Most people are recovering from mild cases of coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV2) from home and you may be curious how to do it. Read this article on how to treat mild coronavirus from home especially for Prednisone patients and know when to seek help.
Watch my video about How to treat mild coronavirus from home!
My doctor said I had to go and get tested. So that’s why I’m wearing the mask. My doctor thought maybe there’s a chance that I have coronavirus. But if I do have coronavirus, chances are it’ll probably be mild. I’m young. I’m relatively healthy. If I really have it, it’ll be mild. And chances are 95% of the population will have mild symptoms. So what can you do from home if that’s what your doctor says? If you don’t need to be hospitalized. I’m Dr. Megan, the prednisone pharmacist.
Common Symptoms of Coronavirus
So if you’ve got coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS, COVI2, whatever you want to call it these days, if you’ve got it, then you probably have some symptoms. If you have something so severe that you can’t breathe, you can’t get out of bed, you need to go to the hospital and take care of your business there. But if you got permission to stay at home, then this is for you. So I’ve got a lot of these tips from consumer reports about how they treat mild coronavirus from home, but also just from my experience as a pharmacist. And most of this you can do with just over the counter medicine. So what’s the most common symptom of coronavirus?
Fever & Body Aches
Well, it’s a fever and you can treat it in several different ways. So fever, at first there was this rumor going around. A rumor going around about these two medicines that ibuprofen could worsen coronavirus. And so you should only take acetaminophen. And that was debunked. There’s not any evidence to support that.
But for people on Prednisone, Acetaminophen is your best first choice for fever and body aches. It’s generally safer for most people who are taking prednisone. The people who would want to avoid it are those who have liver problems. And you probably already know that. The reason that acetaminophen is better than ibuprofen, which is all also known as Motrin, or Advil, is because ibuprofen can have lots of side effects. And it interacts with prednisone. It’s called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID). Prednisone is a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Prednisone + Ibuprofen Drug Interaction
NSAID is what this is. They’re working, in the same way, to affect your body so you would want to avoid ibuprofen unless absolutely necessary while taking prednisone. And the reason is that the combination of prednisone and ibuprofen can lead to ulcers in your stomach that bleed, stomach upset, heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure, all of which can happen with prednisone alone, but the combination is worse.
So you would want to start with acetaminophen for fever and body aches. And then you would try this if the acetaminophen isn’t working. And you could alternate doses, you could take acetaminophen every four to six hours and then ibuprofen in between, at the two-hour mark or the three-hour mark, if you absolutely need it.
Non-Drug Treatment for Fever & Body Aches
Okay. So what else can you do for fever and body aches? And just so you know, even though I’m a pharmacist, I always recommend non-drug therapies first. So for fever and body aches, you definitely want to focus on this. This – Water – is your best treatment. Drinking lots of fluid can help the most because you can get really dehydrated when you have a fever. And that’ll make you feel even worse. So five to six glasses or a hundred ounces at least every day, especially while you’re sick is the best first choice. All right, I’m going to put down my NSAID, my ibuprofen and my Tylenol.
The next symptom that people experience a lot is cough. So if you have a cough, you might be tempted to reach straight for a cough syrup, and I would encourage you to try non-drug therapies first. So again, water is your best first choice. Staying hydrated will help your cough. Next is things like honey. Honey or herbal teas can help soothe your throat and there’s evidence that honey is really one of the best cough suppressants that we have that mother nature has already created. So make yourself a warm cup of water with some tea, a honey tea basically. And that will help really as the best first choice.
Cough drops, throat lozenges can help soothe a sore throat. And if the coughing is so bad that you’re not sleeping, then I would use a cough syrup. But if it’s not disturbing other aspects of your life, you don’t need to take cough syrup just to take it. Only take the cough syrup if it’s disturbing your ability to sleep.
So if you need a cough syrup, Honey is your first best choice and then something that is plain dextromethorphan. You don’t want a combination product or want something that’s like night time cough or Robitussin AQ PM, or some really long name. You want something that is one ingredient like Delsym. And the reason is that it might have acetaminophen in it too. And when you have too much acetaminophen in that combination product, that can be really dangerous for your liver.
So you’d want something single ingredient, dextromethorphan like Delsym is my favorite because you only have to take it every 12 hours and it tastes pretty good. So if you absolutely need cough syrup, this is the one I recommend. (As you can hear, I’m actually having a hard time breathing and that’s why they had me tested today. I can barely complete sentences. That is why.)
All right, next, the other thing is I don’t have a cough, so I’m not taking this. And that’s why I was like, do I really need to be tested, doctor? And she was like, yeah, you do. So the reason I need to be tested is because I have diarrhea and an upset stomach, and most people haven’t even heard that that’s a symptom. And so if you’re having diarrhea or other nausea, vomiting, all of that stuff from mouth to bum, that can be a sign of coronavirus. I’m really hoping I don’t have it, that this is just some stomach bug. But if you do have that, what should you do? Again, water is your first best choice. Use water, stay hydrated because the real problem with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea is when you get dehydrated. So stay hydrated. Water.
Always Stay Hydrated!
- Chicken Soup
- Chicken Broth
You can try things with electrolytes. Pedialyte’s a lot better than Gatorade, but Gatorade is better than nothing. So you want something that will replace your electrolytes. And then soup, chicken noodle soup is one of the best things in the world. Really it is. Chicken broth, bone broth. All of those things are super helpful for replacing your electrolytes and getting the proper nutrients that you need while you are sick. I’m still catching my breath here, guys. So those are the first non-drug choices you’d want to make. And the reason I’m saying this is because a third of the people in a WHO study, W-H-O, the World Health Organization, had nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. And then in China, a third of the people who were hospitalized had diarrhea. Okay.
But what should you do if it’s over the counter and you really want to take a medicine? What are the best choices for a medicine to help with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea? or on how to treat mild coronavirus from home? So usually you want to just let it go. You just want to let your body process whatever that is. You want to just let the diarrhea go, let it come. Let it do what it needs to and get that thing out of your system. Whether it’s coronavirus or another virus or bacteria, usually you just want to let your body do what it needs to do. But if it’s so bad that you need to take something, then something with aluminum and magnesium are good choices like Maalox or Mylanta.
And then Imodium like Loperamide is a pretty good choice. But it can not be a great option for older people so be careful with these ones. And then Pepto-Bismol, which has Bismuth subsalicylate in it. You guys, I feel like I’m running a race and I’m just standing here. Anyway, so over the counter meds that you can use include those options. But you only use them if it’s so bad that you’re soiling your bedsheets and things like that. Usually, just let it process.
When to seek help for COVID symptoms?
When you are having such a hard time breathing, worse than this, I can finish most sentences. But you are having a hard time, your lip is going blue, your tongue is going blue, you’re really struggling breathing and your nausea and vomiting, you can’t hold fluids down, then you need to get extra help for sure.
Call your doctor first. A lot of them will do FaceTime appointments these days. And then you can also call the emergency room, call 911, get the help you need. Don’t stay home and suffer. Trying to treat mild coronavirus symptoms from home. People keep dying from this, and you don’t want to be one of those people. If you’re really struggling, then get the help you need. But a lot of us, 95% of us can cope from home. So I’ll be in touch to let you know the results of my tests. They said it might be about two days. (P.S. I got the results: Negative! Wahoo!)
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