Alia Fox, Chief Anesthesiologist at Ascension St. Joseph’s, started H2O Health Hydration Oasis in 2017. Her practice, which opened originally in Brookfield and opened a second branch in the Third Ward in 2019, was aimed at providing the health benefits of an IV vitamin infusion.
The infusions are used to treat fatigue, depression, fibromyalgia, the side effects of chemotherapy and — as popularized by certain celebrities and influencers — hangovers.
But in 2020, just a few months after opening, H2O’s treatment options took on a new importance to many. When COVID-19 hit the country hard in March, patients who had recovered from the virus came to Fox looking to an IV infusion to help them get back on their feet.
“The disease has huge immunosuppressive response with some people,” Fox says. “There’s a lot of extreme fatigue. Some people are experiencing horrible nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.”
For those patients, Fox offers vitamin mixes, such as high blends of Vitamin C and Zinc. Fox points to other unexpected immunosuppressive side effects, like hair loss, which can effect a person long after they “recover” from the virus. The fatigue-fighting and immune-boosting effects of the IV treatment can help counteract the lingering side effects.
The treatment lasts for about 45 minutes, during which the patient is given an IV that drips the vitamin treatment. Part of the reason for the procedure’s often-quick results is that it bypasses the stomach and gets the vitamins directly into the bloodstream.
She also offers treatments for people looking to strengthen their immune system as a protective measure against the virus. Vitamin D, folic acid and other immune-boosting vitamins make up many of the the “cocktails” these patients receive.
“Most people are actually low in Vitamin D for a number of reasons, one being where we live,” she says. “We love Milwaukee, but unfortunately the amount of sun we get here is pretty low.”