I have no idea how this happened, but I got Covid. I'm one who rarely leaves the house. I work at home; I've been out to dinner exactly once since May; I don't get takeout; I wear a mask anytime I'm in a public place, and I've always been a religious hand-washer the second I walk in the house.
So imagine my dismay when I woke up with a slight cough, headache, and body aches a few weeks ago.
Fortunately, my case was fairly mild. But I had pretty much all of the symptoms. It's been a little over 2 weeks, and I'm feeling so much better. Also, my most recent test came back negative, so I think I'm brimming with antibodies. Yay me!
So many people have been asking what it was like, so I thought I'd share my experience, especially about my weirdest symptom - a horrible, itchy Covid skin rash.
I also wanted to share the supplement protocol I used. While it's not considered a cure, I do think made my respiratory symptoms almost non-existent.
Please note - this post is not meant to be medical advice. If you think you have symptoms of Covid-19, please talk to your doctor. As we all know, there is presently no proven cure, and any research on supplements for Covid-19 is preliminary.
My Covid-19 Experience
I woke up around 11:00 am on a Saturday. Yes, I am a sleeper, but 11:00?? that's very late, even for me. Despite all that sleep, I still felt tired all day. I also had a headache, and a slight cough, with tightness in my chest when I took a very deep breath. I wouldn't say I was "sick" but something was off because even though it was a beautiful day, I couldn't even think of going for my usual walk.
I woke up with the same symptoms, but I felt worse by late afternoon. The headache wouldn't let up, and I had body aches and fatigue. The cough was minimal, but it definitely hurt to take a very deep breath. I also felt chilled, as though a fever was coming on around dinnertime. I can't tell you the last time I had a fever, and I don't even own a thermometer. Luckily, my meat thermometer did the trick. It was 100.4. Un oh.
I suspected Covid, so I started on a supplement protocol I've seen published in an integrative medicine journal. Here's what it entails:
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D supports your immune system by reducing inflammatory cytokines and stimulates macrophages (the white blood cells that eat up harmful substances in your body)
- Vitamin C: This vitamin also stimulates your immune defenses. Some evidence suggests it might help prevent and treat respiratory infections.
- Zinc: This mineral also supports your immune response. And, it may reduce the severity of respiratory symptoms.
- NAC - N-acetylcysteine: NAC is an antioxidant that protects your liver, and also supports lung health. It may help loosen mucus and can possibly reduce inflammation in the lungs. Studies suggest it might limit the colonization of virus cells and reduce the severity and duration of illness.
- Quercetin: Quercetin is a plant compound with anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. Some research suggests it supports preventing and fighting respiratory infections.
I'm not suggesting that these supplements can prevent, treat, or cure Covid-19 or any other infection. They are, however, relatively safe for most people to take at these doses for a short time (a few weeks or so).
Days 3 and 4:
I felt pretty miserable and stayed in bed most of the day. Symptoms were much the same, mostly that headache that wouldn't let up, a low-grade fever on and off, no appetite, and extreme fatigue.
Monday evening I made some soup out of chicken stock, carrots, and rice, but I couldn't eat it because it tasted burnt (?). I also tried eating an orange, but that tasted more like a sweet grapefruit... Yep, I realized my tastebuds were affected.
On Monday night I was lying in bed and my arms suddenly got very itchy. As I was scratching I felt bumps all along the inside of my arms. I turned on the light to see what was going on and realized my arms and torso were covered in a red, bumpy rash. I panicked, as I thought maybe I had the mumps and not Covid.
A quick search however, did tell me that bumpy, itchy skin rashes (and something called Covid toes - which I did not get) are indeed related to Covid. Here's an article about it from the American Academy of Dermatology Association.
And here's what my arms (and the rest of my torso and thighs) looked like in the morning.
Days 5 through 7:
The Covid skin rash was seriously driving me crazy.
My other symptoms were getting better. My fever was gone, my lungs felt fine, my tastebuds came back, my headache was more on and off, and I was out of bed, showering, and even doing a little bit of work. However, I was still tired and kind of foggy.
I can't say if my respiratory and flu-like symptoms were better because of the supplements or not, but I was definitely feeling better, and I cut back the doses on my Vitamin D and zinc (too much of those isn't good). But the rash... OMG.
By day 5, my skin rash morphed into this:
It was all over my inner arms, front of my thighs, torso, back of my neck, and bottom of my scalp. And I couldn't stop the itching! Hydrocortisone cream helped at night and I started taking an antihistamine and Tylenol too just so I could sleep.
Days 8 through 10
I still had the rash, but I also had a new symptom (which I can't say was related to Covid, or working on my laptop while lying in bed). My sciatic nerve was causing a terrible achy pain down my legs and across the front of my hips. My sciatic nerve does bother me from time to time when I lift weights incorrectly or sit for a long time, but this pain felt different. It was a relentless achiness that wouldn't go away no matter what I did.
I couldn't find anything about that specific nerve pain related to Covid, but I did read a few articles that suggested it can affect your nerves in various ways. Some people suffer serious and long-term neurological damage from this virus.
During my hours spent in Googling symptoms and research on Covid, I kept coming up with a website called the Covid Symptom Study. This is a research study from ZOE, a health science company, Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital, and King's College in London. They're asking people to log onto the app every day and just report your symptoms, so they can track what's going on, how long it lasts, etc. They also have some great information about the virus symptoms on their website.
I highly encourage you to download the app and report if you have Covid, or have longer lasting symptoms.
Days 11 through 14
According to the CDC's website, you're OK to go out 10 days after you first have symptoms (unless you had a very severe case) and you've been fever-free for at least 24 hours. Still, it took me until day 14 to feel like myself again and have enough energy to get back to my usual routine.
As I write this, I'm on day 17 and I feel pretty much back to normal. And yes, the rash is gone!
Wear Your Mask and support your immune system!
I'm 58, and in good health. On one hand, I'm glad I got it over with and hopefully have some antibodies to carry me until I can get a vaccine. But Covid was no cakewalk, and I wouldn't want to go through it again.
The scariest part of this virus is that it affects everyone differently. There's a huge range of symptoms, and even if you do get off easy - no one is sure if there are long-term effects.
So here's my friendly reminder: Always wear a mask when you're around other people. Wash your hands frequently. And do everything you can to support a healthy immune system. That includes:
- Eating a healthy whole foods diet (skip the sugar, alcohol, and processed foods)
- Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night
- Exercising regularly
- Managing your stress
- Ask your healthcare provider if you should take any medications or supplements
Did you have Covid? How was your experience?