Consult your primary physician with the first onset of COVID-19 symptoms.
If you are experiencing severe, life threatening symptoms call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department for evaluation. Difficulty breathing or severe chest pain is a sign of serious illness and needs medical attention promptly.
The most important reason to contact your physician right away is that studies show early treatment is the KEY to success with COVID. Early treatment is especially critical for people at high-risk.
HIGH-RISK PATIENTS: over age 50, with one or more other medical conditions:
If you suspect COVID or have tested positive for COVID, isolate yourself from other people to minimize spread of the virus. Quarantine time ranges from 7-14 days, depending on the symptoms and your age and medical risks.
Good hygiene reduces the spread of the virus. Remember to wash your hands and body with soap and water. Maintain good disinfecting procedures throughout your room/home. Nasal sprays and mouthwashes containing dilute 1% povidone iodine have been shown to help prevent infection or transmission of COVID-19.
Sunlight and fresh air are key components to good health and fighting COVID. Direct sunshine for 10-20 minutes twice a day is a good source of vitamin D. Studies are clear that low vitamin D is a risk factor for getting COVID and having a worse outcome and higher risk of dying. Vitamin D3 in oil in capsules is better absorbed than tablets and is an excellent source of supplemental vitamin D if you cannot be outside in the sunshine, or your blood level of vitamin D is too low. We will describe in upcoming chapters more about doses and how to check your blood levels of vitamin D and other laboratory studies that are helpful.
Plenty of fluids—preferably water, not beverages with sugars and additives—is key to keep your immune system working well and keeping your body healthier to fight off the virus. Adequate hydration is crucial – the amount will vary by body weight, but a good rule of thumb is that your urine should be the color of pale straw.
If your urine is dark yellow or gold, you are definitely not drinking enough water. If your urine is colorless, you are drinking too much plain water, and this can make you lightheaded or confused from electrolyte imbalance.
Healthy food intake also gives the vital nutrients for your immune system to work well. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good choices, along with healthy protein options like meats and beans. Avoid excess sugar, excess intake of “convenience” foods high in fat, sugars, salt and additives because these foods cause inflammation and weaken the immune system.
Make sure you talk with your physician about increasing your intake of immune-boosting vitamins and minerals: Vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and others as your physician may recommend. (See dosing instructions below)
For Fever: Remember, fever is both a warning of infection that could be serious, and one of our body’s defenses against infection. Not all physicians agree that every fever should be treated, since it may signal a superinfection that needs aggressive antibiotic treatment, not just a fever-reducing medicine.
For high fever, treatment can be with acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and/or ice packs. Ice packs are easy to use and a good option to keep fever down. Just fill a bag of ice and apply to your back/tummy/flank. Acetaminophen has side effects of oxidative stress on the liver. One study has suggested it may increase risk of oxygen desaturation.
One option is to alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen every 4-6 hours. For example, use ibuprofen at 12 PM and then try acetaminophen at 6 PM, if the fever persists. Do not exceed recommended doses on the package.
Vitamins & Supplements
Zinc sulfate, gluconate or citrate. These forms are available in pharmacies, health food stores, and sold online. Zinc sulfate 220 mg provides 50 mg elemental zinc, the recommended anti-viral dose.
Zinc is critical. It helps block the virus from multiplying.
Zinc in the form of zinc picolinate form is not recommended following reports of liver damage and tumors from studies about 20 years ago. Following these reports, the German Commission E that regulates supplements used in medical practice in Germany banned this form of zinc.
Vitamin D3, preferable in oil in capsules for better absorption. Recommended doses for anti-viral benefit vary from 5000 IU or more for 5-30 days
Vitamin C with bioflavonoids for antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects. Dose recommendations from our contributors vary from 1000 mg (1 gram) once or twice a day up to 4 or more times a day.
A word about quercetin. Some physicians are recommending this supplement to reduce viral illnesses because quercetin acts as a zinc ionophore to improve zinc uptake into cells. It is much less potent than HCQ as a zinc transporter, and it does not reach high concentrations in lung cells that HCQ does. Quercetin may help reduce risk of viral illness if you are basically healthy. But it is not potent enough to replace HCQ for treatment of COVID once you have symptoms, and it does not adequately get into lung tissue unless you take massive doses (3-5 grams a day), which cause significant GI side effects such as diarrhea.
Full strength adult aspirin 325 mg daily can be added on day 3 of symptoms to reduce inflammation and risk of blood clots. DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN IF YOU HAVE BEEN ADVISED AGAINST DOING SO BY YOUR DOCTOR.
Once you have tested positive for COVID-19, it is important to know that some people are at high risk for serious symptoms or hospitalization. There is a lot of discussion in the medical literature and national communities about COVID-19 therapies. Pending on your health conditions you may be eligible for (and should seriously consider) Monoclonal antibody treatment!
*** Note – While some practitioners cite studies pointing to benefits of unapproved (and sometimes controversial) medications (hydroxychloroquine & ivermectin), the FDA, NIH do not approve of these treatments. Therefore RTW does not offer or recommend them.
What are Monoclonal Antibodies?
Your body naturally makes antibodies to fight infections. However, most people don’t have antibodies that recognize a new virus like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) are made in a laboratory to fight SARS-CoV-2—and are given as an injection to non-hospitalized high risk patients who do not require oxygen within 10 days of symptom onset. If you already have the virus, mAb treatment gives your immune system the antibodies needed to help protect yourself.
Do I qualify?
Did you know that being overweight puts you at risk of severe COVID illness? First, it’s important to calculate your Body Mass Index, or BMI. If you have a BMI greater than 25, you’re at risk.
The following medical conditions or other factors may place adults and pediatric patients at higher risk for severe COVID-19:
* Monoclonal antibody treatments are not indicated for use on patients who are hospitalized for COVID-19, on oxygen for COVID-19 treatment, or require an increase in baseline oxygen flow rate due to COVID-19