Dr. Sara Wine, D.O, functional medicine physician and founder of Wine Holistic Health Center in Brighton, MI., helped us answer common questions about COVID-19, using a functional medicine approach. We hope these are helpful as we all do our part to prevent getting sick and flattening the curve.
Q: What can I do to help avoid getting sick?
- Sleep – strengthens your body’s immune response and resets your immune cells to make them stronger.
- Eat healthy – eat antioxidant rich foods like organic dark green veggies and berries. Antioxidants are a tool your body uses to fight off bacteria and viruses.
- Avoid refined sugars and alcohol – sugar stunts your immune system from responding appropriately to infections. As much as I enjoy seeing all of you bake during your quarantine to help relieve stress and have your evening cocktail on social media, I recommend you freeze those goodies and save your bottles of wine for later and let’s all meet in a park somewhere after this all passes and have a community social reacquainting tea party and wine tasting party showcasing your baked goods. For now, stick to fruits, veggies, and root vegetables as your main source of carbs.
- Minimize your response to stress. Easier said than done right now, I know, but the reality is, the more stressed you are the more immunocompromised you are. Now is a great time to learn how to meditate (CALM and Headspace are 2 of my favorite apps). Lean some relaxing yoga positions off of YouTube, take relaxing baths at night, limit watching the news and social media, journal your thoughts, and most importantly ask yourself each day “How can I make this time at home the greatest thing that has ever happened to me?”
- Take an Epsom Salt bath nightly – Magnesium in the Epsom salt relaxes you and is great for your immunity.
- Drink bone broth daily – supports gut health.
- Stay at home – I can’t state this enough, but staying home will save lives, many of you will have Covid-19 and be asymptomatic. By staying home, you are slowing the spread and preventing all of us from having to go to the hospital at once.
- Wash your hands. No really, hand washing when done right for 30 seconds has been known to save more lives in the history of medicine than any prescription.
- Supplements that are known to boost immune support are Vitamins A, C, and D. Zinc, Elderberry, Melatonin, and Curcumin are also known to boost your immune system as well. Doses depend upon your age, health status, and weight and I recommend you work with a physician on your individualized immune support therapy recommendations.
Q: I think I may have the Coronavirus, what should I do?
A: First of all, most of us when we have symptoms will be fine. You may or may not have low grade fevers, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains, flu like symptoms, runny nose and a cough. More life-threatening symptoms would be extreme shortness of breath with any activity, chest pain, blue lips, passing out, abnormal heart rate, severe fevers, and profound cough. The first thing I would tell you is that if you start to get mild or moderate symptoms, STAY HOME. If you attempt to go to the ER or Urgent Care, they will mostly likely turn you away and tell you to do symptomatic care at home. They may or may not test you for Covid-19. Right now, we don’t have enough tests for everyone but that should change soon. However, if you feel like your symptoms are severe, either call your PCP or call ahead to the Emergency room and they will guide you on the next steps.
If you are unable to get in with your primary care doctor, another option is to do a teleurgent care visit to discuss your symptoms. Symptoms usually include fever, cough, and body aches. But there have also been patient reports vomiting, diarrhea, loss of smell, abdominal pain, and headache in patients with active Covid-19 infections. Rest assured most people who get coronavirus will have flu like symptoms and recover just fine at home. I am recommending for our patients who are being monitored at home, to get 8 hours of sleep a night, drink bone broth, attempt to eat healthy foods if possible, and then we also have a supplement protocol that we customize for each patient at the first signs of symptoms.
Q: Do I need approval from a doctor to get tested for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
A: Yes, it is a lab test that requires an order from a physician or your primary healthcare provider.
Q: Where can I get tested for COVID-19?
A: Currently due to the shortage of readily available tests, people are being triaged by most healthcare center to see if they warrant a COVID-19 test or not. Most hospitals are screening patients for Influenza first since there is overlap in symptoms between Influenza and Covid-19 viral infections. If the influenza test is negative, then they may or may not test you for coronavirus/COVID-19 depending on your symptoms. Locations available for testing depend upon which county you live in. The state of Michigan Health Department is recommending that you start with your primary care providers for testing locations or call your local health department in your county to get a list of testing locations. It is also recommended that you call ahead before going to a test site, as there are often long waits, and special instructions and precautions required
Q: How long do I need to wait to get back my test results?
A: That depends upon where you have your test done. They are working on rapid testing to get back immediate results but currently it can take up to 2 weeks to get results back due to the backlog of testing.
Q: What should I do while I wait for my test results?
A: Sleep, hydrate, eat healthy, self-quarantine, and take your immune support vitamins. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen for further instructions
Q: What do I need to do if my COVID-19 test comes back positive?
A: First, rest assured that most of us will recover from the COVID-19 virus. Again, you will have flu like symptoms that can be managed from home. However, if you are immunocompromised, have chronic health conditions, elderly, or have lung conditions, you should work closely with your primary care doctor to watch for worrisome symptoms.
Q: When should I go to the ER?
A: If you have worsening symptoms of shortness of breath, excessively high fever, or a worsening cough.