Disclaimer #1 – I declare right now that I am not a Medical Doctor, nor do I claim to be one. This post is my personal story and experience. I tag my research, elaborate as much as possible to the best of my understanding which as a human, can contain errors. What I write is true to the best of my knowledge, recollection of events and lived experience. It’s not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat. Use what you’d like at your own risk, and do your own research. Speak with your health care provider. Hang up and call 911 if you are experiencing an emergency, etc. etc.

Disclaimer #2 – I do have affiliate links included in this post (see disclaimer here) If you choose to use anything that I mention for your own needs and utilize one of my links – I am compensated a small portion from the company at zero extra cost to you. Also, I really appreciate your support if you do choose to utilize my links! It helps keep the content flowing freely here on the blog, instagram, Facebook and in funding self publication of my upcoming book on simple holistic living and homemaking. Thank you!

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I am dedicating this post to anyone who, like myself, wants to decipher ways to deal and heal post covid-19. I use the term “deal and heal” because this healing process has been a lot of dealing with symptoms with over the counter things that I don’t normally take for low back pain (reactive arthritis), malabsorption of nutrients, itching skin (urticaria), randomly hot and stinging skin to temperature changes, cold spells (thyroiditis), messed up cycle, hyper inflamed state (auto-immune like symptoms), general fatigue, brain fog and an extra dose of anxiety and stress. The heal part of the “deal and heal” has come into play after initial recovery and using over the counter treatment options for a period of time and slowly weaning off those things with a more natural approach as well as remedies that I can utilize to best help heal the damage that has occurred from the illness and treatment. The healing portion can take much longer and should be thought of as a marathon and not a week or two and then resume normal activity or lifestyle choices.

Backstory: I had covid-19 for almost 2 weeks give or take. The symptoms I remember most were extreme fatigue, brain fog, body aches and pain, the most excruciating back pain and head ache that would not let up with Advil or Tylenol, irregular heart beat and chest pain (reminded me of growing pains as a kid) and decreased appetite. I ran a low grade fever for the first day or two and did not treat it. During my acute illness, I received monoclonal antibody shots, a 7 day pack of prednisone and a round of antibiotics for post viral illness turned bacterial infection. Just before my illness I also stopped nursing my youngest and my body was having a difficult time already adjusting as everything came to a screaming halt there just 2 months prior to contracting covid-19. Our family also had some back ground stress that played a role in slow recovery time and compromised immune system. Basically, my body needed my help to get back into somewhat working order and recovering. Depleted from pregnancy and nursing, having a compromised immune system and then climbing out of illness and big treatment meant it was time to start the “DEAL and HEAL” ASAP. Below, I have listed the symptoms I experienced one by one, what I’ve used to help decrease them with over the counter medication and what I’m doing to deal and heal:

Itching/burning/skin rashes/stinging sensation when hot or cold

During and after my illness of Covid-19 I would (and still occasionally) experience intense itching or stinging. I noticed it if the shower made me too hot, or if I ran outside in the cold and back inside suddenly into the warm house. The best way I could describe it is like I was experiencing a hot flash and incredibly itchy at the same time – I could not figure out why my entire body would begin itching and stinging. After a while, it would be most obvious at my ankles. I never had visible hives but did have a psoriasis-like rash on my leg and still have a place that is healing slowly. Upon further research, I came across this common symptom for covid long-haulers (skin rash)(psoriasis like rash, hives and covid toes) I also read that you can have strange rashes during and after covid-19 that resemble psoriasis and can be aggravated by fluctuations in temperatures like hot/cold urticaria. This can also be from mast cell activation syndrome, but I chose not have any additional work up as I felt that that diagnoses would not change the way I was choosing to heal going forward.

After learning about this odd symptom that seems to finally be lightening up after the initial DEAL phase of my recovery with antihistamines and famotidine, I’ve also come across numerous studies that mention post infection thyroiditis (the latin root -itis means inflammation) can also be the underlying cause for the itching and stinging. With this being the case as my blood work has later revealed some concern (from a functional lab value vs. conventional lab value range of “normal” for abnormal thyroid function) and the thyroid being an immense influencer of many metabolic functions in our body via hormone regulation – one may also conclude that hormone imbalance is also to blame for the huge flare of symptoms, post covid-19 infection.

