This past Holiday season Dr. Costa and I both contracted COVID-19. In the weeks before Thanksgiving Dr. Costa saw a sharp increase in his patients testing positive for Corona Virus, a terrible job hazard for him as a family doctor. So when he came down with a high fever, body aches, pouring sweat and a cough the night of Thanksgiving, we both had a clear idea of what could be wrong with him. What we didn't understand: however, was the intensity of what we were about to experience. It is said that experience is the best teacher, so we hope this blog post will give you insights we wished we would have had when we became very ill very quickly.
The COVID symptoms you may experience can be dangerously deceptive and inconsistent . Hours after Dr. Costa experienced a storm of debilitating symptoms, his fever broke and he was energetic and seemed fine. We wondered if what he experienced was some type of bug that left as quickly as it came on. Two days later, his condition deteriorated so quickly that I had to rush him to the hospital where he spent almost a week. Three days after my husband became ill, I started experiencing fever, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea. My symptoms were also severe and inconsistent for the first few days before they worsened. Thankfully, I did not have to go to the hospital. He lost his sense of taste and smell, I did not. He had intense head aches with no relief for days while I had headaches that felt like there were very tender spots on the back of my head. I had terrible diarrhea, he didn't. His heart rate became erratic and his oxygen levels dropped while mine were stable. We both had fevers, cold sweats, symptoms worsened at night, body aches, brain fog, cough, pneumonia, the feeling of fire in our joints and spines and extreme fatigue. A key take away is not to rule out COVID if you don't loose your sense of smell. COVID affects different people in different ways and can go from manageable to dangerous very quickly.
If you are able to stay at home be certain to monitor your oxygen levels and heart rate. Pulse oximeters are inexpensive and easily found at pharmacies or online. Drink lots of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. Sleep when you are able to during the day because symptoms often become worse at night, making it impossible to sleep. I was prescribed a steroid pack and antibiotics which I felt was helpful. I doubled the amount of Vitamin D that I take daily, took Vitamin C, ZInc and Acute Immune Support from CV Sciences.
If you have trouble breathing, an unstable heart rate, cough up blood, or become faint go to the hospital. It is important to know that antiviral treatments like Remdesivir are most effective during a small window of time after you are diagnosed. Experimental treatments are not available or beneficial for everyone. Request to be evaluated by an Infectious Disease physician as soon as possible after you are admitted.
Whether you are at home or in the hospital, remember to stretch, breathe deeply into your lungs and don't lay on your back. Nutrition and hydration are important. If you aren't up to eating, be certain to take a daily multivitamin to help fuel your recovery. Please be careful and stay well.