RN’s around the country are the ones you’ll usually come in contact first when it comes to COVID-19. Here’s their advice on treatment and thing you need to prepare for the virus.
Things you should actually buy ahead of time:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) in 325 mg tablets
- Mucinex, Robitussin or DayQuil/NyQuil – whatever your cough medicine of choice is (just double-check the label and make sure you’re not doubling up on acetaminophen – some brands like DayQuil have it included and you don’t want that). You’ll want a cough medicine with both a cough suppressant and an expectorant (most cough medicines have both).
- Vicks VapoRub for your chest is also a great suggestion.
If you don’t have a humidifier, it may be a nice thing to invest in (you can also just turn on the shower with hot water and sit in the bathroom breathing in the steam). It’s also a good time to stock up on or make a big batch of your favorite soup to freeze and have on hand. And whatever your favorite clear fluids are to drink (Sprite, juice, Gatorade- whatever floats your boat), stock your pantry with those. Maybe a nice soothing tea, too.
If you have a history of asthma and have a prescription inhaler, make sure the one you have has enough in it, and isn’t expired – refill it/get a new one if it is.
You basically just want to prepare as though you know you’re going to get a nasty respiratory bug, like bronchitis or really bad cold. You just have to have the foresight to know it’s coming.
For symptom management, use the medications mentioned above. For a fever over 101* F/ 38.3* C, Tylenol 650mg every 3-4 hours. Please take caution if you have kidney issues (no ibuprofen or other NSAIDs), or liver issues (no acetaminophen). When in doubt, call your Primary Care Physician! Use both cough suppressants and expectorants.
Hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE! And rest lots.
If you are sick, limit your contact with others. You should NOT be leaving your house except to go to the doctor, and if you do, wear a mask (a regular mask is fine, N95 is better but hard to find). You DO NOT NEED TO GO TO THE ER unless you are having trouble breathing, or your fever is very high (over 103.5* F/39 C) and unmanaged with meds. We don’t want to clog the ERs unless you’re actually in distress. The hospital beds will be used for people who actively need oxygen/breathing treatments/IV fluids.
Luckily, 90% of healthy adult cases thus far have been managed at home with basic rest/hydration/over-the-counter meds.
If you have a pre-existing lung condition (COPD, emphysema, lung cancer) or are on immunosuppressants, now is a great time to talk to your PCP or specialist about what they would like you to do if you get sick. They might have plans to get you admitted and bypass the ER entirely.
One major relief to parents is that kids do VERY well with coronavirus- they usually bounce back in a few days. No one under 18 has died, and almost no kids have required hospitalization (unless they have a lung disease, like CF). Just use pediatric dosing of the same meds.
Stay calm, and prepare rationally. Good luck, wash your hands, and take care of yourselves!