Deal: I took 1 Diphenhydramine tablet at night to reduce histamine response and continued to take while symptoms persisted for weeks. (case report) I also took a Claritin during the day. The goal is to drive histamine signals down so the body can focus on repairing the damage without being bombarded with more histamine signals. I took this every day for months, and occasionally will take one if needed. Consistently taking both daily, drastically improved symptoms rapidly (I suspect it would help in acute illness as well).

Deal + Heal: I also took and continue to take a digestive enzyme (Amazon) to help me break down my food so I can absorb it better and raise my gastric juice level up. When you are under stress, your rest and digest state stumbles because of the flight of fight response it’s going through. Resources needed are funneled into the flight or fight response and things like proper digestion, absorption, and elimination take a back seat. Many don’t realize heartburn and gastric upset after eating can be caused by too list gastric juices or the body is under stress and can’t properly digest food or destroy pathogens from acidic gastric juices. (Do a baking soda test to see if you can benefit from enzymes.) There is also benefits for the small intestines and candida control by utilizing a digestive aid with Betaine Hcl . Candida is a naturally occurring yeast that can get out of control after antibiotics are used. Antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria, including the good bacteria needed to control healthy candida levels. As you can imagine, yeast overgrowth can increase systemic inflammation.

Heal: Bromelain is a powerful enzyme found in pineapples. It helps with digestion as has proven to be a powerful healer for decreasing inflammation and has antiviral properties. (Bromelain for Covid-19) (Bromelain and Turmeric for inflammation) I take this when I’m having a rough day with stress or feeling down, each meal. I also continue to take it daily in conjunction with NAC to drive down inflammation and help my liver function more efficiently.

Heal: I make a nettle infusion and drink 8 oz. daily to replenish minerals, vitamins, and reduce inflammation. Nettle is a very nourishing herb that also helps reduce histamine reactions and is regarded as a great herbal allergy aid. Buy Dried Nettle Leaf: Mountain Rose Herbs, Amazon, Amazon

Before I go further, here is my basic understanding of how Covid-19 affected me, and why you will see repeat “deal and heal” suggestions below:

How I think Covid-19 affected me: Covid-19 causes wide-spread inflammation that can cause the entire body to have multiple “fires” if you will at the same time, and utilize valuable resources all at once in an extreme effort to put out as many “fires” as possible. After the acute infection, the damage of the “fires” left behind (think “charred remains”) need cleaning up, replacing, and the store houses of essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and hormones needed replenishing the “fire putter-outers” and general needs for normal, daily life’s demands to keep me alive and healthy. This insane multi-system “fire” is due to the cytokine proteins that are released during a covid-19 infection. Cytokines are proteins that signal cells in the immune system to react a certain way. There are pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines. As you may have guessed, Covid-19 signals the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines which essentially create the “fire” within the body in one of more systems. While some inflammation is necessary to elicit an immune response (think of histamines letting the body know there is a foreign offender present and symptoms similar to allergies mild to severe present themselves), having too many pro-inflammatory cytokines in multiple body systems thus resulting in many histamines signaling that “something is wrong” can pose short term and long term effects if a host (person) struggles with immune disregulation such as an undiagnosed or diagnosed and know autoimmune disease or autoimmune mimicking symptoms or metabolic disturbances (Rheumatism, Hashimoto’s, Graves disease Postpartum thyroiditis, thyroiditis, slow gut motility, Celiac, Lupus, IBS or IBD, or Type 1 Diabetes, just to name a few).

Based on my basic understanding, I can see how some folks have milder reactions to covid-19 than others. The outcome and recovery time seem to be based on a few factors; one being that each person’s immune system operates differently and therefore responds differently to covid-19 based on their current health which may include diagnosed and known or undiagnosed and unknown auto immune illness(s) and management or no management of those things, allergies or intolerances or sensitivities, how well they absorb and assimilate nutrients from food, how they deal with stress, how well they are sleeping , the quality of the food they are eating, their toxic burden and how well or unwell their detoxification pathways are managed or functioning, deficiencies that are undiagnosed or unknown, and the general level of one’s inflammation ( in mind, body, soul, social life, financial state, spiritual and physical state). It seems to boil down pro- inflammation (prefix pro- meaning “towards, front, or forth) and the level of which one is inflamed, and how well someone utilizes all aspects of their life to decrease this inflammation.

