Your COVID-19 manual: a doctor’s advice on how to treat at home

A doctor wrote a book called the COVID-19 Survival Manual, hoping to help people treat themselves at home and stay out of the hospital, all while his company is trying to develop a nasal spray to help treat it.

Dr. Steven Quay, President and CEO of Atossa Therapeutics, wants us to understand what he calls three phases of COVID-19. He says the first two phases can usually be treated at home, but the third means a trip to the hospital. The goal is to treat the first two phases at home to prevent your body from slipping into the third phase.

"It looks like most patients, that is 70 to 80%, get an infection in their nose and the back of their throat for one to three days," so he encourages everyone to try to stop the virus in its tracks there.

First, he suggests gargling with warm saltwater. "Be sure that you blow your nose, keep that part, clean. The next phase is the pneumonia, which is the phase that really gets people's attention. It's when you actually start getting a fever, you may not get a fever with the nasal phase, but most people get a fever, most people get a cough, when it's in their lungs. The key thing about any pneumonia is to work with the body's own systems to help fight it. So one of the things the body does is produce mucus to try to entrap the little virus particles and get you to then cough them out. I believe that the fundamental difference between someone who's 70 or 80, getting coronavirus and someone who's 40, is their lung capacity. Once we get to 40, we start losing lung capacity every year, and not being able to cough vigorously, not being able to get it out of your lungs, is really the worst situation when you're having pneumonia, because the virus gets to spend more time in the lungs, so it grows more," explains Dr. Quay.

Many people with coronavirus lose their appetite, but Dr. Quay says it's crucial to drink a lot of water to fight a fever. "You may take 100 ounces a day of fluid, to the point where when you go to the bathroom, your urine is almost completely white, almost no yellow. That's a good sign that will allow the mucus to be as loose as possible, and they could cough it out. Then you should vigorously cough, as well. Now, to further assist that, then you can do things that have been done for hundreds of years, which is simply use gravity, so lying down. Medicine rediscovers itself all of the time, so three months into this COVID infection, they realized that people do better when you lay them on their chest, rather than on their back, because breathing on your back, you have to raise your chest against gravity, as opposed to letting gravity pull it away and open it up. Now if you have trouble breathing, sitting up, of course is very helpful, because it helps get the material out, but if you're coughing and you can't be productive in your cough, that's a signal you need to be more hydrated and to perhaps use gravity to help get it out. You want to get as much out as possible. It's not a pleasant thing, it's not dinner conversation talking about it, but it's absolutely critical, and it can save your life," states Dr. Quay.

Dr. Quay says you can also get help from a loved one to help you cough with the cup of their hand, be sure it's cupped, you don't want a slap from a flat hand. "Pound their back, and that helps loosen that and then they cough it up naturally. All of these things are designed to get the virus out of your body as much as possible. Eventually, it goes to the third phase, which is when it's in your bloodstream, it goes to your heart, your brain your kidneys. You're in very serious deep medical trouble at that point in time. You may be on a mechanical ventilator. So stopping it either in the front end of the face, or in the early lung stage is very important," says Dr. Quay.

Dr. Quay says it takes about a week for our immune systems to kick-in when we're fighting a virus, so we're trying to "buy time" to get to that seven-day window of the immune system taking over and healing, versus needing help to recover through a hospitalization. He has many more tips in his manual.

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