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Smart Ways to Speed Your COVID-19 Recovery Before Flu Season

Cases are expected to rise again as cold weather settles in.


Though the pandemic may appear to be over, experts say we’re not quite there yet. Many are predicting another surge in cases this fall and winter as we all spend more time indoors with family and friends. Luckily, there are new ways to conquer COVID-19 symptoms and cut the risk of severe complications. These tips may be helpful on your road to recovery.

Been exposed? Boost this ‘good bug’.

Taking the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) cuts your odds of symptoms. Duke University scientists found that when people took 10 to 20 billion CFUs of LGG daily upon learning one or more household members had COVID-19, they were 26.4 percent less likely to report symptoms of infection within 28 days. Experts suspect LGG ups immunity and tames inflammation. One to try: Culturelle Daily Probiotic (Buy from, $24.99).

Consider quercetin.

Found in apples and onions, the nutrient boosts immunity and suppresses COVID’s damaging “cytokine storm.” Fred Pescatore, MD, advises taking 500 milligrams (mg) of quercetin twice a day as a preventive measure. If you develop symptoms, he advises adding another 500 mg daily. In a 2021 study, COVID patients who took 1,500 mg of quercetin daily saw their symptoms improve more quickly. (Note: This study had only 42 participants, so more research is needed to show the potential benefits of quercetin for COVID-19 patients.)

Tested positive? Ask about Paxlovid.

For people with a confirmed COVID diagnosis who have begun to show symptoms, taking the antiviral combo of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir (called Paxlovid) cuts the risk that mild to moderate COVID will progress to severe disease by 89 percent. And though the CDC cautioned symptoms may rebound after taking Paxlovid, a Mayo Clinic study found this occurred in only 1 percent of patients.

To be effective, experts say treatment with Paxlovid should start within five days of developing symptoms. While your doctor can prescribe Paxlovid, the FDA has authorized state-licensed pharmacists to do so (though they’ll need to review medications you’re taking, as well as recent medical records and blood tests). Plus, “Test to Treat” facilities in drugstores can provide testing and treatment in one trip. Learn more here. (Note: Paxlovid is not a replacement for your vaccination and booster shots. The CDC recommends that you schedule your vaccine or latest booster if you have not yet done so.)

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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