(March 16) To this layman, it seems that authorities are doing far better at telling us how to avoid the spread of the coronavirus than they are at telling us how to care for ourselves if we think or know we’re infected.

The official coronavirus.gov site has no answers to most self-care questions. Even the site’s page called “Caring for Yourself at Home,” which provides 10 top suggestions to “manage your health,” includes six directives that are not actually aimed at caring for the patient but at stopping him or her from spreading the virus to others.

The other suggestions aren’t much help either because they are so basic as to not really need saying: “Get rest and stay hydrated. … If your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider immediately. … For medical emergencies, call 911.” Gee, thanks.

Even on the pages for health professionals, the story is the same: point after point about how to avoid catching the virus in the first place but very little about how to ameliorate its symptoms. Obviously, there’s no cure yet, but surely there are strategies to make it more bearable and less dangerous — right?

I’m not a medical provider, so I don’t have answers, but I think most of us have questions that aren’t being addressed.

For example, what, if anything, should people do to respond to infection or suspected infection while they await test results? (Washing hands is useless if one already is sick!)

If many fatalities or serious complications come from secondary infections, which has been the case with other epidemics and pandemics, is there anything we should do to make those secondary infections less serious or even go away?

What medicines are likely to help at least treat symptoms — to make us feel less bad without doing some other damage to our ability to fight the virus? Expectorants? Cough suppressants? Is aspirin or acetaminophen safe, and for what ages? Ibuprofen? Saline solution?….

[This is important, and the White House briefings are failing on this front. Please read the rest of this column here, and then spread it. Thanks.]


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