COVID-19 home treatments: Facts vs. myths


by David Winter, MD

Jan 14, 2021

Information and guidance about COVID-19 care and vaccination continues to evolve. Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest.

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Texas and across our country, people are looking everywhere for advice on what to do if they get sick with coronavirus. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there. 

So, with that being said, what advice can we actually count on? Let’s address four areas where there are common misunderstandings about how to care for yourself while you are at home with mild COVID-19 symptoms.


Some sources are encouraging people to try out different sleep patterns and sleep positions while they are infected with COVID-19. The important point here is that restful sleep is indeed important as our bodies fight the virus. 

Rest and sleep when you are tired and try and minimize distractions or being woken up unnecessarily. There is no right or wrong way to sleep— you shuld sleep in the position that you favor. Some prefer a reclining chair, some like to sleep in bed and some on their back or their sides. Relaxing and feeling refreshed is the goal.


Hydration is extremely important when we are ill. A lot of products are marketed for this, but good ol’ water is still one of the best ways to hydrate. Whether it be tap water, bottled water or sparkling water, they all do the trick. The water can be warm, cool or cold. It all works.


You may be asking, what about diet? Are there certain foods that can lead to a quicker recovery? Common sense plays in here. Some people prefer fruits and vegetables, which are a great way to consume vitamins, and others prefer soups and broths when they are ill. Just make sure you are nourishing your body.

Many people have asked about taking vitamins to help prevent or treat COVID-19. There are suggestive studies that are favorable but to date, there are no randomized, controlled studies to give us definitive advice. Certainly, modest doses of vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc have no recognized downsides. 

Vitamin C helps supports our immune system, especially when it is working harder than usual to fight off an infection. Vitamin D can help strengthen our immunity and prevent overactive immune responses. Talk to your doctor about whether you should consider taking any supplements during your recovery.

On the other hand, heavy, spicy foods, caffeine and excessive alcohol should take a back seat while you’re sick, as they can have negative effects on your recovery. But always remember that if you enjoy them and tolerate them well, go ahead. What is right for one may not be right for all.


Exercise is not that important when you’re ill but getting up and moving around a couple of times a day can stimulate your circulation and loosen up your muscles and joints. Be sure and listen to your body so you don’t push yourself too hard, too soon, especially if you’re dealing with body achesfever or other uncomfortable symptoms.

Related: What to expect while you recover from COVID-19

During these uncertain times, everyone from your neighbor, to your mother and your grandmother may have different advice for you, as do many social media outlets. Common sense always seems to prevail, and it certainly applies when you are at home with a virus, even with the current coronavirus. 

Always remember, while being sick with a new virus can be scary, you are not in this alone—you can always contact your doctor for advice. If you begin to experience any concerning symptoms with COVID-19, do not hesitate to seek emergency care.

For more information about the steps you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy, subscribe to the Scrubbing In newsletter

About the Author

David Winter, MD, is an internal medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Signature Medicine – Tom Landry.

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