Most people who get coronavirus aren’t admitted to the hospital. They deal with the illness at home.
Are you equipped to do this? Do you have the things you need for COVID-19 self-care?
Here are six medicine cabinet essentials every household should have during the pandemic.
6 COVID-19 Care Essentials
- Thermometer. Along with coughing and difficulty breathing, fever is one of the most common COVID-19 symptoms. If you have an electronic thermometer, make sure you have extra batteries for it.
Use an oral thermometer. A forehead thermometer can be thrown off by sweat. And ear thermometers can be tricky to use. Always disinfect your thermometer with peroxide or alcohol after every use.
- Electrolyte replenisher. COVID-19 can cause diarrhea. You shouldn’t take anything to alleviate that. It’s one way your body rids itself of infection. But you need to prevent dehydration.
Dr. Stacey Curtis is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. She recommends you have Pedialyte on hand. It replenishes fluids and the electrolytes—minerals such as potassium and sodium—you lose from diarrhea.
Sports drinks such as Gatorade also contain electrolytes, but they have more sugar than Pedialyte.
Pedialyte is available online and from drugstores.
- Pulse oximeter. Dr. Richard Levitan practices emergency medicine in New Hampshire. He and other doctors have found that coronavirus causes a form of oxygen deprivation called “silent hypoxia.”
He explained it this way: “Normally, pneumonia patients develop chest discomfort, pain with breathing, and other breathing problems. But when COVID pneumonia first strikes, patients don’t feel short of breath, even as their oxygen levels fall.
“And by the time they do, they have alarmingly low oxygen levels and moderate-to-severe pneumonia.”
By the time patients notice they have breathing problems it is often too late to save them, he said.
The answer may be a simple, inexpensive device. It’s called a pulse oximeter. It painlessly clips onto the end of your finger. It measures the oxygen in your bloodstream.
Oximeters are available from online retailers and some drugstores.
Normal oxygen saturation readings are 94%-100%. Call your doctor if your numbers start dropping below that range.
- Vaporizer. Researchers have found that dry air is a strong factor in the spread of respiratory viruses.
A 2019 Harvard University study analyzed hundreds of virus risk factors. Dr. Stephanie Taylor and her colleagues tested variables such as whether subjects got the flu shot, washed their hands, got adequate sleep, came in contact with large numbers of people, worked with the public, had adequate vitamin D, were old, and many more.
The research team was surprised to find that air humidity was the biggest factor in determining whether people got sick from respiratory viruses. Subjects breathing drier air were far more likely to get an infection.
Dr. Taylor explains that dry air is a more efficient carrier of viruses. In dry air, viruses travel farther and survive longer.
“Even worse, the dry air also harms our natural immune barriers which protect us from infections,” she said. The mucus membranes in our nose and throat are thinner and less protective in dry conditions.
Dr. Taylor recommends that indoor humidity levels be kept at 40%-60%. She noticed a difference when she increased the humidity in her own home by using a humidifier.
“My husband had at least one serious illness each winter,” she said. “Ever since we started monitoring our indoor relative humidity, he has not been sick.”
Vaporizers are widely available online and at drugstores for less than $20. Place them in the bedroom of a person who is sick to raise the humidity and help stop the coronavirus from spreading to others.
- Elderberry extract. Research shows this fruit extract kills viruses. In a study from Australia’s University of Sydney, scientists used a juice serum derived from elderberries. They applied the serum to cells before they were infected with the flu. They continued applying the serum afterwards.
The researchers were surprised to find that elderberry extract fought the flu at every turn. It stopped the initial infection and inhibited growth of the virus at later stages.
Another study looked at 60 adult patients with respiratory infections. They were given 15 ml of either elderberry or a placebo syrup, four times a day for five days.
The elderberry group felt better four days sooner than the placebo group on average. The study authors concluded that “Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe, and cost-effective treatment.”
Most studies use the syrup (Sambucol) form of elderberry. It is commonly available online. Follow the directions on the label for dosage.
- Probiotics. Bacteria live on your skin, in your mouth, nose, throat, blood, lungs and other organs—but mostly in your gut. Together, these organisms form your microbiome.
Many researchers have analyzed how microbiome composition affects immunity. A 2018 paper in the journal Frontiers in Immunology analyzed 217 microbiome studies. It concluded that people with microbiomes that contain higher numbers of good bacteria and a larger variety of species get fewer infections.
Probiotics add to these beneficial bacteria.
A study published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2019 found that probiotics promote production of three crucial immune system components: antibodies, T cells, and natural killer cells.
A study published in BMJ found that probiotic supplements reduce the chance of getting an upper respiratory virus by 18%. And when people did get infections, probiotics reduced the severity and duration of the illness.
There are many different types of probiotic supplements on the market. You should look for ones that contain at least six different probiotic strains and have at least 10 billion CFUs per serving. This is a measure of potency. They should contain the strains Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum. These are the strains most strongly linked to improved immunity.
Besides yogurt, other food sources of probiotics are sauerkraut, pickles made without vinegar, kefir, kimchi, tempeh, miso, kombucha, and natto.
Protect yourself from the coronavirus by eating a probiotic food or taking a probiotic supplement every day.
One more thing… If you have a fever, you may be tempted to take something to relieve it. But numerous studies show your immune system works better at fighting infections when your temperature is higher.
Dr. Paul Offit is an infectious disease expert. He says that when you use “fever-reducing medicines, as has been shown again and again and again, you decrease the body’s ability to make antibodies.”
Don’t wait until someone in your house gets sick to get these items. Some may be in short supply. And you don’t want to have to go out to stores when you’re sick, possibly spreading the virus. Now is the time to stock your medicine cabinet.
Editor’s Note: Discover the single best supplement for stronger immunity… The fruit extract that helps 93% of people with respiratory viruses get better in just two days… The germ hotspot that most of us forget to sanitize. Find all this and more in Independent Healing’s Coronavirus Pandemic Guide. Go HERE.