With years of experience as an Urgent Care doctor one of the most common visits I saw were viral respiratory infections like the common cold. As there is no antibiotic or antiviral medications that have been proven effective without harm I have been frequently asked how can one be treated?
After seeing my colleagues simply dismiss patients or even prescribe antibiotics, often unnecessarily, for such viral conditions I recall hearing many patients say ‘What else can I do?’ instead of supportive therapy (essentially hydration, tylenol, and waiting it out which physicians normally advise). I knew I had to do something different and this was around the time I went back to more advanced medical training in Metabolic and Functional Medicine. It was within this training I learned of a more natural, significantly less harmful, way of targeting not only virus’ but also boosting our own bodies immune system towards eradicating them and preventing future occurrences. Here is my list of helpful tips for adolescents and adults to treat common viral illnesses and get you back on your feet faster, stronger, and healthier:
- Buffered vitamin C: 2 grams per day By buffering The active ingredient, ascorbic acid, it keeps it stable and at an appropriate pH. Three controlled trials found that vitamin C even helped prevent pneumonia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409678/
- Probiotics: without getting into too much detail there is mounting evidence that this is helpful not simply for gastro intestinal health but for upper respiratory infections as well. Probiotics range from child doses to full on heavy doses. A general place to start is at least 10 strains of lacto and bifodo species and around 50 billion CFU count for adults and less around 10 billion for adolescents. They may be Refrigerated, some do not require it through preservation and should be of a reliable brand that is organic, non-GMO, soy, dairy, wheat free. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29345577/
- Vitamin D: 5000 IU’s twice per day This is actually a pre-hormone and vitamin and crucial for the prevention of many chronic illnesses. Vitamin D has antimicrobial properties as well and more and more we are seeing patients that are deficient. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27838350/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3308600/pdf/nihms358420.pdf
- Staying consistently hydrated: Viral infections often lead to fluid loss and dehydration. I always tell my patients ‘hydration is a virus’ is worst enemy’. Hydration allows for your immune system to operate efficiently and flush out the bacteria and toxins from your body. A woman may aim for 2.5 to 3 L per day while a man typically 3 to 3.5 L per day. https://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus/about/treatment.html http://www.nutritionnews.abbott/nutrition-as-medicine/how-hydration-can-help-with-getting-over-the-flu.html
- Most of the over the counter supplements are not standardized to contain the appropriate amounts of active ingredients and may even be filled with cornstarch, dies, fillers and other preservatives which may not only fail to help but can potentially pose a risk. These, available at your typically over the counter drug stores/pharmacies. So how do you know what to get? Pharmaceutical grade high quality supplements can be found online, in smaller health and wellness stores and available to our patients from an online pharmacy as well. Feel free to send us an email or call us and we would be happy to let you know what names we carry, trust, and advise which would be convenient for you. Disclaimer: One should always seek a confirmed diagnosis from a medical professional before hand and supplements are not approved by the FDA for the treatment or prevention of medical conditions.