How I Treated My Possible Coronavirus

Home remedies, level 1

  • *Hot tea — especially peppermint or Throat Coat® with a small spoonful of honey
  • *Honey itself can soothe a sore throat and ease a cough.
  • Ibuprofen (Advil)
  • *Warm soup
  • *Warm oatmeal for breakfast
  • Ricola cough drops — I kept one in my mouth every time I left the house. They keep my mouth moist and minimize coughing in public.

Home remedies, level 2

  • Elderberry syrup or lozenges — Elderberry is considered an immune-boosting supplement. Not sure it made any difference in this case, and this week, I saw a caution that it could increase the immune response to COVID-19, which might be exactly what you don’t want if the condition worsens (more on this below).
  • *Neti pot
  • Saltwater gargle
  • *Club soda — This is a gem! Club soda contains sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). It’s shockingly soothing for a sore throat. I kept a little glass on my nightstand so I could sip at will.
  • Vicks® VapoRub™ on my chest
  • *Hot water bottle to soothe and loosen phlegm
  • *Warm showers — The kind where you bathe in the water
  • *Very hot showers — Not in the shower! Standing or sitting outside the shower while the bathroom fills with steam
  • *Breathing steam — Fill a medium bowl halfway with boiling water (carefully!). Place it on a table where you can sit and lean over it. Drape a hand towel over your head and the bowl. Inhale the steam for about 5 minutes. Repeat 3–4 times per day with fresh water. Change the towel every day.

Facebook weighs in

  • Thieves oil — an essential oil blend that someone suggested rubbing on the bottom of my feet. I made my own copycat blend, but it scared my dog away (too cinnamon-y for him!) and didn’t seem to generate any noticeable change.
  • An immune tonic designed by someone’s brother (“A chemist!”) consisting of garlic, honey, lemon and ginger, guaranteed to dispel germs. I doubt it hurt, but it didn’t kick the bug.
  • *Imitation “magic mouthwash” — Magic mouthwash is a gargle for mouth pain consisting of 1 tsp liquid Benadryl and 1 tsp liquid Maalox. The prescription version includes lidocaine. I didn’t have access to lidocaine, so instead I swirled it around, gargled at the back of my mouth and spit, followed by a nice spritz of Chloraseptic® spray.
  • *Allergy meds — Someone PM’d me that she’d had some similar symptoms and eventually learned it was allergies. I don’t think that was the case here, but I tried Allegra a night or two, and Benadryl at bedtime several nights. The Benadryl did seem to relieve the “I am choking on my own throat” sensation and make it easier to sleep.

The hard stuff: Cold meds and prescriptions

  • *Advil and Tylenol — This combination together (2 ibuprofen and 1 acetaminophen) was very helpful with pain. Remember to be careful with Tylenol and never exceed the dosage limits to avoid liver damage.
  • Mucinex — Helped a little, but at some point it started to feel like it was making phlegm runny but not getting it up and out. I discontinued when the choking sensation increased because my mucus was so thin and clingy.
  • Delsym cough syrup — Slight help during the day as the symptoms waned.
  • Nyquil — Didn’t eliminate the cough; made me feel groggy and angry as I roamed the house coughing all night.
  • Tylenol 3 — In week one, my doctor said she couldn’t give me something like antibiotics because my issue was viral (antibiotics only kill bacteria). But she offered some pain medication for my very sore throat. This combo of acetaminophen and codeine helped relieve the throat pain when I took it at night so I could sleep, but after a couple tries it left with me with a hangover-esque headache.
  • Baclofen — I have a prescription muscle relaxant to “reset” when chronic muscle tension cripples me with pain. I took it one night at 1 a.m. when I coughed so much that I hiccuped violently, which then made me cough. It helped.
  • Prednisolone — My doctor prescribed a round of oral steroids to support my lungs. *EDIT 3/21/20* I learned today that the CDC recommends NOT having steroids with COVID-19 because it can prolong viral replication.
  • *Benzonatate (Tessalon Perles) — Some people say this prescription, non-narcotic cough med works wonders. I don’t know that it helped me until the cough was significantly diminished. In the later stages, it was helpful at minimizing cough so I could sleep. I saw online that it works even better with Mucinex (guaifenesin), which did help as my symptoms went down.
  • *Codeine cough syrup — My doctor finally prescribed cough syrup. I only needed it for a few nights. When I finally got a deep sleep, it was thanks to a dose of cough syrup around 7 p.m. and another at 11 p.m. with 1/2 a Benadryl tablet.
  • Fisherman’s Friend lozenges — These aren’t prescription but boom! They are powerful. They contain a menthol aroma strong enough to drive the dog away from my upper body.
  • *Breathe Easy® tea — Seems to help. Once or twice a day with honey.

The recovery period

  • Peppermint tea with honey — No caffeine, refreshing, hydrating.
  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables — I’m focusing on eating healthy (and down 8 pounds since this sickness hit me, largely due to lack of appetite or inability to eat for two weeks).
  • *Sleep — As much as I can get. I can sleep on my side now, still propped up by a couple pillows.
  • Ibuprofen — As needed.
  • Zinc lozenges — At least once a day, I pop a zinc lozenge after a meal (after eating = reduce stomach upset). Research shows zinc could help inhibit the replication of coronaviruses, although there’s no sure thing with this version of the virus.
  • Vitamin D — Mostly from the sun. I’m going for a walk daily whenever I can manage it, ideally in the sun. Or at least spending a few minutes outside.
  • Neti pot to clean out sinuses and help protect my sinuses and ears from infection
  • Steam when my throat begins to feel painful
  • Melatonin — 1 gram
  • Arsenicum album 6x — 4 tablets of this homeopathic medicine, dissolved under the tongue. This remedy may be prescribed for thick mucus, coughs, and respiratory problems that are worse at night.
  • Goldenseal tincture Goldenseal is considered a sort of natural antibiotic to fight infection, including in lung conditions.



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