Is it safe to take ibuprofen and paracetamol if I have coronavirus symptoms?

Brits who feel ill should stay at home for at least 14 days, and many who do stay will be wondering what medicine they should take for their symptoms.

Here we explain if it's safe to take ibuprofen and paracetamol.

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Is it safe to take ibuprofen?

According to a tweet from the French health minister, anti-inflammatory medicine such as Ibuprofen "aggravate" the infection.

Olivier Véran tweeted: “The taking of anti-inflammatories 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.”

However, Public Health England says there is not enough information on taking ibuprofen to help with Covid-19 in order to tell people stop using it.

Dr Tom Wingfield, senior clinical lecturer and honorary consultant physician at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, says someone may opt to take paracetamol because it is less likely to cause side effects if taken over a long period of time.

Dr Wingfield says: “In the UK, paracetamol would generally be preferred over non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen to relieve symptoms caused by infection such as fever.

"This is because, when taken according to the manufacturer’s instructions in terms of timing and maximum dosage, it is less likely to cause side effects.”

Possible side affects of NSAIDs after taking them for long period of time include: indigestion, stomach ulcers, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, allergic reactions and in rare cases problem with your liver or kidneys.

What does the NHS recommend?

The NHS website previously recommended both paracetamol and ibuprofen.

But it since changed its advice, saying while "there is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (Covid-19) worse… until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you."

Those already taking ibuprofen on the advice of a doctor, should not stop taking it without checking first.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, said that while there was no definitive evidence that ibuprofen could harm people with symptoms of Covid-19, it was prudent to use alternatives where possible.

He said: "The sensible thing to do for the moment would be not to take it, to take paracetamol or something else."

The NHS says you shouldn't take antibiotics because they do not work against viruses.

It recommends drinking plenty of water, sleeping alone, washing your hands regularly and taking everyday painkillers to treat the symptoms.

What is the latest government advice?

The NHS says you should self-isolate and don’t take antibiotics as they do not work against viruses.

If you shows symptoms of the coronavirus – which is a high temperature and a continuous dry cough – then you are advised to stay at home for seven days.

If you are living with family then you are asked to stay home for 14 days, and the rest on your household are advised to stay home too.

If you do not get better in a week or your symptoms get worse, you are advised to medical help.

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