Practical advice for my patients on COVID-19 because there is treatment that works for this virus if we can treat you early.

Remember that clinics and hospitals are still seeing patients with the flu. The vaccine components matched the circulating flu well this year so make sure that you get the vaccine even now if not done.

If you are developing symptoms of either the flu or COVID-19 (or another circulating virus), I recommend that you wear a mask to protect you and others and see a walk-in doctor for rapid flu and COVID-19 testing to clarify your symptoms. This will guide your treatment. There will be a telemedicine charge (see below) but you can call me to consider azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine treatment if you think you have possible COVID-19 and your symptoms are worsening (cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell, fever/chills/sweats, weakness). If we suspect that you do have COVID-19, you will need treatment prior to receiving test results because it can take 2 to 8 days for those results to come back.  Santa Rosa Alon is getting COVID test results back in 36 hours.  Baptist urgent care clinics may be getting back results back faster since attached to hospital system. Based on a small study, this treatment is 100% effective at lowering viral load to zero in 6 days (unless you are severe enough that you are already heading to ICU). Pharmacies however are VERY restrictive with these medicines unless testing is positive or pending. I can use the doctor hot-line to try to get you tested through Metropolitan Health District at Freeman Coliseum or hopefully closer sites that might be opening soon but my recommendation is to get tested at a walk-in clinic if possible.

I recommend that all my patients take vitamin C 1000 mg 2 x day if they are worried about either any viral symptoms or an exposure to serious viral illness. This is especially important with the COVID-19 virus. Also zinc supplements are beneficial as most of my patients are aware – zinc picolinate 30mg 1 day empty stomach (any brand since there may be a shortage, but preferred brands are pure encapsulation or soloray). Research has shown a benefit to older patients of taking melatonin 5 to 10 mg at night as the high melatonin levels of young people may be partly responsible for protecting them (along with a healthy immune system). Rest, chicken soup or broth advised. Avoid anti-inflammatories such as Motrin, especially to bring down the fever. Do not treat the fever unless either causing dehydration or weakness or over 104 degrees, and treat with tylenol if needed. If confirmed COVID-19 infection, patients are not supposed to take their ace inhibitor blood pressure medicine because the virus enters the cell through receptors related to this medicine. I can provide a substitute.