My experience with COVID-19, my entire family tested positive and we survived!

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As received from South Africa:

Hi guys, my entire family has had Covid-19; fully tested positive and with symptoms; my kids ages 5 and 7, my husband – a type 1 diabetic, my housekeeper and myself. I am not a working mum so have managed to take time to deal with it but also to read a lot. I am not a doctor just a person on the other side who can speak from direct personal experience. There are currently ±50K people with/have had Covid in SA so I am certainly not alone. So here are 40 ‘bites’ that have given me comfort and guidance

1. Covid-19 is a VASCULAR virus, NOT a respiratory one.
2. This means it matters what is happening in your vascular system, if your vascular system is compromised (obesity, clogged arteries, heart problems, diabetes – 3.5 times more likely to be fatal) then it will affect you worse than others.
3. It is transferred between people through the respiratory system – those micro droplets everyone is talking about that you either breathe in through your nose or your mouth

4. It is highly unlikely that you will get it from touching a surface or item
5. It is highly likely that you’ll get it if you sit talking to an infected person for 5-10mins with no mask on either of you.
6. To get infected you need a dose of 1000 viral particles (CDC USA)
7. To give you an idea the environmental spread of things is as follow:
a. Breath = 20vp/min
b. Speaking = 200vp/min
c. Cough = 200 million vp
d. Sneeze = 200 million vp

8. In other words; staying away from people is really, really the key – not fake news
9. When (not if) you get it, if it is mild it will most probably feel like a head cold but with no mucus, hence the dry cough. Your sinuses hurt because the veins are swollen not because they are blocked with snot.

10. You may get all of the symptoms, you may only get one. We all got the headache, my son got the very high temperature (38.9) but nothing else, my daughter got the high temp and the vomits. I got total loss of taste and smell which was devastating as eating was an annoying thing I HAD to do. My husband got the headcold and extreme fatigue. We both had a very dry, hoarse cough – again no mucus

11. You get tired because your vascular system is overworking. So rest and drink fluids.
12. Saline nasal rinsing will help to keep your viral load low – ie you will rinse out any build up load you have taken in during the day being around other sick people.

13. The Viral Load is key – with less load you’re ok. Too much you’re in hospital
14. When people cannot breathe and ask for oxygen and need it in hospital it is not exactly that their lungs that have failed them, their veins are not able to pump enough oxygen fast enough around their bodies. This situation is seen much earlier if measured with a pulse oximeter. Lung failure/difficulty to breathe is already too late.

15. Get a pulse Oximeter (R500-800) to measure your O2 sats (how much and how efficiently oxygen is pumping through your veins) and an infrared thermometer (R1000) and use them every day for you whole family.
16. The temperature will say you have a/the virus, the O2 sats will tell you whether you are in danger or not – ie your vascular system is compromised. Below 90, go to hospital.

17. For the headache take paracetamol or aspirin – preferably not codeine which lowers immunity or anti-inflammatories which affect your vascular system.
18. Kids 0-8 do get it, mostly they get it mildly, mostly they recover quickly
19. Because their viral load is usually lower they don’t transmit as much so if you’re wearing a mask it really is ok to be around them as an adult
20. The nasal swab for testing is very, very uncomfortable (read painful)
21. The oral swab for testing is not and they are both as effective

22. Taking Vitamin B, C, D and Zinc helps boost immunity and you and your family should be taking them now everyday whether you are positive or not.
23. The BCG vaccination is likely to help provide a milder Covid-19 experience

24. Use Pathcare or Next Path Lab for testing, they are smaller and quicker and about the same cost as the others.
25. Even if everyone gets sick in your house, try and keep all your viral loads low by not sleeping together, drinking from the same cup, eating with the same plates etc – partners: time to make use of the spare bedroom.

26. Even though its cold open as many doors and windows during the day as possible to keep your living spaces well ventilated – this will blow those micro droplets out the way before they become a problem
27. If you get symptoms and get tested too early you will get a negative result as the viral load will not be high enough in your body yet to test positive. Many people are doing this. This happened to me and meant that I then infected 5 others as I thought I did not have Covid.
28. Wait 3-5 days with symptoms, isolate, and then get tested. You’ll almost certainly avoid a false negative this way. Your viral load will be high enough for a positive. I tested positive nearly a week after my first symptoms.

29. Then do quarantine properly for 14 days (21 days if you can is better as there have been cases of 3 week viral incubations). The basic deal is 10 days and then a further 3 days with no symptoms and you should no longer be infectious. My personal feeling is do 14 days from the first day you felt sick or 14 days from your positive test if you are asymptomatic – asymptomatic people really need to be careful about infecting others as of course they are at work etc as they feel fine.
30. Once sick give the virus time. Be patient.

31. Even when you start to feel better the virus is still running rampant in your vascular system – Wait – I know – so challenging for us all in the way we live our lives.
32. Yes you can get it again once you’ve had it. Hopefully you will have built up some antibodies but you cannot be sure so don’t be too blasé about it.
33. Wear your mask and wash your hands and don’t be an a-hole about it.

34. Pick outdoors rather than indoors
35. Pick a large space over a small space
36. Pick less people over more people
37. Pick brief interactions over long ones

38. Rather amusingly the WHO measures a Covid Hot Spot as 5 positive cases/100K people. Yes 100K. This means my home alone is enough to currently be the reason that our entire Ward is a hot spot.
39. There is nowhere in SA that is currently not a hot spot so don’t fool yourselves
40. Hope you found some of this useful. Good luck! Stay safe!

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