With all of the media coverage of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, there has been little information available about what to do if you get the COVID-19 coronavirus.
I'm not a doctor or trained medical professional and this is not medical advice, however, I'd like to share the information about how to manage coronaviruses from a friend of mine who is a Registered Nurse.
Before we get into what to do if you get the COVID-19 coronavirus in terms of symptom management. Let's talk about what you can do to prepare ahead of time. While toilet paper is flying off the shelves isn't exactly logical. I mean, it's not that kind of virus. There are some things you can do to prepare for your own personal visit from the virus.
You should prepare as though you expect to get a nasty respiratory infection like bronchitis or pneumonia.
Stock Your Medicine Cabinet
Make sure your home medicine cabinet has the over the counter medications and supplies stocked that your household typically goes through during cold and flu season ahead of time.
- Vapor Rub (Vix)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) in 350 mg tablets
- Ibuprofen (Advil) in 200 mg tablets
- Expectorants (Mucinex)
- Cough Suppressant (Robitussin, Dayquil, Nyquil)
Double Check Prescription Medications
Make sure you have enough of your daily medications in stock and work with your insurance ahead of time to get advanced refills. Many insurance companies have programs that will fill 3 months of maintenance medications at a time.
If you have a history of asthma and use an inhaler, make sure the one you have is good and refill your script if it is expired.
Purchase a Humidifier
If you don't have a humidifier, this may be a helpful item to purchase ahead of time as well. You can always run the shower super hot with the door closed and breathe in the steam.
This will help keep airways moist and break up mucous.
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Prepare Bone Broth or Soup
This will just make things easier on yourself when you're not feeling well and help soothe a sore throat and feed your immune system with good quality nutrients.
If you are particularly vulnerable and belong to any of the following groups it is important for you to speak with your physician ahead of time about what they want you to do if you get sick.
Make sure you have your plan worked out ahead of time so you know what to do if you start to get symptoms.
- pre-existing respiratory conditions such as COPD, emphysema, or lung cancer
- Pre-existing chronic illness such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes
- taking immunosuppressant medications
Children generally do very well with coronaviruses and bounce back quickly. Up until this point, there have been no deaths under the age of 18 from COVID-19. No children have been hospitalized unless they had a pre-existing condition. Use pediatric doses of the same medications listed above.
This FAQ on Children and COVID-19 is helpful for parents who are concerned about their little ones.
What to Do You Get Sick
So far, 90% of healthy adult cases have been managed at home with basic rest, hydration, and over the counter medications.
Do not leave your home except to go to the doctor. If you do leave your home while you are sick, please wear a mask. Any covering over your nose and mouth will do, the point is to keep your bodily fluids in you and out of the air around you.
Please do not go to the ER unless you are having trouble breathing or you have a very high fever that is not responding to over the counter medication.
We want to help our medical system out and leave the hospital beds for those folks who are really in distress and need to receive oxygen, IV fluids, or breathing treatments.
Use the medications listed above to manage your symptoms.
- Alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen so that you're dosing every 3 hours for fevers over 101 degrees **If you have underlying conditions use acetaminophen (Tylenol) only as ibuprofen can blunt immune function.
- Use both cough suppressants and expectorants (most over the counter drugs for cough contain both)
- Hydrate well, drink lots of liquids
- Rest as much as you can
There you have it, this is what to do if you get the COVID-19 coronavirus. Managing this variant of coronavirus is the same as any other coronavirus. Keep calm and follow the same procedures we are used to following for both prevention and at-home treatment during cold and flu season.
Helpful Resources on COVID-19
I've found that with the state of the news media today, it's actually kind of difficult to find real and factual information on COVID-19 that is not shrouded in sensationalist headlines. Here are a few of the resources I have found helpful.
For those of you who are big data nerds like me, the COVID-19 #coronavirus infographic data pack from Information is Beautiful is awesome. I highly recommend checking this out. This infographic is also pretty cool, shout out to TechiePassion.com for gathering the data for this.
This video interview with Michael Osterholm who is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology is a good one. He explains why we need to take this seriously. It's not about the virus itself, it's about the strain on our healthcare system and the economic ripple effect. I highly recommend this video.
If you want even more detail from Michael Osterholm, he did a podcast with Joe Rogan that's pretty good. Keep in mind, this is Joe Rogan, so it covers way more than just COVID-19 and goes into some weird areas. But he does do some great myth busting!