVID-19

When COVID-19 struck three years ago, we knew little to nothing about the virus other than it was highly contagious and potentially deadly. We didn’t know exactly how it was transmitted, there was no vaccine, and no treatment at the time.

Thanks to immeasurable contributions from doctors and scientists, our knowledge has evolved. Unfortunately, so has the virus. We have seen many variants emerge including the delta variant and now the Omicron variant.  

Vaccines continue to be your best defense against the coronavirus and its mutations. But there are also treatment options available to Southern Californians. Oral treatments are free and most people with COVID-19 are eligible to receive treatment. It’s important to pay attention to your symptoms and to get tested if you think you have COVID-19.

The Symptoms

COVID-19 affects everyone differently. Some people have severe reactions while others have only a mild response. Some show no symptoms at all.

Like the virus, symptoms have changed over time. Not everyone loses their sense of taste or smell, has nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Fever and chills, a cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, a runny nose, and sore throat are still common at this stage of the pandemic.

Symptoms following exposure could appear in the next two to fourteen days. Get tested if you have been exposed. If you develop symptoms, get tested and stay home until you have been fever-free without the help of fever-reducing medicine for at least 24 hours. If you test negative using a rapid test, take another test 48 hours later to make sure.

If You Test Positive

If you test positive, you must continue to isolate for at least 6-10 days. Your symptoms may be mild at the time you test positive. Those with severe symptoms or shortness of breath should be evaluated in-person and those with more mild to moderate symptoms can often be evaluated over the phone. For those at high risk for severe illness -- including those that are unvaccinated or not up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, people that are overweight, people with chronic medical conditions, those that are immune compromised, people that are pregnant or recently pregnant or are aged 50 and older – it’s critically important to talk with a healthcare provider immediately after a positive COVID-19 test. Most people with a new COVID-19 infection are eligible to receive COVID-19-specific medications. Oral medications, such as Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, are most effective if taken within five days of the start of symptoms.

In order to schedule an appointment, contact us at (888) 499-9303 or visit MyAltaMed to schedule an appointment with a provider.

Paxlovid and Molnupirivir are antiviral drugs and have received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of COVID-19.

Your doctor will prescribe what is most appropriate for you.

For further details about what to do if you test positive go here.

Free Virtual Visits

To schedule a same day telehealth appointment, call AltaMed at (888) 499-9303 or book an appointment through your MyAltaMed account. If you do not have an account, download the MyChart app, under California, search for AltaMed and click “sign up.”

The California Department of Public Health has also launched the Sesame Care program that also provides free telehealth visits and no-cost prescriptions for COVID-19 treatments. The doctor will provide the prescription and the medications can either be picked up or will be mailed to the patient.

It’s Not Too Late to Get Vaccinated

If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine or are behind on your boosters, vaccines are available to all adults and children aged six months or older, whether or not you are a patient with AltaMed.

To schedule a vaccine appointment, call AltaMed at: (888) 499-9303.

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Man Coughing Image

COVID-19 Symptoms Changing Along with the Virus

When COVID-19 first struck, people were on alert for symptoms like fatigue, muscle and body aches, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of smell, fever, and shortness of breath.

In the same way the virus that causes COVID-19 has developed variants, the symptoms that appear with the disease vary as well. They have also changed as more people have gotten vaccinated. The level of vaccination plays a hand in how the illness presents itself according to a recent research study.

Covid Symptoms Image

Common Symptoms

Participants in the research study seemed to share some symptoms regardless of their vaccination status. The severity, duration, and complications varied however depending on whether they were unimmunized, partially vaccinated, or fully vaccinated.

According to the study, the most common symptoms among all groups were a sore throat, runny nose, persistent cough, and headache. Fully vaccinated participants reported fewer symptoms lasting less time.

