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my Covid 19 experience

I write this purely in the hope that it will help those suffering from Covid 19 at home right now to cope a little better. It’s my story, my observations and my tips on how I got through it. The things I did that definitely helped me cope emotionally and psychologically and I believe helped me make a strong physical recovery too.

The message we constantly hear on tv and media is quite rightly focused on urging people to stay home in order to save lives and I understand how crucial it is to get this message across…but when you are actually sitting at home having already caught the virus this message gives zero comfort. It’s too late for you… you’ve already caught the virus…

… You are at the very least a little frightened and very possibly absolutely terrified for your life due to the aforementioned media messages and there is very little in the way of comfort out there.

So firstly let’s just say the truth. The vast majority of people only suffer mild or moderate symptoms of Covid 19 and there are by far more people recovering from this virus than there are losing their lives from it. You must take some comfort from that…

I started writing this on day 11 of my virus ‘journey’ it’s now day 21 and this blog will be published on day 23. I can report that I am now fully recovered in body, mind and spirit.

It’s around a 9 minute read, here’s a brief outline:-

  • How did I catch it?
  • Have I been tested?
  • My Symptoms.
  • When to call for help.
  • Peoples Reactions.
  • Tips on Getting Better.
  • What do you have faith in when you don’t have medicine or religion?

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Covid 19 virus symptoms

How did I catch it?

Like most virus sufferers I simply can’t be sure. I suspect I caught it whilst travelling home from Southampton to Scotland on Monday 23rd March. I was on a coach full of people some of whom were coughing and we also made several service station stops…

It was on the evening of this day that the UK Government announced the country would go into lockdown. In fact I listened to this chilling announcement on the radio as I drew up to my home. By the Thursday of that week, just 3 days later, I was experiencing my first symptoms…

Have I Been Tested?

Thankfully no, because in the UK that would mean I was in hospital, a place I didn’t want to end up in.

However. because I was still experiencing symptoms on day 8 and my breathing was getting quite bad I did call NHS 111 who arranged for the Covid 19 unit doctor to give me a call back. She confirmed that in her opinion I had the virus.

Apart from that I just know. I felt ill, I had a cough, I had a fever and most tellingly I couldn’t breathe properly.

I will just mention here that I have had bacterial pneumonia before, 18 years ago. Because of this I did suspect that if I caught the virus I would probably get some of the uncomfortable breathing symptoms.

I look forward to getting a test, when it becomes available, to say that I’ve had the virus and hopefully that I now have immunity to it.

My Symptoms

Most of my symptoms were fairly mild except for the shortness of breath which I believe the doctors would classify as moderate and getting near to severe. It’s at this point that they take you in for assessment. It’s this near escape that’s left me feeling blessed and grateful to be alive,

Click here to discover the severity of your symptoms, The article I’m linking to describes moderate, severe and critical symptoms but also links to their article describing asymptomatic and mild symptoms. Most people have mild or moderate symptoms of Covid 19.

  • Cough – yes it started off as a wet cough though and developed into a dry one by about day 3/4. My coughing symptoms were mild.
  • Temperature/fever – I had no thermometer to measure my temperature and it was , hard to tell as a 53 year old women what’s a fever and what’s a hot flush at first. As the virus got worse I soon found out the difference. My worst fever was during the night coming into day 9. I woke up soaking in sweat, and had to remove my nightie. It seems that was the peak of my fever, I started to get better after that.
  • Shortness of breath – This was by far my worst symptom. Judging from the article I linked to above I was definitely in the moderate zone for breathing. I first noticed it around Day 3/4. When I did anything in the house like going to the toilet or making some food I felt like I had just stopped moderate exercise you know kind of lumpy at the top of the breath. In the end I was getting out out of breath just taking a shower. I was fine when resting. Compared to when I had the pneumonia before though my breath wasn’t that short, I never got to a stage where I couldn’t take almost a full breath. Luckily it never got to Pneumonia.
  • Tiredness – Yes I felt tired most of the time although this wasn’t extreme for me. I normally had a nap mid afternoon. My daughter who is 21 and also had the virus felt the tiredness as her main symptom.
  • Headaches– Yes and ouch. I’ve had a notable headache which starts at the base of my head to the left side and spreads up the side of my face. It’s truly a horrible headache. When I press the base of my head I can feel it like a nerve pain that spreads up. Thankfully that’s getting less, but that pain did revisit me again yesterday which was day 11. Update: I can now reveal on day 21 that this has gone completely.
  • Heart rate increased – I was keeping an eye on this on my Apple Watch. My normal healthy and fully fit self has a resting of around 58bpm. Every day I was watching this increase a lot. My resting got to 85bpm. and then I decided to take my watch off as it was just causing me more anxiety. The night I took it off was the critical night Day 8/9 after which I started to get better. I’m on day 11/12 now and my resting bpm is 67 so I’m definitely getting better. Update: it’s day 21 now and my bpm is back to 58.
  • Grucky throat – this is how it all started for me. I wasn’t sure I had the virus then because the symptom was advised as a dry cough. One thing I did know was that it was attacking my upper respiratory system and it quickly moved down to my chest. I could feel it.
  • Nausea – On days 4-7 I was feeling a little nauseous especially on waking.
  • Loss of appetite – I made myself eat good food but I definitely had a drop off in appetite.
  • I’ve completely went off dark chocolate – 😂 I’m laughing but this is no laughing matter. Dark chocolate was my life. I ate it strong and unsweetened. Pretty soon around day 3 I stopped having my cocoa and then my raw brownie stopped because they were making me feel unwell. I think the chocolate was congesting me so my body said NO. It’s Day 11 now and I still can’t face eating it. Update: – day 21 I’m back in love with my dark chocolate😀
  • Loss of smell/taste – I didn’t lose my taste but I’ve noticed my smell isn’t quite normal. Day 21 and everything is back to normal.
  • Slight Loss of Hearing – I most definitely could not hear as well as normal. I thought maybe I was imagining it but last night day 12 I was woken in the night by my right ear popping..!!!
  • Bunged up – although there is nothing bunging you up , it’s like all your sinus and breathing tissues are swelling up, so sometimes it gets difficult to nose breathe even though there’s no mucus blocking it up.
coronavirus tips on coping

