I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about “What can I take for coronavirus?” and I’ve been seeing a lot of information circulating on the internet on this topic. In case you are wondering, I want to take a moment to share my thoughts…
Foremost, we do NOT have the results of any scientific trials on natural products showing what works and doesn’t work for COVID-19 at this time. This is a new/novel virus. Viruses are pieces of changing genetic information, and what may be effective against one virus will not be effective against other viruses. Just because something has anti-viral action against herpes or flu, it does not mean that it will have anti-viral action against COVID-19. Please exercise caution when companies are trying to sell you natural products with claims that they fight COVID-19. Such claims are NOT validated at this time.
So, what can you do? True to naturopathic principles, I believe prevention is the best medicine.
First, the most important measure to take is to follow good public health policy and stay informed.
- If it has been awhile, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on hand washing information. It’s always good to review– https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough with a tissue or your elbow. Throw the tissue away and wash your hands at least 20 seconds.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This includes your cell phone. Did you know that not all disinfectants have been approved for COVID-19? You can find more information here-https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.htm. A link for how to clean your iPhone can be found here– https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207123.
- If you are in a high-risk group, have been potentially exposed, or if you are having symptoms, please stay home and limit your exposure as much as possible.
- Practice social distancing. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
- Information on the virus is changing every day. The more you know accurate and up-to-date information, the better off you will be.
- Try to get your information from credible sources, such as from a health department, the CDC, or an article published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. If you read something on social media, question it and make sure the claims can be backed up by a reliable source.
Second, take measures to care for your health and your immune system. This always begins with a foundation of good sleep, a healthy diet, managing your stress, and avoiding smoking.
- Prioritize your sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- This is a particularly important time to focus on a well-balanced diet, stay hydrated and avoid excess amounts of refined sugars, alcohol and refined foods. Avoid foods that you know make you feel unwell. This is an important time to have healthy food stocked in your freezer and pantry—think frozen vegetables, canned diced tomatoes, extra onions and garlic, beans, broths, and whole grains.
- Situations like this one can cause a lot of disruption in people’s lives and add to stress you may be experiencing. Prioritize down-time for yourself to relax and have some light-hearted fun. If you have seen a practitioner for stress or anxiety in the past, this is a great time to put what you learned with that professional into practice. Don’t feel shy to reach out for help if this situation is getting to you.
- We know that people who smoke have a worse outcome with COVID-19. If you or a loved one are looking for a good reason to quit, COVID-19 is a great reason. If you need smoking cessation support, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Third, please be very careful using over-the-counter supplements or medicines.
More is not always better. While zinc can help support the immune system, you can also overdose on it. Be aware that just because something is natural that it is not automatically safe to use. Several supplements can interact with medications and pre-existing health conditions, so check with a qualified professional before adding new supplements on your own. Make sure they are right for you.
Fourth, it may be hard to tell the difference between COVID-19 and allergies, because not all cases of COVID present with a fever.
If you suffer with allergies, now is the time to take care of your respiratory health. If your doctor has prescribed medicine for your allergies, use it. Naturopathic care also offers several options for people to support respiratory health as well.
Finally, you may consider trying some immune support supplements in addition to,
NOT in place of public health and good lifestyle practices. These immune supplements can interact with several medications, pre-existing health conditions (such as autoimmune disease), and potentially may have adverse effects, especially at high doses. I am going to make three recommendations that you can discuss with your healthcare provider. These recommendations do NOT have any evidence of preventing COVID-19.
- Vitamin C—1000 mg daily (check with a pharmacist/healthcare provider if you are on medication)
- Vitamin D3—2000 IU with breakfast
- Zinc—10-15 mg daily with food (check with a pharmacist/healthcare provider if you are on medication)
For my clients, I’m happy to make additional recommendations via a consult so I can make sure what I am recommending is safe, appropriate, and individualized for you.
Katrina Bogdon, ND, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arkansas. She completed her naturopathic medical education at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR in 2007. She is licensed in the state of Washington as a naturopathic physician. Katrina completed a residency at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in 2009 and worked there until 2013. In February 2013, she began working full time in private practice at her clinic Our Healing Roots, LLC. In 2015, she moved her clinic to Springfield, MO at 2B Well.