Coronavirus Self-Care Tips

CCC member and retired Respiratory Therapist, our friend Stephanie offers these tips to help fight Coronavirus at home. Stephanie says following this advice will improve your chances of not ending up in the hospital on a ventilator. This applies to the otherwise generally healthy population, not to high-risk persons, so use discretion when advising patients.


  1. High temperatures kill a virus, so let your fever run high. Tylenol, Advil. Motrin, Ibuprofen etc. will bring your fever down; allowing the virus to live longer. Use common sense and don’t let a fever go over 103 or 104. If it gets higher than that take Tylenol, not ibuprofen or Advil to keep it regulated. It helps to keep the house warm and cover up with blankets so the body does not have to work so hard to generate the heat. It usually takes about 3 days of this to break the fever.


  1. The body is going to dehydrate with the elevated temperature so you must rehydrate yourself regularly, whether you like it or not. Gatorade with real sugar, or Pedialyte with real sugar for kids, both work well. Why the sugar? Sugar will give your body back the energy it is using up to create the fever. The electrolytes and fluid you are losing will also be replenished by the Gatorade. If you don’t do this and end up in the hospital they will start an IV and give you D5W (sugar water) and Normal Saline to replenish electrolytes. Gatorade is much cheaper, pain-free, and comes in an assortment of flavors. It also comes in powder form to mix your own.


  1. You must keep your lungs moist. Best done by taking long steamy showers on a regular basis. If you are wheezing or congested, try brushing your teeth with a very minty toothpaste while taking the steamy shower and deep breath through your mouth. The mint aroma from the toothpaste will provide some bronchial dialation and help loosen the phlegm. Force yourself to cough into a wet washcloth pressed firmly over your mouth and nose, which will cause greater pressure in your lungs forcing them to expand more and break loose more of the congestion.


  1. Eat healthy foods regularly. Food helps keep your strength up. Soup is usually soothing to a sore throat; cool, juicy foods can feel good when you’re hot with fever.


  1. Deep-breath on a regular basis, even when it hurts. If you don’t it becomes easy to develop pneumonia. Pursed lip breathing really helps. That’s breathing in deep and slow then exhaling through tight lips, as if you’re blowing out a candle. Blow until you have completely emptied your lungs so you will be able to breathe in an even deeper breath. This helps keep lungs expanded as well as increase your oxygen level.


  1. Once the fever breaks, start moving around to get the body back in shape and blood circulating.


  1. Remember: every medication you take is merely relieving the symptoms, not making you well.


  1. If you’re still dying go to ER! Self-care supports professional care, it doesn’t replace it.