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Supplements for COVID-19?

By Nina Chhabra on March 9, 2020

**UPDATE AS OF 4/27/2020** We previously mentioned below that it may be better to avoid NSAIDS such as ibuprofen for relief of COVID-19 related symptoms, however, the FDA issued a statement on 3/19/2020 that they are "NOT aware of scientific evidence connecting the use of NSAIDs...with worsening COVID-19 symptoms."**

 

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about what supplements can help to boost immunity, especially with the virus known as COVID-19 (i.e., novel coronavirus).

I cannot stress enough that first and foremost, hand hygiene is the most important thing you can be doing right now, and do it often.  Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, or for as long as it takes you to sing “happy birthday to you” twice. The other thing you should be mindful of is to avoid contact with your face and your eyes.

The CDC is currently only recommending to wear a face mask if you feel sick- you do not need to wear one if you are otherwise feeling well. However, if you work in healthcare, check with your institution. Some institutions are recommending everyone to wear a mask in all inpatient and ambulatory areas.

Social distancing is also very real- if you can work from home, you should. Many cities are currently banning gatherings of 50 or more people and shutting down schools, restaurants, and bars.  Stay home whenever possible during this time. This will help prevent the spread of the virus. Remember, it can take up to two weeks for someone to show signs and symptoms. It is also very important to stay home if you are feeling sick.

Some supplements that you can take that can help boost immunity include:

 

Although there are no studies that show the effects of using ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDS for managing coronavirus, anecdotal reports show that these agents may worsen symptoms for patients, and may result in a more severe illness or prolonged illness. It is recommended to use acetaminophen for muscle aches and fevers for patients who may are diagnosed with COVID-19, or are concerned they may be infected with it.

Currently, there is not an appropriately robust understanding related to the effect of these supplements to warrant broad use at this time. Although these supplements have some evidence to suggest boosted immunity with their use, we do not have solid data to indicate they can reduce the risks associated with COVID-19. Please also note these doses are for adult patients. We do not have enough literature to support this use in the pediatric population.

As always, it is best to check with your health care provider or pharmacist before starting a new supplement to avoid any possible drug- drug interactions, or drug-herbal interactions.

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Please note the above uses have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consumers should consult with their health care provider before taking any new medication or dietary supplement — especially pregnant or nursing mothers, children under 18, and individuals with a known medical condition.

Nina Chhabra earned her doctorate in pharmacy from St. John's University in New York. Prior to her becoming a Natural Medicines Specialist, she worked in a community pharmacy and as an inpatient pharmacist, focusing on diabetes and heart failure. She has served on the New York State Council of Health-system Pharmacists and has given continuing education lectures regarding diabetes treatment to her peers.