Houston doctor urges people with COVID-19 not to replace health care with self-care

HOUSTON – One Harris County woman said she tried to beat the coronavirus at home after she tried to seek the advice of medical professionals but wasn’t getting the answers she needed.

Virginia Parks is feeling fine now, but last month she experienced symptoms in line with a sinus infection. Two tests confirmed she had contracted COVID-19.

“I did ask the urgent care doctor what I should be doing, and she said well, ‘Rest and ride it out,’” Parks said.

Parks said rest wasn’t a good enough answer, not after losing a friend to the virus.

“It was very frustrating that the medical people I was seeking advice from here weren’t really able to tell me a lot,” she said.

Parks said her health care provider was swamped. So Parks decided to try self-care at home after doing science-backed research and seeking advice from friends with a medical background.

“I started taking Mucinex around the clock,” she said. “Literally, every four hours, and I was doing breathing exercises and I was forcing myself to cough up those fluids.”

Parks said she took vitamins D and C and a powerful antioxidant. She said she also used an oximeter to monitor her oxygen levels.

After ten days of self-care, she said she went to the emergency room to help normalize her oxygen levels. She said while she believes boosting her immune system at home helped in her recovery it doesn’t replace health care.

Dr. Joseph Varon, chief medical officer with United Memorial Medical Center, said taking vitamins D and C are great to take daily to help boost immunity. Varon said he wouldn’t suggest using Mucinex or an inhaler unless you suffer from asthma, like Parks. He also said an oximeter is nice to have if you know how to interpret the data.

Varon said the best way to avoid COVID-19 is to follow the advice medical professionals have been preaching for months.

“The best self-care that you can do is just keep your social distance, wear your mask, avoid going to large crowds, wash your hands,” he said.