This is the question that I, and many others in this country are asking ourselves at this time.
As a test is not available to the community unless you are in hospital, very ill with symptoms, frontline NHS staff or people who serve in social care. I totally understand why the priority is where it is at this point in time and I look forward to an immunity test in the future to prove that I have had it.
Anybody’s first port of call is https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and please go through the question and answers with https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/
If you do feel very unwell and can’t get your breath then please call 111 – otherwise stay at home and self isolate for 7 days if you are on your own or 14 days for the whole family. If you do get worse at home and feel breathless – call 111.
Two weeks ago was a different world. Celebrating International Women’s Day at the House of Lords being one of the Top 100 F:Entrepreneurs, networking with my fabulous business network Sister Snog and celebrating our birthdays early (my son Pete and me) whilst he was home from university for the weekend. Social distancing was joked about, the hand sanitiser was passed around but still I don’t think we realised that we are riding on a tidal wave that is about to hit through our country like a solid wall of water. The rest of the country are around 3 weeks behind here in London and are possibly feeling just how I felt two weeks ago.
Why I am writing this? I have been ill. I have scoured the web for information to confirm my symptoms, how did people cope, what to expect etc. However, I haven’t been able to find a day by day account so I thought it would be helpful to share the symptoms of my mystery illness because a cough and / or a fever are just some of what I have experienced and people need to be aware of just subtle changes in the way that they feel can actually be a symptom e.g. has been reported that people may have just a loss of taste and smell and that this could be a symptom.
It has not been confirmed that I have had Covid-19 but this is my story.
Day before the symptoms
I felt tired and blamed it on a recent general anaesthetic that was “still coming out” of my system. The fatigue was overwhelming, and I actually said out loud “Gosh I am tired”. This is a real sign of something starting – don’t push this feeling aside – question it in these times.
I woke up feeling not well, tired and couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel up to scratch. I cancelled my appointments for the day anyway. Later that day the dry cough started, and my temperature was 100 degrees (F). I immediately said that I wasn’t sure what this was (how can I have coronavirus – I don’t know anyone who has had it?). I have a Fitbit and my resting heartbeat is usually around 55-60 beats a minute. Day 1 it was 80 – obviously my heart was working to help fight whatever was causing me to feel the way that I did.
The cough and temperature continued and my general malaise. By the evening I started to have chills (and yes, they were multiplying) and the fatigue continued. Resting heartbeat was 90.
I felt better believing the “I survived the coronavirus” mug and t-shirt were mine. All of a sudden later that day I began to feel worse with the chills, malaise and temperature. The nature of this illness is that it comes and goes. You think you are through it then BANG! You feel poorly again.
Each day I had attempted to get up, shower and get dressed, even if I had ended up on the sofa after all the effort. Today I stayed in bed all morning and didn’t feel I had the energy but just stay there. Cough had reduced but my chest felt “tight” and the temperature was up and down. I had tried ibuprofen as we had no paracetamol left (thank you stockpilers) but I started to feel a bit worse. Found out online that ibuprofen can inhibit the inflammatory immune response, although not proven with this virus it is certainly well known with chicken pox. Thankfully a neighbour had paracetamol and popped it through my letterbox.
This day was horrid – again battling with the high temp and exhaustion. Resting heartbeat still 90 instead of 55/60
Felt better today with no temp earlier in the day. Am I finally through this? By the end of the day I started with a streaming cold and the temperature was back.
My birthday! I made the mistake of having a glass of champagne as I did really feel so awful after it. Apparently, alcohol is not good to drink while you are fighting a fever. I had a day on the sofa – again! My temp was down during the day, my nose had stopped streaming but the temperature was up to 101 again by the evening.
Late the previous evening I started with a headache. It was as if someone had my forehead in a vice. No pain killers were touching it and all I can do was to lie down in dark room. I couldn’t really engage with anything.
The headache, temperature all continued throughout the day then the pain dropped to my sinuses around my eyes, cheekbones and ears. It felt as if I had dancing ants in my sinuses – so painful particularly on the left-hand side of my face. During the night I felt a shift and the pain subsiding.
I woke feeling so much better. The best I had felt for nearly two weeks. What was left was a sore throat and stuffy nose. No temperature and resting heartbeat 74
No temperature – thankfully through that rollercoaster ride. Sore throat (feels like another cold coming on). A mild chesty productive cough. Resting heartbeat 72
Keeping a check on my breath
At all times I was checking my intake of breath – was I breathless? No, I was lucky. At day 7 it can be quite a make and break in the timing of the virus as what happens next is how your body reacts to what has gone on. At day 10 it can happen that pneumonia sets in which requires hospital treatment. I was very fortunate that this didn’t happen to me. Channel 4 news did an interview with Connor Reed which was very descriptive about what it is like to have pneumonia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9oqvJ3iXGI
What are my tips to get through this?
- Measure your temperature on a regular basis
- Check your resting heartbeat
- Take paracetamol to keep the temperature down. Do not wait for it rise to take another dose. Every 4-6 hours
- Ice gel packs are wonderful to help keep you cool. They can come with covers so not to ice burn the skin.
- Blistex is great for chapped lips that become sore
- Use a tissue once, throw it away and wash your hands
- Drink lots and lots of water – keep hydrated
- Keep a window open in the room you are currently in if you can – particularly at night. Very soothing to have cool air waft over you when you have a temperature
- If you can’t sleep at night because of your cough, then get hold of Vicks vapo rub and put it on the soles of your feet and then put socks on. I have no idea how this works, but it does!
- REST REST REST – if you exercise regularly – STOP – your energy is needed for your immune system to kick in and fight
- Do not drink alcohol
- KEEP WASHING THOSE HANDS
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