When to Call for Help

Of course YOU MUST follow NHS (or your countries official medical body) advice for this but I just wanted to point out the following:-

If your breathing is starting to struggle at all you should call for medical advice right away.

I don’t feel the literature that’s out there necessarily leads you to this conclusion. I didn’t do this because I understood the advice to be call NHS 111 if you are still suffering symptoms after 7 days and so on day 8 I called.. meaning I suffered the breathing symptoms for around 4 days without seeking help..

Calling for help doesn’t mean they will come and take you to hospital they will simply assess you over the phone and advise you further.

Even though my breathing had gotten quite bad (to the moderate stage) when I called NHS 111, they still left me at home with the instruction ‘if it gets any worse call us and we will take you in for assessment.”

Peoples Reactions

If someone tells you they have the virus please believe them.

there’s nothing worse than someone telling you ‘maybe its a cold’ when you feel like you’re life is threatened…

Tips For Getting Better

Don’t Panic!

I wouldn’t allow myself to contemplate going in to hospital. Getting critically sick is NOT AN OPTION FOR YOU. Non-negotiable, not going to happen. Throw it out of your mind, if you have to use distractions then do so.

We watched back to back Disney movies on Disney plus for 4 days in a row.

Just single mindedly concentrate on healing yourself.

Always breathe through your nose.

Even though you don’t have any mucus your nose may feel bunged up at times. It’s better if you keep trying to breathe through the nose.

  • It has a calming effect.
  • The sinus contains nitric oxide which makes it easier for our body to transport oxygen where it needs to go , it is also anti fungal, antiviral, antiparasitic and antibacterial.
  • The nose filters out bacteria and warms breath before reaching the lungs.
  • Nose breathing delivers exactly the correct amount of oxygen we need. We take far too much in through the mouth causing us to hyperventilate. We do not need to be hyperventilating when suffering from Covid 19.

Click here to read my blog post on Buteyko Breating and the importance of nose breathing in general.

Raw Honey

This may have been a placebo effect but taking a teaspoon of raw honey made me feel good. I could feel it going down my throat and it felt nice. I felt like I was actively doing something, like taking a medicine that was helping me and this helped keep my mood up.

Of course raw, unpasteurised honey is known to have medicinal properties. Of particular interest to Covid 19 patients – It’s a known cough suppressant and is an immune system booster. It certainly won’t do you any harm. Click here to read a short, succinct article on the benefits of raw, unpasteurised honey.

Important – I AM NOT claiming that raw honey will cure Covid 19, just that it made me feel better.

I buy my raw, unpasteurised honey from Amazon. The brand is called ‘Local Honey Man”. It’s the real deal and I’ve been having it delivered during lockdown with no problems. (note: I do not have affiliate links with any other company, I’m simply recommending what I use myself.)

Green (or purple) Juice with Ginger

A green juice every morning is a normal part of my daily routine but when I was sick with Covid 19 it felt like medicine. I think feeling the zing of the ginger go down my throat and into my chest was particularly helpful.

