Update to COVID-19 Prevention & Treatment
Update to COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment
There is no doubt that this pandemic is upon us and has peaked in some areas of the country and is soon to peak in Tennessee. It is likely that most of us will be infected, which means we need to be prepared and take steps now to strengthen our immunity.
I have spent the last few weeks reading articles, listening to webinars and learning all I can about COVID-19, so I can share with you what the research shows and what is working to treat patients.
We can learn from countries who have been experiencing this since the fall of 2019 as well as from information we have gathered from past outbreaks caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), both of which are coronaviruses.
Social distancing is important at this time, so we don’t all contract the virus at once causing an overwhelming demand on the system. Hopefully, it can give us more time to prepare (obtain more personal protective equipment, ventilators and medications), as I don’t believe we are prepared. Hospital staff are already using the same mask repeatedly for days or weeks at a time, and some are left without any personal protective equipment.
When we first heard of the pandemic, we were made to believe that there was no cure; but after reading all the research, I believe that our treatment of choice for most people is a combination of antibiotics that show antiviral and/or anti-inflammatory properties—hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.
The doctors in China and South Korea used these two medications with success in combination with other therapies1. A study from France which evaluated 20 patients showed that it eradicated the virus from all 20 patients in 6 days2. One doctor in the US self-reported his success rate in treating 500 patients, in which no treated patients needed hospitalization3.
And while all of this seems very encouraging, last week we were told by some states’ pharmacy or medical boards that we could not prescribe these medicines. Stipulations were placed because these medicines were not “FDA-approved to treat COVID-19”—despite the fact that as physicians, we very commonly use non-FDA approved medications to treat a variety of illnesses. EVERY DAY. However, in the last 2 days, thankfully, the FDA has given temporary approval for the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, so I am hoping these stipulations will be removed.
The other obstacle we face is that there is a shortage of the hydroxychloroquine. I have been unable to get it for the last 2 weeks for any of my patients. We have been told that the pharmaceutical companies are increasing production, so hopefully this will not be a problem in a couple weeks.
In my patients, if we cannot access the first-choice medicines, and they meet the criteria for treatment, I am considering Nitazoxanide (Alinia). Alinia is a medication I use frequently in the treatment of parasites and chronic lyme disease. It also has strong antiviral properties and has been shown effective against COVID-19 in vitro4 as well as against another coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus5.
In the event that we cannot get the medicines, we need to have options for moving through this pandemic, starting with prevention. The two goals of prevention are to:
- Keep your immune system strong to fight the virus.
- Keep your body alkaline.
These two goals actually go together because an alkaline environment allows for a strong immune system. Eating a diet full of colorful vegetables (7-10 servings per day) and including at least 2-3 servings of dark leafy greens like collards, bok choy, kale and dandelion is of utmost importance. I also recommend having a bowl of soup daily, preferably with a lot of vegetables, and frequently seasoned with miso paste. Avoiding dairy, alcohol, sugar and excess meat can help keep acidity at a minimum. Adding in fermented foods keeps the intestinal system strong which means a strong immune system.
Turning Wi-Fi off at home when you are not using it, and especially at nighttime, can be helpful. In addition to getting good quality sleep and controlling stress as much as possible with activities such as meditation, walking outside or doing joyful hobbies at home will be supportive to your immune system.
During the prevention stage:
• Vitamin C 1000 mg twice daily
• Immunoberry syrup (Designs for Health) 1 dropper 2 times per day
• Zinc glycinate 20-40 mg daily
• Thymosin alpha-1 peptide 1,9,10 inject once per day or once every other day
• HOCL spray (briotechusa.com)—spray in the face every 2-3 hours when you’re at home or if you must go outside. You can also diffuse it in your home to disinfect as well as spray it on surfaces (bags, counters). If you can find a propolis diffuser with propolis oil, this is helpful too to disinfect your home, but they have been difficult to find (kiscience.com).
• Keep Vitamin D levels around 60.
If you have been infected or if you are showing symptoms (high fever, body and muscle aches (myalgias), nasal congestion, severe fatigue), you have 5 days to treat it before it goes deeper into the lungs (dry cough and shortness of breath).
In those initial 5 days, the infection can be in the nose and throat/tonsil area. During this time, you want to try to eradicate or lessen the “load” in these areas.
- Keep your diet very simple—soups such as miso and organic bone broth as well as millet and other gluten-free grains, sea vegetables and cooked land vegetables. Avoid raw foods at this time except good quality vegetable juice gently warmed. This juice can help keep potassium levels optimal.
- Small pieces of umeboshi plums can be made into a tea by pouring hot water over the plum in a mug. This can be sipped throughout the illness to help fight the infection and improve fatigue and nausea.
If you are >60 years old, have a weakened immune system and/or have a chronic medical condition like autoimmune diseases, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, mold toxicity, chronic lyme disease, cancer or are on medications that suppress your immune system, you should begin pharmaceutical treatment immediately. If you have any shortness of breath, you should begin pharmaceutical treatment immediately. You may add any of the below herbal and vitamin treatments as well (especially the Vitamin C and melatonin).
If you are young and otherwise healthy and are not having shortness of breath, you can do the following supportive therapy.
• Propolis6 spray (kiscience.com, beekeepersnaturals.com, gaia herbs NOTE: propolis should not be taken if you have a bee or honey allergy) sprayed in the mouth or tonsils every 1-2 hours, alternating with HOCL spray (Briotech.com)
• Brazilian Green Propolis6 (kiscience.com) (Propolis should not be taken if you have a bee or honey allergy)
• Zinc glycinate or sulfate 220 mg daily for 5 days
• Vitamin C (Designs for Health) taken every hour if your body can tolerate, to decrease inflammation/cytokine storm7
• Biocidin TS Throat spray (sommerwhitemd.com) using 2 sprays in the back of the throat every 3-4 hours
• Olive leaf extract 3-4 times per day
• Melatonin taken during the day and evening to decrease inflammation/cytokine storm8
• Andrographis (kiscience.com, Metagenics) taken 2-3 times per day
• Thymosin alpha-1 peptide injection to improve immune function1,9 ,10
• If you have a fever, it is best to try to bring it down naturally with cool rags applied to the back of your neck, axilla or groin. You can also apply tofu or cabbage to the back of your neck or top of your head or forehead. Try to avoid taking NSAIDS (ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen) as they may worsen lung involvement.
• If you are taking a blood pressure medication known as an ACE inhibitor (lisinopril, enalapril), talk to your doctor about switching, as they may worsen the lung involvement. Selenium may have the same effect, so avoid that in supplements if possible.
Some supplements are difficult to find at this time, so for some I’ve listed multiple sources to assist. Companies are restocking, so keep checking and explore multiple sites until you find what you need.
*** This article is to inform and educate and is not meant to treat. If you are sick, are treating a child or have chronic medical conditions, you should seek the care of your physician for specific recommendations and dosing instructions.
If you would like personalized recommendations for supporting your system during this time, you can also schedule a virtual visit with Sommer White, MD by calling 615-891-7500.