Coronavirus medicine: Should you take paracetamol or ibuprofen for a fever?

As coronavirus cases increase in the UK every day, the Government has implemented a number of ‘social distancing’ measures. People have been advised to work from home if possible, and not to attend social gatherings such as restaurants, theatres and pubs.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The NHS currently advises you stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

The World Health Organization’s description of coronavirus symptoms is as follows: “Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.”


  • What to do if you have a continuous cough or high temperature?

Should you take paracetamol or ibuprofen for coronavirus symptoms?

The NHS webpage for coronavirus treatment currently states: “There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.

“Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.

“Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.

“You’ll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.”

However, if you are suffering from symptoms, the NHS advises paracetamol could help ease the effects of the virus.

The NHS advises if you have symptoms of coronavirus, you must stay at home for seven days.

For this period, you should not have visitors, and should ask people to leave deliveries outside.

You should not leave your home, go for walks or visit public places.


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  • EU: How coronavirus could cause Italy to ‘crash out of eurozone’

And while staying at home, you should:

  • try to keep at least 2 metres (3 steps) from other people in your home, particularly people over 70, or those with long-term health conditions
  • ask friends, family and delivery services to deliver things like food shopping and medicines but leave them outside
  • sleep alone, if possible
  • regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • drink plenty of water and take paracetamol to help with your symptoms

Some health authorities and doctors have recently advised against the use of ibuprofen to relieve coronavirus symptoms.

French authorities warned of the problems taking over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs can cause for sufferers of the virus.

France’s health minister, Olivier Véran, a qualified doctor and neurologist, tweeted on Saturday: “The taking of anti-inflammatories [ibuprofen, cortisone … ] could be a factor in aggravating the infection.

“In case of fever, take paracetamol. If you are already taking anti-inflammatory drugs, ask your doctor’s advice.”

Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, also said he would “advise against” the use of ibuprofen to treat symptoms of coronavirus.

He told the Guardian: “There’s good scientific evidence for ibuprofen aggravating the condition or prolonging it.”

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