ZüpMed Treatment Recommendations for COVID-19
Our recommendations are based on published data and clinical experience. Please always consult your healthcare professional with any questions, or feel free to set up a consultation with us.
So, you’ve been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection, aka COVID-19. You may feel terrible, or you may have no clinical symptoms whatsoever. No matter what you’ve heard, we’ll be the first to tell you: it’s the most unusual and unpredictable disease any of us has ever dealt with.
No two bouts of COVID are alike, and we typically instruct our patients to treat COVID infection symptomatically. The number one predictor for the outcome is vaccination status.
If you are vaccinated, you will undoubtedly have a milder illness and a lower risk of severe disease or hospitalization. Most will experience a couple of days of mild flu-like or upper respiratory illness and then feel fine as they recover completely.
If you are unvaccinated, older, or have some type of chronic illness, we’ll watch you a little more closely and may get a little more aggressive with treatments. All in all, though, we start with the basics. Our treatment recommendations will differ in varying degrees based on your symptoms.
Here’s What We’ve Found to Be Helpful*
Supportive Care, Available Over the Counter:
- Fever, aches, and pains: Tylenol 650 or 1000 mg every 6 hours to start. If Tylenol by itself isn’t getting the job done, add Advil (ibuprofen) 400-600 mg and alternate the two drugs every 4-6 hours. Avoid Ibuprofen if you have a history of bleeding ulcers or are taking blood thinners.
- Risk of tiny blood clots: One plain aspirin (Bayer or generic, it doesn’t matter) either 75, 81, or 325 mg, take one per day. Lower doses carry a lower bleeding risk.
- Boost your immune system: High-dose Vitamin C + zinc + echinacea, any way you want. We sell the “EZC-Paks” for about $15 each and use them ourselves. Start as soon as you’ve been diagnosed. But remember, too much of any good thing may not be so good. See our blog on vitamins for prevention/treatment of COVID for specific dosing information.
- Cough: Plenty of fluids. Try warm liquids like hot tea and chicken soup. Cough lozenges. Dayquil, Nyquil, Tussin DM, or anything else OTC that has “DM” (dextromethorphan) will work to suppress cough. Guaifenesin is an expectorant, which can loosen congestion in your chest and throat. Do not exceed dose instructions on the package. Water, however, is the best expectorant!
- Rest: When your body says “Sleep!”, do it! Fatigue is a big part of COVID, and your body needs rest to build up the energy to fight it. Plus, the echinacea in our EZC paks works to give you an energy boost.
Only by Prescription
For concerning symptoms not responding to over-the-counter products, we can add the following, only available by prescription:
- Anti-virus medicines: Antiviral medication such as Paxlovid is available for those with symptoms at the highest at risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19. It should be prescribed within 5 days of symptom onset and must be given with caution as it has several drug-drug interactions. This COVID pill has very limited distribution by the manufacturer at this time, and we can’t guarantee that your pharmacy will carry the drug.
- Monocolonal infusions: We are strong supporters of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). The problem is that the MAbs that worked for the Delta variant is largely ineffective against Omicron. Only one of the formulations has been found to have any effect, and that one hasn’t been available in this area. You can check for current information through Methodist at 901.516.2255 or read this article.
- Azithromycin (Z-pak): This isn’t supposed to work against viruses, but it appears to have some anti-inflammatory effect on COVID-19. We can call in a prescription or dispense it here at ZüpMed.
- Cough that keeps you up at night: We’ll call in a prescription for stronger than OTC cough remedies. Use as directed.
- Chest discomfort: We found that inhaled steroids help a lot. You’ll need a nebulizer (about $40), and a prescription for the medicine itself. Important: Let us show you how and where to use the nebulizer to limit exposure to anyone else.
- No-no's: Please do NOT use ivermectin or other remedies from the internet without consulting one of our healthcare providers. Ivermectin has shown no benefit in clinical trials and can have potentially dangerous side effects.
Watch for difficulty breathing. Get one of the portable pulse oximeters (about $30) and monitor your oxygen. If you see the number dropping below 95%, call us. If you truly have difficulty breathing, call 911 or go straight to the emergency room.
If you have diabetes, you’ll need to monitor your blood sugar more frequently. Illness can cause blood sugar to go up or to go down, so you just have to be more careful with your medications. For the first couple of days, checking four or five times a day is probably smart.
Remember: Any COVID test with us includes expert COVID consultation. If you’ve taken a home test and need help, call us at 901.701.7010 to schedule an acute care visit with one of our providers. We’re here to provide COVID care you can trust!
(*Our recommendations are based on published data and clinical experience.)