Corona Virus Tips
I was asked to share this. Some useful tips in here. This is exhaustive.
Author is an anonymous Gulf Coast Poker Player who is recovering from a bad virus.
You think you have corona virus or you tested positive? I know just how you feel. It’s pretty scary, but I got you. I’ve piled in a ton of info in here to help you get it through it. I’m coming through more than two weeks of a terrible virus, I don’t have a positive test result but multiple doctors told me I had Covid19 . I’m looking into getting an antibody test to confirm and to possibly donate plasma when they can handle that.
As I dodged a hospital and was able to self quarantine I had what’s called a mild case.
-Bad news my mild case was worse then any illness I’ve ever had.
-Good news most mild cases are not as bad as mine.
-Better news 80% or so of all case are mild cases and don’t require a hospital.
-Even better news, even if you are most at risk ie you are obese, a smoker, older, have other medical conditions, you are still more likely to weather this than not.
Let me tell you early on in this, that you will see lots of stories about young otherwise healthy people not surviving… remember those are stories only because they are the outliers. They are the exceptions to the rule—that’s what makes it a compelling story. Resist the temptation to assume that’s going to be you or to think that's somehow common.
So let’s get to some tips. To start at the beginning, if you are reading this even before you’ve gotten sick or just starting to get sick here’s what you should have prepared.
PLAN AHEAD AND STAY AWAY:
If you live with someone, you will need a quarantine room. As you’ll need to clean it after the fact, minimize as best you can what’s in there. If possible, have a private adjacent bathroom. Current CDC guidelines suggest you not interact them until 72 hours after symptoms and fever have abated. If you can add a day or two or more to it better to be safe. Constantly clean sanitize the room and really get it clean on those extra days of quarantine when you are feeling better.
You’ll need supplies. I realize some are tough, or even impossible to get now, but maybe you have them or substitutes.
Lysol. I sprayed down around the door and surfaces constantly. My roommate brought me food and would leave it at the door. So I’d spray any area I might breathe on.
Mask. You are contagious this helps you to mitigate spewing your viral loads IF you have to walk/share common areas.
Dishwasher soap. We realized the best way to minimize interaction was to for me to keep a few plates, bowls and cutlery in the room. Wash dishes in your own bathroom and when possible have the food left at your door in ziplock bags.
Trash bags. I filled up small trash bags and then would drop them into bigger contractor bags my roommate held at the door so nobody else, including the garbage men, would have to handle what I touched.
Clorox Wipes. I used these to touch anything when I had to go into the community space. For example I would get 20 minutes of sunlight every day for the Vitamin C. I wore a mask (and held my breath) as I walked through the house, and only touched things with the wipes. Then I’d use the remainder of the wipe to wipe down areas in the room I used often.
Fresh Sheets. Change Pillow cases and sheets every couple of days. You don’t want to keep breathing in the virus you’ve expelled. My roommate would have the wash ready and I’d go and deposit the sheets into it before my time outside making sure nobody touched them. A couple of times I had to do this with dishes too (hard to put hot soup in Ziplocs). She’d have the sink full of hot water and soap and I’d drop them in.
A lot of soap or hand sanitizer. I usually used soap for my hands but the sanitizer (70% alcohol) is effective too. Constantly clean you hands AND don't touch your face.
WHAT TO TAKE/WHAT TO HAVE:
DO NOT TAKE ADVIL. Studies indicate it may even make things worse. Anecdotally, I’m inclined to agree. Before knowing this I took a prescription strength Ibuprofen (advil) when I had an initial headache that preceded the illness. Usually advil takes care of me, but my weird headache didn’t go away and if anything I felt worse. The night gave me little sleep. Very odd, maybe the first indication to me that I had something not ordinary. A couple of days later still thinking I might just have allergies I took an advil before going to sleep just to get a full nights sleep. This was after a day of no symptoms. Then read the French (?) study that said try not to take Advil like five minutes later. I contemplated making myself throwing up but no way I had the bad virus. That would be silly. A couple of hours later that night I got hit hard. It ended up being one of the worst nights of all my illness.
