Managing Covid-19 (and those pesky variants)
Complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments are dominating Covid-19 research. The reason is that nutrition and herbal medicine plays an important role in addressing invading pathogens, repairing damage and preventing long term complications.
The best treatment for Covid-19 is prevention. After that, we really don’t know as yet. According to the research, approaching an emerging pathogen that is highly contagious and damaging requires an a multi-tired approach. If you get Covid, it is recommended that interventions are adopted to prevent severe cases and ‘long covid’.
Your Covid Toolbox
No one should expect they are – have a thermometer handy and test your temperature for a few mornings in a row upon waking so you know where you generally sit. Some people run warm and others cooler so don’t determine ‘having a temperature’ by being a specific number. If you’re feeling like something is "off", measure where you are at. Other suggestions are designed to manage symptoms and maintain hygiene.
Food Supply – warming meals such as soups, stock and broth can be frozen or bought in jars to stay on the pantry shelf. Keep the fruit and veggies topped up at all times. If you get stuck, contactless same-day grocery delivery is possible.
Know your baseline temperature – have a thermometer handy and test your temperature for a few mornings in a row upon waking so you know where you generally sit. Some people run warm and others cooler so don’t determine ‘having a temperature’ by being a specific number. If you’re feeling off, measure where you at the same time you did your other measurements.
Managing symptoms – have tissues, throat spray, hand sanitizer etc to manage runny noses, sore throats and prevent any secondary infections. Epsom salts are handy if you end up with aches and pains and adding them to a hot bath may provide some relief.
Essential supplements – Zinc & Vitamin C are great to have on hand in case you get infected. More herbs and nutrients will also help during an infection such as Echinacea, but not all supplements are created equal so getting advice down the track is essential.
I have Covid, what do I do?
If you need medical attention, seek immediately. Extreme symptoms that cause distress alongside a complicated medical history may indicate the need for assistance.
If you suspect a mild to moderate case that can be managed at home, call your Naturopath. Prescriptions can be sent to your home by most practitioners and consults done over Zoom.
Keep track of your body temperature. A high fever is considered anything over 38.50C, but as previously mentioned, a high fever may be lower for some people. While fever is a necessary immune response it is modulated by oxidative stress therefore can be reduced to more comfortable levels. What is a fever: when should you worry about a high temperature? | Queensland Health
Nutrient Dense foods – high antioxidant and nutritious foods will assist to manage symptoms. If your appetite is reduced from loss of smell and taste, make the most of the meals you have. A colourful veggie rich soup, fruit, grains such as buckwheat or quinoa and lentils are great food choices. Where rich nutrient intake is not possible, consider supplementation.
Avoid unhelpful habits – while unwell it is best to avoid alcohol, sugar, processed foods and any other food or drink that does not have nutritional value. Over this time, you may be able to change poor long term lifestyle choices.
Sleep Quality - If you can, try to follow the natural melatonin / adenosine cycle of the body at night time. Aim to get to bed soon after 9pm because you will need more rest than usual. Day time naps aren’t discouraged unless day sleeping is interfering with night time sleep.
Remember your Gut – Avoiding alcohol and sugar while including fruit, vegetables and wholegrains will support microbiome health. Probiotic strains specific for immunity will assist this further.
Post Covid Care
Once the virus has gone (confirmed with RAT) you might not be out of the woods just yet. Viral infections can leave oxidative damage and inflammation behind and is often responsible for residual coughing, shortness of breath, fever, headaches, body pain, tachycardia and fatigue.
Antioxidant foods – high oxidative stress is related to poor Covid outcomes and advancement of the infection. Good news – antioxidant foods are delicious! Pecans, blueberries, raspberries, dark chocolate, colourful veggies, beans, spinach, beetroot, kale plus many more! Concentrate on including these and removing anything without benefit.
Anti-inflammatory diet – The literature on this speaks for itself. Similar to the Mediterranean ways of eating, these food choices support recovery from infection. Choose fish, seafood, fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, turmeric, nuts and seeds, olive oil, green tea.
Continue gut support –high fibre diets are associated with a lowered inflammatory response due to the role it plays in gut support. Continue to avoid sugar and alcohol for as long as possible in post-infectious period. This will also assist to build the immune system back up which can be depleted from a pathogen.
Physical Activity – this will depend on your activity prior to becoming ill. If you are severely fatigued, consider working your way up slowly. Walking, swimming, dancing and yoga are good choices for more fatigued states. Remember adequate protein will maintain lean muscle mass to prevent your hard work being undone.
Supplementation – Lots can be achieved with dietary intake but depending on the severity of symptoms, supplementation may be essential. Vitamin C for example has been used in hospitals for Covid-19 patients with much success, however doses used aren’t possible through dietary intake. Similarly, glutathione production can be supported by taking its precursor NAC which can only be supplemented. Adding certain nutrient can mean better and faster recovery for some.
Stress Management – perceived stress levels may vary from person to person, but following a Covid infection, the affects of physical stress will be high. Besides light exercise, consider getting back outside (with the added bonus of Vitamin D exposure from sun), get in nature, consider mindfulness, meditation and relaxation activities.
For more targeted advice suited to you, including assistance with Nutrition and Dietary choices, please get in touch via my website, via phone or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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