Fully Vaxed

The top five symptoms ranked from most to least reported among fully vaccinated participants were:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Runny nose
  3. Stuffy nose
  4. Persistent cough
  5. Headache

One Dose

The top five symptoms ranked from most to least reported among participants who received only one dose were:

  1. Headache
  2. Runny nose
  3. Sore throat
  4. Sneezing
  5. Persistent cough


The top five symptoms from most to least among the unvaccinated were:

  1. Headache
  2. Sore throat
  3. Runny nose
  4. Fever
  5. Persistent cough

“Traditional” symptoms like fatigue, aches, nausea, and vomiting and diarrhea were mentioned less frequently among the study subjects. Loss of smell dropped to sixth, fever ranked eighth, and shortness of breath fell to 29th.

As the main symptoms of COVID-19 continue to evolve, symptoms that mimic cold- and flu-like symptoms could be mistaken for other viruses as winter approaches. “We are raising concerns,” said Ilan Shapiro, AltaMed’s Chief Health Correspondent and Medical Affairs Officer. He emphasized the importance of testing and active preventive measures, like immunizations, because different viruses have different treatments.

Get Vaccinated and Tested

AltaMed is making COVID-19 vaccines available in your neighborhood. No appointment is necessary. Anyone 5 years or older, whether they are a patient or not, can get a vaccine, while supplies last. It is FREE regardless of immigration or health insurance status. All locations offer the Pfizer vaccine. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are encouraged. You may pre-register and book an appointment by calling (888) 499-9303 or visiting my and searching for an AltaMed vaccine event using the event address.


  • Bring a document that includes your first and last name.
  • Masks will be provided to anyone who doesn’t have one.
  • Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and testing here.


A Flu Shot Is Your Best Protection Against Seasonal Flu

Even as we remain in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, flu season is fast approaching. This period, which typically occurs between November and March, means a significantly increased risk of infection by the flu virus. Experts strongly recommend you get a flu shot in preparation, potentially saving yourself a lot of trouble down the road.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), September and October are good times to get vaccinated against the flu. But there are some considerations about who should get the vaccine and when:

  • Adults 65 and older should get vaccinated as early as possible. Check with your provider to see when the vaccine becomes available. AltaMed will begin distributing flu shots in late August. 
  • Children can get vaccinated as soon as it becomes available. Some children need two doses which is determined by your pediatrician or provider.
  • People in their third trimester of pregnancy should also get vaccinated early to protect their infants.
woman being injected

Why Get Vaccinated?

The flu can be serious, leading to hospitalization and even death. It affects millions of people every year, and the symptoms can range widely from a few days of feeling poorly and missing work to serious illness.

The flu can also lead to complications such as:

  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Ear infections
  • Sinus infections

It can also make chronic conditions like asthma, congestive heart failure, and diabetes, worse. Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to prevent this.

family cooking

Not Just for You

You may not have any of these conditions. You may be the picture of health. The flu, however, is highly contagious.

Most experts believe flu viruses spread by tiny droplets that are created when people infected with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of nearby people. It’s less common for it to be transmitted from touching the surfaces where those droplets land.

So, should you get infected with the flu, you are taking it home to everyone who lives with you. That includes children, grandchildren, grandparents, siblings, etc. Some people, like the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, are more susceptible than others.

It is still possible to get sick from the flu despite getting your shot. However, the severity of the sickness can be lessened from being vaccinated.

Child With a Doctor

This Year’s Vaccine

This year’s shot is expected to offer protection against at least four of the influenza viruses that will be circulating this flu season. While it is possible to be infected by a different strain, it is still your best chance of avoiding serious complications from infection.

A flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months old or older. With COVID-19 still circulating, preventing the flu will help keep your immune system from being compromised which — in combination with the COVID vaccine — can keep you from contracting coronavirus as well.

Get Your Free Shots at AltaMed

Get vaccinated today against the flu virus at your nearest AltaMed medical center to protect yourself and your family. To schedule a flu shot, please call (888) 499-9303. See hours and locations for clinics near you.

Treatment Options for COVID-19