Do take Tylenol. Fever can spike, and comes in weird waves. I tried to avoid the Tylenol if I didn't feel THAT bad as sometimes fever means your body is fighting the virus. But during the worst of it at night, so I could get some sleep, I would take it. Troubling thing is at the fever’s worst it didn’t exactly do much. One night my fever was so bad and I felt so awful literally not even wanting to move inches I mulled going to the hospital. Just put an I.V. in me and sedate me. Course, they want you to stay away as much as possible from the hospital, so I held on. I was fortunate in that I came close to going three times, for three different reasons, but I was able to weather it and improved just enough just quickly enough to stay home each time. It’s probably better to not max out on Tylenol every day. I was advised to take my doses every 8 hours instead of 6. Those three hours between hour 5 and 8—tough.
Pedialyte. I'm going to over share. I had diarrhea bad. This unfortunately correlates with worse cases of Covid19. The first time it hit a few days into my illness it was so awful it felt like I emptied an aquarium out of my insides. I instantly got dehydrated and a little delirious—so out of it, that for the second time I almost went to the hospital. Confusion is one of the signs you should go but that’s because of a lack of oxygen. I knew I was confused but didn’t know why. Chugged the Pedialyte and within an hour had my head right and figured out it was dehydration that caused my confusion not a breathing issue. Stay hydrated. If you have the stomach issues you can usually feel it coming on and chug a Pedialyte in advance.
Vitamin C, D, Zync- See guidelines for taking D and Zync (I didn’t take Zync but a doctor friend told me I should have). Vitamin C you can take up to 2000 mg a day. Though your body can only process so much at a time. I took 500 mg twice a day. The side effects if you take too much include diarrhea, gas and stomach pain (depending on the person too much can be 1000 to 2000 mg) I had all those… so slowed down on the vitamin C. The symptoms continued so it probably was not the Vitamin C.
Salt. I sprinkled salt into really hot water multiple times a day and then gargled it. It helped with my weird sore throat. A doctor advised also using hydrogen peroxide. Again, I’ve seen conflicting reports of the efficacy of these. I’ll say this it doesn’t make things worse and when you feel as bad as I did, anything you can do actively that might help—kind of helps.
Zacurate—for $40 on Amazon you can get a little device that measures your blood pressure and maybe more importantly your blood’s oxygen levels. Another night I contemplated going to the hospital my breathing was labored and my chest was constricted. I don’t have anxiety but you read enough of these one off stories about normally healthy people dying from this right before you go to bed it’s pretty easy to ramp up the panic and the anxiety. When the device arrived it made it easy to monitor how well my lungs were functioning even when my chest felt its worst.
Water/Fluids. Divide you body weight by two. Change it from pounds to ounces and that’s how much you should be drinking a day. It’s a lot. My kidneys I think hurt from all that fluid. Gatorade with the electrolytes, and Airborne tablets help as well.
Tea/Soup/Hot drinks. Possibly kills all that virus lingering in your throat or upper esophagus, or maybe it doesn’t, and you just enjoy them.
WHAT YOU WILL FACE:
Fever. This beast comes and goes. When it dissipates, you’ll get slowrolled into thinking you are over a hump only for it to hammer you a day or two later.
Mental Stress. Jeezh. I got hit four or five times thinking I was out of the illness only to get knocked down again. Now approaching three weeks out I’m still not totally sure I have it fully licked. It’s like no other illness I’ve had. Am I sick? Am I well? Every time I tell people I’m well I start to run down again. Course, you also worry about exposing other people, roommates, spouses, children etc. This is half the battle especially the deeper into it you get.
