MANILA, Philippines – With the Philippines experiencing an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases, Filipinos have started reporting they are running out of medications used to treat flu symptoms at their local pharmacies.
The increased spread of COVID-19 comes hand in hand with the usual flu season, with Filipinos experiencing symptoms such as cold, cough, body aches and fever.
While it is ideal to obtain medicines on the advice of a doctor and a prescription, what should you do when they are not available in pharmacies?
Fortunately, there are some foods and drinks you may already have in your kitchen that can serve as home remedies to relieve symptoms of COVID-19.
The Department of Health (DOH) has also provided guidance on what COVID-19 patients can eat to boost their health and immunity.
While the following foods and drinks may relieve symptoms of COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms, it is important to note that these are: Not It cures the virus itself.
According to the World Health Organization, there is currently no evidence to support herbal teas, herbal supplements, or probiotics to help prevent or treat COVID-19. The World Health Organization also said that ginger and garlic, while they have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, have not shown evidence of their ability to prevent COVID-19. However, these can be beneficial to the human body in other ways.
Health authorities around the world still recommend vaccination to protect against COVID-19, along with other preventive measures, such as wearing face masks, washing hands, and staying away from others.
The Philippines scored on Tuesday, January 11th 28007 new cases of COVID-19 virus. This brings the total number of infections since the beginning of the epidemic in March 2020 to more than 3 million. This rise is seen as being caused by the highly contagious variant Omicron, which is causing elevations worldwide.
fever or chills
Fever is part of the body’s defense against infection, according to Harvard Health Publishing. The Department of Health recommends drinking plenty of water, fresh fruit juice or light tea.
It can also help to control a fever, taking a slightly warm bath or shower regularly, wearing comfortable clothes and using appropriate blankets while in a well-ventilated room. Harvard Health also suggests placing wet towels on the forehead and wrists to control fever.
Ginger has been cited in some studies to have a pain-relieving effect. However, a 2020 study said that more research is needed to reach a consensus on the dose of ginger for long-term treatment.
A 2018 study found that ginger, in addition to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, may contribute to migraine headaches. Brazilian scientists found that the ginger treatment “promoted pain reduction” for emergency room patients.
Lagondi (the five-leaf type) is approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of cough and asthma. The Ministry of Health advises boiling the leaves, dividing the boiled solution into three parts, and drinking one part every four hours. Beware of unregistered lagundi products.
Some studies have shown that honey helped relieve discomfort in cough patients. A 2014 study published by the US National Institutes of Health on their website found that there is increasing evidence that a single dose of honey may reduce mucus secretion and reduce coughing in children.
Oxford University scientists also said in 2020 that doctors could recommend honey as an alternative to antibiotics. (However, honey should not be given to children under one year of age.)
Melissa Bailey, a clinical dietitian at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, said in 2018 that there is scientific evidence to support consuming soup when a person is sick.
According to Bailey, the sodium in some soup recipes helps relieve sore throats (the same principle behind gargling with warm salt water). The heat from the soup can also help clear nasal congestion, and can relieve pain and sinus pressure.
Lugaw, or rice porridge cooked with ginger and chicken, is a local option and is known as a comfort healing food in the Philippines.
For sore throats, the Department of Health recommends drinking herbal teas such as ginger tea (Prayer), gargling with lukewarm water with salt, or taking lozenges or drops for coughing.
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
Nausea can make eating difficult. The Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine advises against eating or drinking until vomiting is under control. People who suffer from nausea can try eating soft foods, such as toast, salty crackers, dry cereal, and oatmeal.
When someone vomits or has diarrhea, the body loses electrolytes such as sodium, which are essential for the body’s functioning.
Some doctors in the United States have recommended hydration with liquids other than water, such as sports drinks like Gatorade. However, Gatorade contains sugar, so a healthy alternative to replenish electrolytes is coconut water.
Rice coffee made from toasted rice may also aid in digestion. According to a blog by Dr. Penelope Domogo, who served as the Mountain County Health Officer, the drink may relieve discomfort caused by diarrhea, stomach pain, or vomiting.
“Rice coffee has a central energy and thus stabilizes the expanding energy of yin foods and calms gastrointestinal irritations. It absorbs toxins and neutralizes acids in the stomach and intestines,” Domogo writes.
A decaffeinated alternative to your regular cup of joe can be made by roasting the rice until brown or black. Once cool, place the rice in an airtight container. For fermentation, pour the toasted rice into a saucepan or kettle of water (Domogo recommends 1 tablespoon of rice in 1 cup) and boil until the water turns brown or black, depending on the desired concentration.
The Ministry of Health has issued guidelines on how to feed a COVID-19 patient. In general, COVID-19 patients are advised to eat nutritious foods, which would contribute to overall health and immunity.
Here are some of the nutrients the Ministry of Health says COVID-19 patients need, and examples of foods and where to get them:
- Vitamin C – known for its ability to strengthen the immune system
- Examples: guava, lemon, giaban, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables (such as malongai, jabi leaves), celery, mustsa, ambalaya, peppers, shicharo, and broccoli
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene – to maintain vision, promote growth and development, protect body tissues, and maintain healthy mucus in the body
- Examples: Liver, fish liver oils, butter, eggs, dark leafy greens (such as malunggay, kamote, kangkong, pechay, kalabasa, mustasa, sili or pepper, alugbati, gabi, saluyot, ampalaya , and kulitis), rich yellow or deep orange vegetables and fruits (such as carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, papaya, yellow kamut, and yellow corn)
- Vitamin D – regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, facilitating the work of the immune system
- Examples: Fatty fish (such as alum, delles, tilapia, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and fish liver oils), beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, shrimp, soy milk, and cereals fortified with vitamin D.
- Vitamin D can be made in the skin by exposure to sunlight. If sunlight is not available due to isolation, the foods listed above can help.
- B vitamins – help release energy from food
- Examples: liver, eggs, beef, pork, fish, poultry, legumes, whole grains, bran
- Folic acid – helps make and repair DNA
- Examples: legumes, leafy green vegetables, eggs, citrus fruits
- Zinc – helps strengthen the immune system and fight viruses
- Example: milk, beef, liver, seafood, eggs, mushrooms, spinach, sea vegetables, pumpkin seeds, green peas, nuts, legumes, whole grains, wheat, bran
- Protein – helps prevent muscle deterioration, strengthens the immune response to viral infections
- Examples: eggs, fish, chicken, mango, tofu, soy milk, beans, lentils, peas, and nuts
- Fats – especially omega-3 fatty acids, which support immunity and defend against inflammatory disorders
- Examples: avocado, vegetable oil, coconut oil, fatty fish (such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines)
The Department of Health also recommends adding foods that have known anti-inflammatory effects, such as ginger, turmeric, and onions. – Rappler.com