Winter is coming. Last week, NPR reported there will be a spike in Covid cases this winter, and The New York Times published tips on holiday planning to mitigate Covid risk without missing out on the fun. Even with thorough preventive measures, you or a loved one may still get Covid or a common cold. When that happens, here’s a four-step protocol that can reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. Please note: these steps are not in place of medical care.
Step 1: Use nasal rinses:
Colds and Covid viruses typically settle in the cells that line the nose, sinuses, and throat. Nasal rinses target that region and are proven to reduce congestion and viral load. A January 2022 New York Times article, Do Neti Pots Really Work?, quoted Dr. Zara Patel, an associate professor of otolaryngology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, who states “it does work and it does help.” A Czech Republic 2008 study, published by Archives of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, showed symptoms from colds and flu are reduced more quickly by the use of nasal rinses.
You can make a nasal rinse at home using a NeilMed squeeze bottle. For best results, start at the earliest onset of symptoms and rinse twice daily while symptoms last.
Dr. Robert Bocian, an adjunct clinical associate professor at Stanford University Medicine, has taken nasal rinses one step further. He co-founded Allermi SuperSpray, a personalized, combination nasal spray that can contain decongestant, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, and anti-discharge component medications––all in a single spray from a single bottle. Allermi’s package includes both a SuperSpray formulation and an aerosolized saline nasal spray canister for nasal rinsing. Allermi is targeted at allergies and works well against the rhinitic symptoms of viral upper-respiratory infections from Covid or the common cold.
Step 2: Manage symptoms:
Manage symptoms with over-the-counter medications.
- Decongestant spray to reduce congestion
- Tylenol (acetaminophen) for aches and pains
Step 3: Follow your grandparents’ advice:
Dr. Sam Sunshine* says that “time-tested home remedies have been shown to be quite effective.” He recommends the following:
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink water augmented with electrolytes, hot tea, and chicken broth to stay hydrated
- Gargle with Listerine or warm salt water three times a day during the first few days of infection
- Take Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc lozenges, Omega-3, and echinacea, as directed. (See 2018 University of Pavia study on supplement efficacy.)
- Take hot showers to allow the steam to loosen congestion
- Sleep propped up with a few extra pillows to help drain sinuses
Step 4: Keep a germ-free environment:
Lastly, there are simple actions that reduce the presence of the virus in your environment.
- Wash hair, face, and hands frequently
- Change pillowcases and sheets every other day
- Ventilate rooms and keep windows open, if possible
Remember, with Covid, people can start to recover and then relapse. Take it easy and don’t push yourself too hard, too early.
Here’s to a safe and healthy holiday season.
The information provided is to be used for educational purposes only. It shouldn’t be used as a substitute for seeking medical care.
Throughout the “Sandwich Years” section of this blog, we will provide you support for launching children into adulthood while caring for aging parents.
* Dr. Sunshine is related to Big Retired Life founder, Diana Sunshine.
Josie has covid right now so this is very timely! Thank you!