Multiple Fronts. It seems like your body is fighting the virus everywhere. With the flu, I felt like all the symptoms (outside the fever which comes and goes too), they kind of progressively got worse and then progressively got better. This one the diahrea would be bad and then disappear. The throat pain, the aches, the headaches would come and go. Nausea here and then gone. I might have two good days, and then two bad ones. Make headway with my stomach and then my lungs start hurting and then the diarrhea is back. All variable it’s like my body couldn’t beat it on any front.
Throat Constriction. This symptom oddly gives you the feeling of a sore throat without hurting when you swallow. Very odd.
Anorexia. The desire to not eat. I forced the food and water down even if I was nauseous and when thinking about it made me sick. Luckily, I held it down. I ended up nauseous most of the time of this illness.
Headaches/aches. Can be brutal.
Cough. I was fortunate to only have a cough a few days throughout this. Maybe that’s why my roomate has seemed not to catch it.
Fatigue. Again, presented in a very un flu like way. I remember with flu and other illnesses being able to just pass out and sleep through a lot of it. Waking up for fluids, feeling like garbage and then out again. This virus, you are tired but not able to sleep. It’s like this persistent jitteriness. You are going have to weather those symptoms.
Loss of taste/smell. Didn't happen to me but a strong sign you have Covid19.
WHAT I DID:
Talk to Doctors. I was fortunate to have a family member kind of walk me through it often. She dug deep into everything being written and generated on this and helped me decide to do a lot of these things. I’m not a doctor (but she is). Still, don’t solely rely on my words as the course of action. This is what worked for me, but this virus is different in everybody. I urge you to communicate with professionals as much as possible. Some of these things may help some may not.
Be informed. When you can handle digesting information about the virus many times you'll be more well read then some of the doctors that are helping... because they are swamped helping people and you have all the time in the world to read the latest. General rule of thumb, ask about an item and include your source. Don't correct the doctor. They will find out more or offer an more informed opinion than the one you might be tempted to make.
Sleep. When I it was bedtime I’d sleep. Usually the nights were the worst. Anywhere from 2 to 5pm my body would feel the pain coming. Some repressed symptom would flare up. Some days the sore throat would pop. Other days, malaise or Nausea. Chest pain whatever. Deeper we got into night the worst I’d feel. Then when I’d get to sleep it would only be for an hour or two… then up for an hour—feel gross and then alternate hours awake and asleep through the night and the morning. Eventually, I’d feel my best of the day, in the latter morning, after getting as much sleep as possible. When I started getting the chest pain, I knew to…
Stay Upright. If I wasn’t trying to sleep I was either sitting straight up or doing…
Breathing Exercises. When my chest pain was at its worst my goal was to stave off pneumonia or a secondary infection. Two breathing exercises became religion for me. The first:
-Put your right hand on your chest. Your left hand on your stomach. Inhale through your nose until you fill your lungs so much even you stomach expands. Next purse your lips. Push up with your left hand literally pushing the air out of your lungs from the bottom up. Pneumonia is when fluid fills the bottom so my goal was to keep that air flowing. Second exercise my brother learned up when in Asia…
-Inhale deeply through your nose then squeeze it shut. Tilt your head back and for the between shoulders five times. Then try and force all that air deeper into your lungs. Again, purse your lips as you exhale.
Keep Moving. In Wuhan they had the little old ladies in the field hospitals dancing when they felt up to it. Stay upright and keep that air flowing out your chest. I paced the same 17 steps from my bedroom to the bathroom. I did my deep breathing while walking too (careful to stay as far away as possible from the door that connected me to the house). When I coughed or spit I tried to do it in the bathroom. I’d put on a podcast, preferably funny but definitely nothing to do with Corona Virus, and make myself pace until it ended. If it was an hour I could make it through by focusing on the audio.