The fatigue and brain fog is/was unreal.

During covid-19 and after, for two months, I wasn’t able to think clearly. It felt a lot like the newborn phase of the fourth trimester with a newborn as a weary mother.

Deal + Heal: B- Complex vitamin with methylated B. I love the amounts of B’s in this complex from priority one (Amazon) I take it in the morning and definitely no later than noon – it gives you energy and helps with anxiety and depression too. At first, it wasn’t very noticeable that I was taking anything to help with energy but gradually, I started to take it less and less. I currently take it as needed for stress and energy. It helps a TON if you are trying to wean off of coffee (see below). I also suspect that this may be the reason why I have not noticed any major hair loss, similar to postpartum/ thyroiditis hair loss or thinning – which seems to be a common complaint months later from those who have had covid-19. B vitamins seem to help. Biotin is one of the B-vitamins that helps grow/make up hair, skin and nails.

Deal: This significantly improved when I began taking diphenhydramine (Benadryl) daily.

Heal: I stopped drinking my morning coffee. Coffee is a double whammy for me as it is a high histamine food (or can elicit a histamine release) and it contains caffeine (which increases cortisol, a stress hormone, production and I also don’t seem to tolerate caffeine when in an undernourished state). As you may now know, my personal goal was to decrease histamines. This transition was difficult for a period of time, but now I enjoy decaf coffee as a treat. I did drink dandelion coffee with full fat, coconut milk in the morning to make me miss my morning coffee less.

Heal: I also decreased intake of my personal trigger foods that act like intolerances or sensitivities when I’m stressed or undernourished, which are pasteurized and raw cow dairy ( mostly milk or cheese, excluding butter) and white or red modern wheat varieties. When I am well, I prefer Kamut or Einkorn wheat and can tolerate both with no difficulty. Some have found success on a low fodmap or low histamine diet while they heal (again, to help reduce the loop of histamine signaling – not eating those diets for forever, but just for a time). (Read more about mast cell syndrome and histamine issues from Dr. Becky Campbell – She has a post on her instagram that better explains Long Haul Advice)

Heal: In addition to decreasing my trigger foods, I loaded up on intentionally nourishing my body with Whole Foods. We cook most of our meals at home with organic, home grown or clean ingredients (no pesticides, herbicides, processed, pro inflammatory foods – we tend to operate our household at 80% nourished, home cooked foods first, and 20 percent fun foods and adjust this rule based on needs) although the occasional tortilla chips, chocolate chips, take out and homemade biscuits are welcomed treats as nothing is off limits.

Anxiety/ Depressive feelings and “off” cycle and hormones

When our body goes through a lot, we can mentally tap out. All my reserves were spent. When one thing is off, something else is off. Because I was inflamed, my hormones took a back seat so that my flight of fight hormones were prioritized to keep me fighting. The Hormone cascade helps give you a visual on how your body will prioritize flight or flight hormones like cortisol or adrenaline by using more of the resources needed to make all other hormones like estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone. If you don’t have enough ingredients to make adequate amounts of all the hormones needed in the body your body does what any thrifty cook does when they need ingredients – they prioritize meals with what they have on hand and improvise by borrowing or stealing if they have to.

Deal: Decreasing added stress was my first priority. I made it a point to do the bare minimum of my homemaking and said no to anything extra. My husband and family was and is a tremendous help.

Deal + Heal: I also realized that I needed to be more intentional about my prayer life and studying my bible and wanted to be better about creating a daily habit. Philippians 4:6-8

Heal: I’ve been able to manage a weekly bible study with godly christian women and engage in more calming activities like writing my book, limiting blue light stimulation and reading. These both bring me joy.

Heal: Being intentional about the food we consume at home, making sure I’m absorbing fat well with the digestive enzymes mentioned before, because hormones need cholesterol in order to form. If I’m not able to absorb it or draw it from my food, they will struggle. I’ve also added in an organ complex and perfect red and perfect green powder to my daily routine which further nourish on a deeper level. (Perfect Aminos, Perfect Greens, Perfect Reds and Organ Complex – Code Corina20 for 20% off)

Heal: Getting more sunshine in the morning and evening, being outside in general in God’s creation (more info on earthing/grounding) and continuing to limit our toxic burden through natural living.

