SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — For many people, a COVID-19 diagnosis means several weeks of isolation at home, waiting for symptoms to pass as the body fights off the disease. But doctors and pharmacists now have many ways people can alleviate symptoms to make their recovery more comfortable.
That's especially true when it comes to the four most common symptoms of COVID-19: fever, aches, cough, and shortness of breath.
They warn, however, that you should consult with your doctor before starting any form of treatment.
The CDC says the best treatment for fever or body aches is still an over-the-counter drug like acetaminophen.
As for a cough, there is a combination of OTC medicines and homeopathic treatments.
"We can use the time-tested remedies," says Merissa Corey, the pharmacy supervisor for Sharp Healthcare. "A humidifier or a vaporizer works great to help soothe and control a cough."
Corey also says to look for specific active ingredients when choosing an over the counter treatment like cough syrup or throat lozenges. Guaifenesin is an expectorant, which can help you cough out built-up mucus or fluid. Dextromethorphan works as a cough suppressant for a dry cough.
If you experience shortness of breath, experts say it can help to lay face down in the prone position.
"That can help the mechanics of the lung and gas exchange," says Dr. Atul Malhotra, UC San Diego's research chief of pulmonary critical care.
He put out a study showing that laying in the prone position has helped COVID-19 patients in a hospital setting. The study says it can help increase ventilation and relieve stress on the lungs.
Malhotra believes it may work at home as well.
"But," he warns, "it needs to be done cautiously."
Malhotra says you should only practice laying in a prone if your doctor advises it. Malhotra also says something as simple as blowing a fan over your face can trigger Trigeminal reflexes in your body to help relax and regulate breathing.
Corey also says movement can help open up the lungs and make breathing easier. She suggests short walks around the house. She also says to practice deep breathing exercises.
"Taking deep breaths, to help clear anything in the lungs, that can help facilitate a better recovery, and oftentimes prevent or reduce the need for advanced treatments," says Corey.
Meanwhile, a November study from North Carolina State found that green tea, dark chocolate, and certain types of grapes can help fight the disease by blocking certain enzymes in SARS-COV-2. Those enzymes, called the Main Protease, are what help COVID-19 replicate and grow in your body.
The study says chemicals in those foods prevent the enzyme from functioning.
Doctors also say rest and sleep are an essential part of COVID-19 recovery. Malhotra says sleep deprivation increases the risk of pneumonia and makes it harder for your immune system to fight off disease.
Corey says all of this can combine with other home-based comforts to make people feel better.
"It's time to get that favorite book, make some phone calls to friends, let everyone know you're okay," she says. "And stay positive."
Again, experts say to talk with your doctor first before trying any home remedy.
This article was written by Jared Aarons for KGTV.