Get Sun. I found 20 to 30 minutes a day to be helpful. They did this with TB and the Flu Pandemic and people who were outside fared better than those stuck in. I took my shirt off. Ended up with a bit of a tan (dropped 15 pounds too—so right now it looks like I went to a spa somewhere not that I suffered through an illness). The first time I felt the rays it reminded me of skin to skin contact with a baby. Just a warm healing sensation. Very valuable.
Circulate the Air. I opened a window in the bathroom and another in the room to get fresh air circulating and get the stale air out. I have bad allergies (which strangely were mostly absent through most of this—guess the body was dedicating all resources to the virus) but nonetheless I tried not to keep it open too long.
Close the lid when flushing. In China one of the biggest spreaders was a guy with diarrhea so bad his building got Covid19 via the sewage system. When I’d go, after finishing I’d close the lid and flush so it did not get airborne. Then I’d flush again. If I was done I’d then spray the bowl with Lysol.
Hot Showers. Breathe in that steam and let the warmth hit you on your chest and your back. Hot shower and fresh sheets feels just as good when you are sick as when you are healthy. It’s easy to not take a shower when you just want to lie down but make yourself do it.
Get rest. On days my chest pain was minimal, I’d allow myself to lay in bed. Even if I wasn’t sleeping it’s important to fight that virus on many fronts with as much energy as you can spare. On days the chest hurt the most I’d make myself throughout the day do the exercises. A balancing act but staving off pneumonia and not needing a ventilator is a big deal. Takes quite a lot of will power when you fill like shit to get up and do something BUT equally important to not push too hard..
Stop Reading News and Social Media before going to sleep. As mentioned, I can’t tell you how many nights the last thing I’d see pop up is some story about a young otherwise healthy person passing from this. Again, they are outliers but when you are really sick it’s hard to be rational and say that’s atypical. For your mental health limit your bad news intake to the morning when you feel good. No market updates, no press conferences, no death updates etc.
Resist engaging on social media. There are people still taking this lightly and don’t really grasp the severity of it all. When you are at your lowest and somebody is comparing this to the flu or suggesting only the really old or sick are affected by this, it’s hard not to give them a piece of your mind. Does no good. Unfortunately, throughout the timeline of this virus, those who dismiss it most seem to be many of those most effected later. I don’t wish the worst of this virus on anybody but you can pray for them.
On that note if you are religious ignore the atheists trying to drive home their point of view. Pray for them lol. The expression goes, I think coined in the First World War, they are no atheists in fox holes. If God or prayers gives you solace don’t quibble with the zealots of atheism seeking to exploit a pandemic to basically say Nyah, Nyah. *Whether they intend to do that or not—when you are sick it feels that way.
I had some strange and deeply personal moments when I was in that foxhole the first week. Oddly, I found solace and comfort in ways maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to before. If you aren’t religious… fine, but maybe wait a couple of months before you pound your points when there are a lot people suffering and while you might think it all trifling and illusory they don’t. Rather then trying to open somebody’s mind logically or objectively you are actually in a small way compounding suffering which I'm sure nobody wants to do.
Do be social. Facetime your family. Talk to your friends. At my lowest moments I got some inspiration from friends in private messages or phone calls. I’ve learned how valuable those moments are and I appreciate all that reached out to me or shared support. It meant far more to me than I would have thought it would before this.
Now that I scared the heck out of you, remember what I led with. Those of you that get sick almost every one of you will recover. Stay in contact with your doctor and make responsible choices. Seek help when you need it but stay strong, stay positive, and even at your bleakest or lowest moments know that there is another side. The same is true for the virus vs. the country in general. We will all suffer and it’ll ramp up and get much worse long before it gets better but it will get better. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I should be over this by now, only to get smacked again, and that’s the way we will feel in the coming months.
The isolation in a one room quarantine sucks. The isolation in your house will suck almost as bad. However, there are folks that absolutely can’t get this, so we need to do everything we can do for them not to get it. Thanks to all those people who helped me through it as I am coming out of it and good luck to all those people who will have to deal with this in the coming weeks. We will beat this.