Although some people end up in a life or death battle with COVID-19, the majority of people fight the illness from home and gradually get better on their own.
Dr. Jeffrey Beers, physician director and partner at Hospitality Health ER in Longview, has helped hundreds of COVID-19 patients recover at home.
“It’s working our way to us and we are still seeing more cases every day,” Beers said.
He said it is important to realize how easy it is to spread COVID-19. Beers said people should work to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus as they would any other sickness. People should cover sneezes and coughs, and if they’re sick they shouldn’t go out in public. Sick children should not go to school or day care.
“The recommendation is to cover your face with a mask when you are out to protect yourself,” Beers said. “When you are trying to think how long it takes to get better, we are seeing patients take a week to 10 days for the virus to run through the end of the system.”
Beers said because Corona is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics cannot be used to treat it. It has to run its course for the patient to feel better. He said some people are taking shorter times than others who have a longer infection period.
The kinds of over the counter medicines that can be used to treat the symptoms of COVID-19 are the same types that might be used when treating the flu, he said.
“Before you go to the doctor, try taking some of the medicines at home,” Beers said. “Anything over the counter like decongestants and Tylenol and Motrin for fever.”
Beers said physicians might offer prescription cough medicine — perhaps a codeine cough syrup. Patients who present with trouble breathing will likely be given an inhaler for shortness of breath, and maybe a prescription strength medicine of Naproxen or Aleve for a headache.
Beers said there are other proactive steps someone can take to try to avoid getting sick: Keep stress levels down; get enough sleep; and eat a balanced diet. Beers also recommends taking supplements of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, quercetin, NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) and melatonin. (View magazine encourages readers to consult their physician about how much.)
“The virus causes the body to overreact, which causes inflammation,” he said. “The things we are talking about now is how to decrease inflammation. I encourage supplements and basically these are aimed at trying to make sure your body is not
overreacting to inflammation,” he said. “The inflammation is what causes your lungs to break down and you end up in hospital.”
Indications that someone needs to go to the hospital are coughing with difficulty breathing. Also, blue lips or blue fingers and a high respiratory rate. Normal breathing is 18 times a minute, Beers said.
Although a majority of people who contract COVID-19 will have an illness that is similar to the flu in its severity, with seven to 10 days of aches and fever, cough and headache, and then recover, some people get very sick with the disease.
“The severity for many people is they get bad pneumonia and have to be put on intubated life support,” Beers said. “There are some cases that cause blood clots. This is one of the big, big side effects. A heart attack could give you a blood clot in the brain and a stroke. We have never seen this virus before, and we are still learning about it.”
Jill Shipp, whose family founded Hospitality Health ER, is vice president for business development. She said she contracted COVID-19 along with her 18-month-old daughter around six weeks ago during an interaction with someone outdoors. She said she recovered in 10 days after launching an aggressive attack against the disease, including taking hydroxychloroquine, anti-inflammatory medications, a vegan diet for five days with juices and sweet potato, green tee and water, a variety of over the counter medications and more. She started feeling better after five days but said she is afraid she might not have done so well had she not been aggressive. Her daughter recovered well, too.
“I see why people suffer through it, but that would have been a mistake for me. I think I would have been a statistic,” she said.