In addition to the social distancing, wearing masks in public, avoiding crowded areas, washing or sanitizing you hands often, not shaking hands, etc., there are other simple measures that are likely to help you during the pandemic:
Taking vitamin D3 and keeping your vitamin D level above 40 (and maybe even above 60) will not only help your bones but also boosts your immune system. Populations with high incidence of vitamin D deficiency have significantly higher mortality rates from Covid-19 than populations with lower incidence of vitamin D deficiency. People with higher vitamin D levels have a significantly lower severity of illness and improved survival. High dose vitamin D therapy early after diagnosis of Covid-19 infection, also significantly reduces severity of illness and the mortality. If you do not know your vitamin D level and do not take any supplements, your vitamin D level is likely suboptimal. If checking your vitamin D level is not feasible at this time, then take 5,000 units (125mcg) of vitamin D3 daily for the next 3 months and then check your level. Keep in mind that our vitamin D level typically goes down every winter as there is less sun exposure. Also, if you don’t take vitamin D supplements, then you are likely to be deficient. Read more about vitamin D benefits.
Turmeric may also be of benefit in reducing the infection severity in Covid-19, should you catch the virus. Turmeric powder which is readily available in the supermarkets has a natural anti-inflammatory effect which not only helps arthritis symptoms but is felt to decrease the severe inflammatory response seen in patients who become sick from Covid-19. The severe inflammatory reaction is the likely reason why people are dying from the infection. There are also Turmeric capsules that you can buy as well if you don’t want to use the powder as a food additive.
Both of these are over the counter, been around for ages, and have no known harmful effects with reasonable use. Just be aware that Turmeric is a mild blood thinner and should be stopped a few days before surgery.
In addition, taking a low dose of zinc 7.5-15mg daily (50-100% of the daily requirements) would likely help your immune system, though overdosing on Zinc may be actually counterproductive. Also, don’t forget vitamin C. Take at least 60mg of vitamin C every day. It may help you fight an infection and there is no harm in taking it.
There are antibody treatments that care available to hospitalized patients that appear to significantly improve outcomes as well. They include monoclonal antibodies (made in the lab) and convalescent antibodies donated from patients who have recovered from Covid-19. Of course, take the vaccine when it is available to you.
Steroids (Decadron) have also been to reduce the severity of the Covid-19 infection by blocking the severe inflammatory reaction that it causes. This is usually given intravenously and can be done in an urgent care or ambulatory setting. As with other therapies, it works the best if given early.
Another medication which was used early on in the pandemic is hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) which likely prevented the severe inflammatory response seen in some people with Covid-19 infection resulting in hospitalization and worse. It was shown to decrease mortality if taken early after exposure. This medicine has been around for decades and is relatively safe at low doses. Once you are very sick from Covid-19 and end up on a ventilator in ICU, the medication appears to be of no benefit, and as they say, you have missed the boat. If you have any cardiac problems, then check with your cardiologist before taking it.
We do not really know the correct prophylactic dose of this medicine for Covid-19 but 200mg twice a day has been used in many studies, though the prophylactic dose for malaria is only about 400-600mg per week. The medicine stays in your system for a couple of months after you stop taking it but of course your blood levels will go down to below ideal levels long before that.
Side effects are dose related with this medicine and therefore unless you weigh over 200 pounds, I would recommend 200mg daily for 10-14 days or longer if you are at risk of repeat exposure (healthcare workers). I would even consider decreasing the dose from 200mg to 100mg daily after 7-10 days if you weigh 150 pounds or less.
Disclosure: The above recommendations are based on my own review of numerous studies, web posts, and recommendations including studies on different populations as it related to vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19 mortality. If you believe that you have been exposed to Covid-19 or have any of the signs or symptoms of the infection, then contact your doctor immediately. Early intervention is the key to optimal outcome.