Hormone imbalance, adrenal fatigue (from making cortisol to heal)

Heal: Fertiliboost (for hormone balance), Master Tonic (for Adrenal Health and hormone balance), Adrenal Cocktail (For adrenal health and replenishment), and Liver Juice (For Liver support – read about liver function, nutrition and go to the section about cytokines as well as the abstract – it talks about the active constituent in milk thistle called Silymarin but that info aside, paints a great picture on the importance of the liver. The liver plays a huge roll in getting rid of excess hormones, proper detoxification, and needs a ton of vitamins and minerals to function it’s best). These are all on-going and taken as directed. I will wean as I feel better and things begin to regulate on their own while I gradually decrease use/dosing. (Benefits of Vitamin C for Adrenal Function) (Understanding the sodium potassium pump – Sodium and Potassium are in the Adrenal Cocktail) (Photos)

Generalized inflammation/ joint stiffness and pain

Deal: I took ibuprofen which I dislike taking but also do not take regularly, was necessary for decreasing painful joints and inflammation from reactive arthritis. Supporting my liver (which I mention below) made this decision less intimidating and allowed relief to get through the day.

Deal + Heal: I also love Wasatch CBD from Utah. It works well to help reduce anxiety and therefore unnoticed tension I was holding from muscle guarding. (Get it here from my friend!) I also made it a point to stretch first thing in the morning and after a hot shower. (Not pot/dope – it’s different)

Deal + Heal: I used Perpetua remedies Aches and Pain balm on my low back, which did help decrease pain to a more tolerable level and it’s made with high grade ingredients! (Find her on Instagram!)

Heal: I also started taking amino acids (and continue to take them) as they are an integral part of building cells, hormones, pretty much anything in the body. If we do not have enough protein in our diet and our digestion isn’t really great breaking down protein into amino acids, we aren’t getting or “providing” the raw building materials our body needs to help repair and heal! Taking Perfect aminos has saved my muscles from being broken down and utilized to help my body heal. I love that this brand is clean, has all the amino acid types our body needs, and it’s 99% absorbable. That is extremely helpful when our body isn’t able to digest well, and it can be assimilated more easily to repair. I take the tablets as I don’t care for the taste of the powder (Amazon) (More on Amino acids and muscle metabolism) (Perfect Aminos – use code Corina20 for 20% off)

Heal: Magnesium – this is the only brand I use and love. It has the full gamete of magnesium (yes, there are different forms of magnesium and they all have different affects on the body).

The things that I’ve shared in this post have helped me deal and heal with long term covid-19 symptoms and post illness/recovery in general (see my holistic wellness favorites here for the whole family). Although it has been 4 months since my initial illness, I continue to heal and grow stronger every day. I hope that the telling of my experience is helpful to you. One other piece to the healing picture was getting a full panel of labs drawn from my friends at Provo health through their blood chemistry. They do take HSA for payments and do out of state online consults via zoom. I cannot recommend them enough. I had the privilege of working closely with the owners for a time and their heart and mission is to help others heal and be well. I recommend following @gutsy_mom on instagram.

I will have a link to my fullscript dispensary soon with my personal long term covid protocol! I will email everyone once that is available. Fullscript is a one stop shop for supplements and holistic inputs. I will be making protocols and be able to refer specific products in the future that are good for the holistic family.

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One Comment

  1. My daughter who is also into naturally living (parkselevateddesign.com) came across this post and sent it to me because I was suffering from the effects of long covid. I had severe exhaustion at any little exertion, nagging cough, headaches, brain fog, and a weird sort of apathy.

    I ordered the Combantrin and put it away in my pantry because I was partly chicken to try it, but also skeptical it would really work. Finally out of desperation I took it two weeks ago and also made my husband take a dose as you’d suggested that everyone in the house take it. Because of my brain fog I literally proceeded to forget immediately that I had taken it.

    The next morning I woke up and felt so good and had so much energy I could not stop cleaning, organizing, running errands, etc. All things that would have been impossible to do previously because I could barely get off the couch from extreme fatigue. I continued to feel better each day.

    Because I had forgotten I’d taken the Combantrin, I didn’t put two and two together until my sister asked me if I’d ever taken the dewormer and that’s when the lightbulb went off. Literally within 24 hours of taking it, it had cured my long covid.

    Thank you so much for sharing and providing this information!!!

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