ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The COVID shutdown left many Americans scrambling to get their much-needed medications, medical devices, and equipment. So, what should you stock up on during this crisis?
Your medicine cabinet might be full, but is it full of the right stuff? Experts say there are some meds and devices that you should have … especially during the coronavirus pandemic. The first: a thermometer. It’s the tried-and-true way to check for a fever, which is a common symptom of Covid-19. Make sure you have extra batteries for it. Have ibuprofen or acetaminophen on hand to help reduce a fever and relieve pain. Also, you may want to purchase a pulse oximeter which measures oxygen levels in your blood.
“Monitoring oxygen is important in the high-risk populations and in anybody who we know has COVID,” shares Richard Levitan, MD, an emergency physician.
It may detect early signs of pneumonia, which is particularly important in COVID cases.
“If we can detect the pneumonia earlier, then many, many more patients can avoid ventilators,” continued Dr. Levitan.
COVID can also give you a sore throat, so keep lozenges in your cabinet. The virus also causes nausea and diarrhea in some, but experts don’t recommend taking any medicines for these symptoms, but an electrolyte replenisher like Pedialyte might help reduce the risk of dehydration. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a first-aid kit around in case of minor injuries. Helping you stock your medicine cabinet during COVID.
Experts say you should also have at least a 30-day supply of prescription medicines, if you take any. You can buy a pulse oximeter for 30 to 60 dollars at most pharmacies or via online retailers.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
STOCKING YOUR MEDICINE CABINET DURING COVID
BACKGROUND: Both the flu and COVID-19 are contagious respiratory illnesses; however, they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and the flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Some of the symptoms of both viruses are similar and therefore may be hard to tell the difference between based on symptoms alone. Testing may be needed to confirm a diagnosis. Most people who contract these viruses won’t require medical help or hospitalization. They can cope at home in the same way people practice self-care for the common cold or even seasonal allergies.
WHAT TO HAVE ON HAND: The first indicator of any illness is often fever, so it’s important to keep a modern digital thermometer of any type handy. Acetaminophen is important to have as it lowers a fever without damping down the immune system’s inflammatory response to fight off the virus. Antihistamines, like Benadryl, can help dry up excessive mucus caused by many illnesses. If the drowsiness bothers you, you can choose a non-drowsy antihistamine like Claritin instead. Decongestants like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine reduce swelling inside the nasal passages to allow air to pass through. It’s also important to stock your cabinet with a multi-symptom cough, cold and flu medicine. These can come in liquid form, for easy swallowing with a sore throat, or liquid-filled gelcaps. Medicine like Mucinex contains guaifenesin, which is a drug that thins mucus and makes it easier to cough up and out. Many people become dehydrated during illnesses which makes it harder for the immune system to work. Keep a pediatric electrolyte replacement product like Pedialyte on hand for both children and adults. These drinks help a person rehydrate and rebalance vital electrolytes. Finally, a pulse oximeter is a handheld device that estimates the percentage of hemoglobin in your blood saturated with oxygen. Readings at or below 92% indicate hypoxemia, which means the blood is not carrying enough oxygen to all your organs and tissues.
ANTIBODY BLEND SHOWS PROMISING TREATMENT: A mixture of two human antibodies against the new coronavirus shows promise in animal tests for preventing and treating COVID-19. Christos Kyratsous at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown, New York, and his colleagues made a cocktail of two neutralizing antibodies that bind SARS-CoV-2. Neutralizing antibodies are immune molecules that can attach to viruses and disable them. The researchers found that compared to animals that took a placebo, monkeys that received the antibody combination were less likely to develop pneumonia and, if they did, had less lung damage. This was true in monkeys that took the antibodies either before or after receiving a dose of the virus. These findings have not yet been peer reviewed.
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