Top doctors reveal their best Covid-19 practices (beyond the standard protection measures) for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy.
When to get help:
People experiencing trouble breathing, chest pressure, confusion, inability to wake up, or stay awake or bluish lips or face should seek immediate medical attention.
Nix it early:
Take vitamin D daily.
This powerhouse vitamin supercharges white blood cells, helping them fight off infection, explains expert Andrea Gordon, MD, noting that people deficient in vitamin D are more likely to suffer severe Covid complications.
What’s more, a recent study shows that folks with healthy D levels were 44 percent less likely to even contract the virus than their counterparts who were deficient in the vitamin.
While our body manufactures D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, it’s hard to get enough sun in winter (and even harder for dark-skinned women). That’s why Dr. Gordon advises taking 2,000 IU to 4,000 IU of vitamin D-3 daily. Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
Go for a gargle.
You likely have a secret weapon against Covid in your medicine cabinet: mouthwash!
“Gargle with antiseptic mouthwash for 30 seconds twice daily,” advises Michael Roizen, MD, explaining it contains essential oils, such as eucalyptol and thymol, that trigger an uptick in protective nasal secretions. “Since the nose is an entry point for viruses like COVID, these secretions create a barrier that might head off infection at the pass.”
Try the natural sleep aid.
A new study at the renowned Cleveland Clinic suggests that supplementing with melatonin lowers the chance of contracting Covid, reveals Dr. Roizen.
In fact, the hormone slashed the odds of testing positive by 30 percent. Melatonin enhances sleep, key for boosting immunity. “It may also decrease the entry of viruses into cells,” says Dr. Roizen, who advises enjoying melatonin-rich foods like pineapple, tart cherries and pumpkin seeds daily.
Having trouble sleeping? Try 3 mg. of a time-released formula, like Life Extension Melatonin (Buy on Life Extension, $6), 30 minutes before bed.
Reach for vitamin C.
“When I feel a cold or flu coming on, I take vitamin C as soon as possible. I’d do the same if I thought my symptoms were due to Covid,” says Dr. Gordon, who advises supplementing with up to 1,000 mg. of vitamin C three to four times daily to fight the inflammation triggered by the virus.
Also smart: Add 10 mg. to 30 mg. of elemental zinc, a mineral with antiviral effects, in lozenge form daily. “Lozenges deliver zinc directly to the throat, an entry for infection.” sacs to collapse,” explains expert William Lacy, MD. Simply sitting up provides a gravitational assist, letting airways expand.
Clear the lungs.
Breathing deeply “helps prevent the buildup of mucus that increases infection severity,” says Dr. Lacy, suggesting this exercise: Take four to six deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth; cough at the end of the series.
Repeat four times daily. The extra oxygen intake speeds the lungs — and body — along the path to recovery.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine.