If you are seeing this in passing, please be sure to bookmark or copy and paste this link to a note on your phone: https://www.smitashares.com/ifyougetcovid/
Just like my last blog, “Avoid Getting COVID,” this, too, is purely anecdotal based on my own experience with COVID and that of others. Please consult with your physician before doing ANYTHING as it relates to ANY aspect of your health and especially your care as it relates to COVID. Also similarly to my last blog (& will be repeated in every blog as it relates to this topic), I am also going to ask in advance that – if you derive any benefit/value from this info – that you please consider making a donation (any amount helps) towards my fundraising efforts in this GoFundMe; it was no small thing to feel how I have been feeling and put all of this together (6 different blogs) and I am sharing personal health information (& that, too, as a South Asian where the crux of our existence is “what will other people think”) that most would never share in a public manner for the benefit of others.
& I am sharing because – had my only communication been with the healthcare practitioner from the private testing center who called to inform me that I tested positive – the only information I would have received would have been, “take Tylenol for a fever” and nothing else, and that experience was COMMON. I did a survey in one of the groups I am in and 80+% of people said they were not told to do one of the (or at least so I believe) most important things when diagnosed with COVID.
Thankfully, that was not my experience, and I spoke to at least 6 different healthcare practitioners who all offered advice for our care (I gave COVID to my mom; full story in this #videoshare).
First and foremost, how you feel is valid. Scared, anxious, upset, angry. All of it. V A L I D. However, you must honor your feelings and then have them inspire you to ACTION because – & I cannot emphasize this enough – COVID is NOT LIKE THE FLU (revert back to my blog post re: why or see this and this). In short, COVID has the potential to wreak havoc on all of your body’s organs/systems far beyond what you would be obvious or expected. Google “cytokine storm” if you’re really into the science of it and “COVID long haulers” if you want to know about what many experience in the aftermath of COVID which – in hindsight – is something I knew about at all so it would have been something I was actively seeking to avoid (versus just surviving and, so I thought, “clearing COVID”)
& I am sharing all of the above NOT to “freak you out,” but, honestly, because I wish I was a little more aware as I knew NOTHING otherwise.
What you absolutely need (having these things in advance is ideal) & please note: I am making (anecdotal/based on the experiences of others & subject to change) product recommendations that I do, if you purchase via the link provided (which I hope you will consider doing in support of me doing this share considering how I have been feeling), earn a few cents from; however, you can find these things nearly everywhere.
- Oximeter – measures your oxygen level in your blood; “a healthy blood level of ‘oxygen saturation’ normally measures 95-100% on a pulse oximeter, and readings lower than 90% are considered dangerously low.” (Source). It is important to have the oximeter because, as per Dr. Len Horowitz, “Recent clinical reports reveal that patients with COVID-19 may have significant oxygen desaturation—less than 8%—and yet appear conversant, and not breathless. For this reason, it would be helpful if those patients were able to monitor their oxygen saturation so that if they dipped down to the mid-80s or lower, they could use supplemental oxygen [at a hospital]” This state – known as “happy hypoxia” – means that a person may not always present with the more obvious shortness of breath (if you present with this symptom, contact your doctor or seek emergency care) but could have low oxygen levels.
- Per this Yale Medicine article, “If you do have a pulse oximeter and are checking your oxygen levels, it’s important to know that a level between 95 and 97% is considered normal by the American Lung Association; anything below that would be a reason to call a doctor, and anything under 90% would be a reason to go to the emergency room.
- A few things to note: You want to wait a few minutes for a proper reading (my reading scared the heck out of me when it started some days but then landed at 99% a few minutes later), &, if you have nail polish on, your readings could be off. Also, if you are reading this and don’t have one, ask in your local friend/family circle/community group as someone may have one that you can borrow (this is an item easily sanitized).
- There are truly a MILLION options on Amazon (all with great reviews), so I am sharing the ones that we have in our family/that I know doctor friends have recommended
- Again, I cannot say this enough: do not get caught up in which one or the best one. Just get one.
- Thermometer – since fever is a key symptom of contagion and a fever beyond a certain threshold can be dangerous, it is imperative to have a thermometer.
- Note: On fevers, I cannot speak on what you should do or what the threshold of concern is, so please see here for ranges and recommendations on when to see further care. I can speak to the fact that my first symptom was chills followed by a temp reading of 99.9 (my normal is almost always exactly 98.6). The doctor who informed me that I tested positive said to only worry if I had a temperature of 101 or higher. My temperature never went above 100.4 and, although I did take Tylenol one or two times, I let my fever run and it always self-resolved. See here or Google “are fevers good for you” to learn more about the approach that I learned from a friend who informed me that she doesn’t treat fevers unless severe as it means that your body is doing the work to fight off infection.
You may or may not experience a slew of common symptoms like headache, fever, loss of smell/taste, fatigue, cough, etc. and I obviously cannot speak to the management of all of them, but these are the things that I believe are the most important.
- Know that everything you will be doing now is not just to prevent dying from COVID, but to also prevent/minimize long-term side effects (experiencing “Long COVID” or “Long Haulers.” As I go over at length in my For Long COVID/Long Haulers blog, you – even if you start feeling better – need to act as if you have COVID for, at a minimum, the next 90 days. I strongly advise against reverting to whatever your normal was because many who have (self-included) have suffered tremendously thinking that “they kicked COVID and were back to good again.” Accordingly, you want to do the most possible – considering what you are able to do (not obsessing/freaking out if you cannot do all of the below) – keeping your long-term health in mind after recovering from COVID which is why I highly recommend reading my blog on long COVID.
- If you need visual proof of the long-term impacts of COVID… the first 2 pictures are snapshots from live videos I did in August and November – in the same lighting albeit different times of the day- and both with no face/skin makeup as with the third), but my hair, skin, and nails all changed drastically.
- Keep a log of symptoms. I personally created a Google doc (I also have the DOCS app on my phone) where I tracked everything for me and my mom and emailed it to my brother and best friend with the intent being that, god forbid things escalated, then our course of illness would be fully documented (including onset of first symptoms, medications/supplements taken, and how we were feeling).
- Self-isolate. If you are in a home with others (fully understanding every precaution may be difficult to take depending on your living situation), the infected person must quarantine. If you can, seal your vents with foil (this may be extra, but it is a thing & we did it), open the windows in your home to let air circulate through to reduce the potential viral load that others will be exposed to (use a space heater if you have one), stay in your quarantined space, and avoid sharing a bathroom with anyone who has not tested positive. If you must be in common spaces for any reason make sure that you and everyone else is masked and that you are sanitizing common high-touch surfaces.
- Hydrate – this is an obvious one but most of us fail to do this enough as it is and fail to do so, even more, when we are feeling crappy but I cannot emphasize the importance of hydration enough, so read it from the experts: “Nutrition and Hydration are centra to COVID Recovery”. If you can get something like the low sugar options below to replenish electrolytes, that would be ideally but WATER IS ALSO GREAT.
- Move as you are able. Straight up pretty scary real talk: COVID can cause blood clots & they can happen in your micro blood vessels and hardly ANYONE IS TALKING ABOUT THIS as something that all COVID patients should be trying to prevent. My cardiologist who I am now seeing for #longhaulersyndrome (side note: I own that domain name & was very pleased with myself for getting it!) said that the best way to avoid any major problems due to blood clotting is to engage in physical activity, so… even though you may not feel like it, if you are able, walk outside with a mask for 10-20 minutes. Or just around your room/in the hallway. Stretch or do a yoga video. SOMETHING.
- Actually REST. I know it is tempting to just doom scroll/research/zone out on your phone or computer (if you experience what I did with my eyes after, you may really consider refraining from staring at a screen), but aim for as much as genuinely restorative rest as humanly possible.
- On this, you also want to lay prone (on your stomach) as much as possible. Read here for more, but, essentially, laying prone helps oxygen get into your lungs versus you lying on your back and compressing them. This was hard for me but I did it as much as I could, and it kept me off of my phone.
- Ask for help. Let some trusted people around you know that you got COVID so that someone can check in on you once or twice a day via the phone or possibly drop off food/pick up prescriptions/anything else. Note: Help may even – depending on your circumstance – mean help paying for the things you need immediately for your care, and, considering the context (& although an uncomfortable thing for anyone to do), I encourage you to ask for whatever help you may need.
- Make sure you eat. This might seem obvious but your body needs nutrition (see below) to fight off infection and this may be something that doesn’t feel intuitive when someone might have lost their sense of smell and taste. I personally ate lots of Campbells products and Indian lentils and rice.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory (Ideally WFPB = whole foods plant based; see this blog)/anti-histamine diet. The real jerk of COVID is that – in your body doing the most to fight off the virus – your body kicks off a next-level inflammatory response which you want to quell as it what is believed to largely contribute to possible long hauling effects. Do NOT do what I did. A lot of people lose their appetite because they lose their sense of taste, but I did NOT, so – in addition to what I ate above – I ALSO ATE MY FEELINGS. In fact, I felt ravenous (I’m sure some kinda emo coping thing) and ate all kinds of regrettable things. If you can, avoid things like sugar, fried food, processed foods, gluten, dairy, and caffeine (this is a biggie to stop both because it dehydrates & because it is high in histamine). I know, NO FUN but you are not only trying to clear COVID but also trying to minimize the long-term effects of the virus. (Please Google “anti-inflammatory/anti-histamine” diets to learn more; I’m sorry that I cannot make this as comprehensive as I’d like but just doing this is a lot for me based on how I am feeling)
- Continue taking your supplements & teas (please see “Avoid Getting COVID” post for my recommendations on Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc, other supplements – please pay attention to what I said about the importance of collagen, & teas; increase the dose of Vitamin C and Vitamin D); note: I see COVID as a multi-layered thing… doing the most to avoid getting COVID… and, then, god forbid you get it, doing those things plus the below added things… and, finally, if you have lingering symptoms, doing all of those things and even more as outlined here)
- Many healthcare practitioners suggest increasing your Vitamin D (please consult with your physician as Vitamin D is not recommended for everyone and anything over 4,000 IU should be taken with physician supervision).
- This is what I personally took after getting COVID: Vitamin D 10000 IU with all 3 types of Vitamin K
- Note: If you know me personally, in any other context outside of COVID, I would NEVER (for example, in the context of weight management products I share) suggest that anyone take so many things at once because – when you do so – you really have no idea what exactly is making the most difference, but, with COVID, I have adopted a “throw the whole kitchen sink at it (& hope for the best)” approach keeping in mind that, again, everything I am sharing is anecdotal and based on my experience/the experiences of others.
- Many healthcare practitioners suggest increasing your Vitamin D (please consult with your physician as Vitamin D is not recommended for everyone and anything over 4,000 IU should be taken with physician supervision).
- Take baby aspirin (this would be contraindicated in some people based on many factors, so, again, consult with your doctor as anything you do/try is – to be frank – on you). “Up to 70% of patients hospitalized with the novel coronavirus experience hypercoagulability, and about 25% of patients admitted to the ICU with the disease develop pulmonary embolisms. A growing number of reports indicate that stroke is a common—and sometimes presenting—symptom of COVID-19.” (source). Aspirin is an anticoagulant so you are taking it for the same reason mentioned above: preventing blood clots. Good to read: Aspirin May Help Prevent Serious COVID 19 Complications (this was the thing that 80% in that group – that now consists mostly of long haulers – was not even told)
- Health A2Z, 300 tablets, $7.95
- Rite Aid Chewable Cherry Flavor (3 bottles, 36 each); $11.99
- Because I can only handle so much time in front of a screen, please kindly read this (linked multiple times as a source) to learn the role of many of the things that I have mentioned above and am about to mention right below.
- Melatonin – “Melatonin is best known and most commonly used to boost sleep and reduce anxiety, both of which improve the immune system. It also blocks inflammasome activity, reducing inflammation in the lungs, and it reduces the risk of fibrosis, one of the most challenging complications for patients who have had COVID-19.” I believe Melatonin is SO IMPORTANT. Although I took it during COVID and had great sleep (I normally have good sleep), my mom kept taking it for weeks after and she fared so much better than I did in the aftermath.
- Famotidine (reduced risk of mortality; read here). Also here
- Basic Care – 20 mg, 200 count, $9.88 (You want to take 40 mg/day)
- Quercetin – “Quercetin has shown preclinical benefit as an antiviral medication, and a Chinese study found that it bound with the spike protein in the novel coronavirus, reducing its ability to infect cells. Like Vitamin C, it has antioxidant effects.” (Source)
- Jarrow’s (the brand that was recommended to me & that I am presently taking): 500 mg, 200 capsules, $40.08
- Source Naturals (has Quercetin, Vitamin C, Magnesium, & Bromelain)
- Thorne (I love this brand in general) Phytosomal Quercetin (higher absorption): $36, 60 capsules
- Amazing Nutrition (Quercetin + Bromelain; read here) – 120 capsules, $19.99
- CDP Choline – Why?
- Niacin – “Vitamin B3 (niacin or nicotinamide) “is highly effective in preventing lung tissue damage,” the journal study states, suggesting that it “might be a wise approach to supply this food supplement to the COVID-19 patients (Source). Note: I was not taking niacin during my acute experience with COVID but wish I had been.
- For these next 3 supplements, please see this article; if you can only take one, then just take the first one.
- In the article Dr. Horowitz recommends “600 mg of NAC two to three times a day; 600 mg of alpha-lipoic acid once or twice a day (the higher dose can cause reactive hypoglycemia in sensitive individuals); and 250 to 500 mg of glutathione twice a day—as a preventive measure against COVID-19”
- NAC (N-acetylcysteine) – Why? (I was not taking NAC or the 2 items mentioned below during my acute COVID and so wish I had known about them then or at least immediately after)
- Glutathione – See here and here for more info about the importance of glutathione
- Alpha-Lipoic Acid – See here and here for more info about the importance of ALA.
- Deep breathing exercises. Just like the point about trying to rest/sleep pronated, you want to do the most to get oxygen into the deepest parts of your lungs. & you can use a device like the below (what I used; what others used) to do so OR just follow this video or other plentiful YouTube links.
- Mental health. Do whatever makes you feel good. Listen to relaxing music, an audiobook, journal, do yoga, or anything else. The below is what I used 2-3X daily:
- www.zencrack.com – This is a wellness gadget that I describe as equal parts meditation, therapy, & hypnosis. Via binaural waves/brainwave entrainment, an impression is made deep on your subconscious and there are sessions for every aspect of what ails the human condition (my life has improved significantly since first learning of the device) but, specific to COVID, I listened to sessions focused on “immunity, healing, & relaxation.” & I can say that I was perfectly calm and lucid – while being able to manage both my and my mom’s care – during my active experience with COVID.
- In the “Avoid Getting COVID” blog, I talked about heat therapy and massage as preventative things one could do, and I want to reiterate: do not get massages or use a massager if you are running a fever. Similarly, I don’t know if baking in a sauna is your best life choice if already running a fever. Keywords: I don’t know.
- Get some basic life things in order. Now, this may depress some people but this is something that we should ALL do/have done before the thought of dying prematurely due to a global pandemic crosses our minds but see www.woopsidied.com for my personal approach.
- LASTLY, if you are seeing this towards the end of your experience with acute COVID…
- DO NOT RESUME AN (IF YOUR NORMAL) INFLAMMATORY DIET OR EXERCISE ROUTINE!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. They say that anywhere from 30-50% of people who get COVID – even the mildest case like I had – suffer from long haulers syndrome, and, as you will see in my blog, www.forlonghaulers.com, I suffered TREMENDOUSLY (like thinking I would never feel like myself again) for 10 MONTHS (which included 2 ER visits and plenty times where I thought I was going to die or, real talk, just wanted to be put out of my misery; note: I would NEVER do anything to myself but I also could not fathom that being the rest of my life.
- Accordingly, I recommend that people act like they COVID is still in their system (“viral debris” likely is plus your body just fought off a really serious infection) for the next 3-6 months; I truly believe that resuming my normal diet and intense exercise because I “felt back to normal/fine” right after my 2 weeks of quarantine set me on a path to suffer for much longer than I had to.
- For more information, see my blog mentioned above.
All that being said, none of the above is a comprehensive list nor is it any of it me suggesting that you heed my advice over that of a medical practitioner. Please do not do that. However, I believe that both my mom and I (see my full COVID #videoshare for the story) fared as well as we did through COVID and my mom after (she continued the supplements) because we were taking and doing everything that we did as she had pre-existing conditions and I’ve had lung health issues in the past (prone to bronchitis and even had full-blown lung surgery in 2012 following severe pneumonia where I had 1.5 liters of fluid on my left lung).
REQUEST: If you have derived any benefit from the above, I am kindly asking you to please consider making a small donation to my fundraising efforts here.(I am recovering financially from being a domestic violence survivor in a brief 3-month dating relationship in which I was held hostage and suffocated and then spent $60,000 in the legal battle and aftermath while also being laid off 5 times in 3 years). Again, as a “cosmic/energetic/spirtual/good karma” thank you for me taking the time/making the effort to do the #videoshare and all of these blogs which – while I am still recovering from COVID – took everything out of me to do. Any amount – no matter how small – helps and you can donate to the GoFundMe directly or, in order for me to avoid paying fees, via Paypal (pay as friend to paypal.me/smitamoon), Venmo (@SmitaC), Cash app ($smitamoon), or Facebook.
All funds will be going towards my COVID recovery, moving out of my home, and, hopefully, when I recover, my big dream of becoming a mom one day. p.s. – If you are a family friend/relative reading all of this and think, “I should actively reach out to Smita’s family – mom, dad, bro, or SIL – re: her having had COVID/how she is feeling to show I care,” thank you for your care, but PLEASE KINDLY DON’T. Everyone’s plates are full and heavy, and I assure you that we trust you are sending your love and care without actually sending it.
A few final things:
- If you are not the kind of person to doom scroll or obsess but want to see the experiences of those who are newly diagnosed or living through #longcovid/#longhaulers, then check out the following Facebook groups (sharing in order of my favorites): Coronavirus Experience and Recovery, Survivor Corps, Long Hauler Advocacy Project
- Other blogs I wrote on the topic: www.avoidgettingcovid.com, www.forlonghaulers.com, www.covidbrain.com, www.covidhairloss.com
- In addition to making a donation if you are able, please kindly consider sharing my #videoshare on Facebook or these blogs for the benefit of others. The more people we spare from getting COVID or suffering the worst should they get it/after getting it, the better it is for all of us, because – as I truly believe – “what happens to one of us happens to all of us.”
Thanks for taking the time to read and be and stay well,
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