Actually when I had the virus I just happened to have purple cabbages in the house so my green juice was purple during this time.

Here’s what I put in my juice:-

  • 1 apple
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 small serving of broccoli
  • 3 inch wedge of cabbage and/or 2 handfuls of spinach or kale

Again it might have been a placebo effect but the psychological and emotional boost it gave me was helpful and that’s good enough.

It’s all about helping yourself get through and keeping positive.

That aside, eating a healthy, nutrient rich diet is on doctors orders to recover from ALL illness and medical conditions. Nothing quite delivers those nutrients like raw fruit and vegetables.

Rest and Relax but Try and Stand Up Often

You must rest and leave your body free to fix itself even if you only have mild symptoms. I suspect our own UK Prime Minister should have heeded this advice but thankfully he is on the mend now.

If you continue to work, work out or stress your body in any way during even a mild dose of any illness you risk making it worse. Your body cannot do its very best job of making you better if you give it numerous other tasks to contend with at the same time.

Let your body concentrate on just healing you.

With that said, it is also important that you stand up regularly and walk about the house. Even better a gentle walk about the garden.

Get fresh air and day light regularly too even if you just stick your head out of the window.

Keep Eating

how to eat healthy with Covid 19

You will probably have a dip in your appetite but it’s important to keep eating and to eat the best quality food you can get your hands on. Now is not the time for processed food and takeaways.

Feed your body with protein, healthy carbohydrates (click for more) and healthy fats and oils (click for more), nuts, seeds plus plentiful fruit and vegetables. I upped my raw fruit intake hugely while I was sick, it’s what my body was telling me it wanted so I obeyed. I’ve actually continued with this craving and am still eating more raw whole fruit than before I got the virus, I guess my body needs it,. Cl

ick here for a more in-depth look at what I eat

What do you have faith in when you don’t have medicine or religion?

Here’s the thing… I’d had bacterial pneumonia before, 18 years ago, long before I started my healthy lifestyle. It was bad but I did have medication that I knew was making me better at the time. I had anti-biotics to fight the bacteria and 2 inhalers for my breathing difficulties. I wasn’t hospitalised but I knew if I got worse they could take me into hospital and probably make me better.

With this virus, that option is not there. There’s no medicine and if they take you into hospital there’s a chance that they can’t make you better.

I’m not a religious person but I did manage to keep the faith throughout being sick I would say to about 99%. There was 1% of me that was absolutely sh…..g myself, I’m not gonna lie. The thing is…

… Losing it with this thing is really not a good idea. When you loose it you start to hyperventilate and hyperventilating is not a good idea when you can’t breathe well in the first place.

So without religion and without medicine where was I getting my strength and resolve from What was keeping me positive…

I Had Faith in Myself and My Body

The thing is. I knew my body couldn’t have been in any better shape to fight off the virus.

I’ve been living an extremely healthy lifestyle for around 8 years now and I took a lot of comfort in that because if that’s not enough then I dont know what is.

I’m not talking about running around being superfit and excercising hours and hours a day. That is something I did used to do as a dance teacher and in actual fact luckily I saw the light there and lessened the amount of excercise I do per week to moderate levels. An exhausted body cannot fight illness.

I’m talking about having that balanced, all round health from eating whole foods, not poisoning my body and ensuring I get the right balance of sleep, relaxation and excercise and play. In short, I’ve really been looking after myself well and so I had faith in my body and mind to fight back and defend itself.

I’d be happy to answer any questions, thoughts or comments just pop them in the comments section below or follow me on instagram or facebook and we can chat on there.

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4 thoughts on “Covid 19: My Experience and Tips for Coping at Home with the Virus

  1. Debi says:

    Thank you so much for your in-depth information on how you survived COVID-19. If I do happen to get it, I’ll be right back on this post- following your suggestions to the letter! So glad you’re better, my friend!

  2. shona hagan says:

    Hey Debi let’s hope you don’t get it 😘

  3. Taylor says:

    Thank you for sharing Shona. You described it very well. The fear is not being able to see a GP and get help. It really felt like a living nightmare. Sharing a house with my husband was even worst. I couldn’t even use the same bathroom, which wasn’t a problem as I really codnt get out of bed. The joint pain and fatigue is still there and it’s called the long Covid. Basically they have no idea how long it will last and what else is damaged. So glad you’re back to your sparkly self.

    1. shona hagan says:

      Yes it was a very scary experience and like you say the lack of medical care was the pits. We all had it in my house so no problems there. I’m so sorry you are having longer term effects. The body is an amazing thing, I hope it puts itself right for you sooner rather than later. Thanks for reaching out and sharing with me. Xxx

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