How to “Beat” COVID-19: The Signs & The List

Moving from room-to-room, I tried to find something to smell. Anything. The peppermint essential oil that I had pulled out of my vanity and should refresh a person at one whiff, did nothing for me. It should also have evoked the warm feeling of Starbucks in December. It didn’t.

I moved onto a bath salt that I could use in my warming bathwater- the running faucet seemed a little fuzzy in the background because my head was pretty foggy from what I thought was a hefty, late summer cold. Complete with the chills, which is normal for me with a sinus infection. The bath salt I was trying to use is this gorgeous layered vanilla and macadamia nut scent combined with a touch of fragrant gardens. I discovered it when we were in Florida last winter. It normally makes you feel like a million bucks or that you actually have a million bucks. Nada in the olfactory department after getting out that bottle.

Finally, I brought in the big guns and called on my husband.

“Can you bring me the Apple Cider Vinegar?”

He brought it into the master bathroom and I took in a deep breath, my nostrils burning from what should have been a fairly acrid smell thanks to a pretty potent liquid. But I wasn’t able to smell anything.

And that’s the moment I knew I had COVID-19. My stomach dropped and I knew I had to go get a test the next morning.

My husband got it a week later and so did my oldest son.

Yes, this is a COVID-19 blog. Probably pretty unoriginal. I actually didn’t go to Google to see how many people are writing about this. I just knew that I needed to write it because you need an honest, transparent assessment of the virus and that’s what you’ll always get from me.

At its’ worst COVID-19 looked like a sinus infection to me. And the worst of it lasted two nights. For my husband, it looked like the flu and lasted for five nights. My oldest son could barely tell he had it. One night he had a headache, another he was sniffly, and on another day he had diarrhea. That’s something to note, so don’t glaze over that last mention. All of us had digestive issues in combination with allergy-like symptoms at the start of the virus.

We’re fortunate that we’re fairly healthy and I credit that for us being able to recover fairly easily. We’re not immuno-compromised either. My husband also works with a lot of smart doctors, one that works in the infectious disease world- so that’s been extremely helpful as well.

But beyond being fairly healthy and connected to the health care community, I believe we followed the list you’re about to read in a way that helped us get better… faster.

I call it my “COVID-19 Stuff” list and I consider it a breakdown of must-haves for fighting the virus. I’ve shared it with my family and friends, and now I’m sharing it with you.

  • Bottled water (we normally just use reusable bottles, but this will make sense later)
  • Daily vitamin, make sure it includes zinc
  • Take a turmeric pill one to two times a day
  • Mucinex DM (not D) for when you’re stuffed up and draining
  • Take Tylenol for bad headaches.
  • Take Advil/Ibuprofen for overall flu-like symptoms (suggested by one of the doctors we know- the one that specializes in infectious diseases.)
  • Vaporub or Peppermint Essential Oil blended with Fractionated Coconut Oil (put this on your chest and feet at night and then sock up! I know. I hate sleeping with socks too. But it works.)
  • Have a thermometer on hand and rubbing alcohol to clean it off.
  • Use a Neti Pot with distilled water daily. I know some people really dislike it, but it helps immeasurably.
  • Take an Epsom Salt Bath one time a day. I usually did it in the evening. I added 5-8 drops of Siberian Fir oil for relaxation and its’ anti-anxiety properties. Because let’s be real, this thing can give you some anxiety once you know you have it.
  • Add Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder to that bottle of water (or something like it, this has a 100% daily dose of Vitamin C) and drink it first thing in the morning.

I did all of these things daily and the virus never moved aggressively from my upper respiratory tract to my chest. Yes, I couldn’t breathe out of my nose because there was A LOT of snot. But it didn’t impact my lungs. I was told by that infectious disease doc that once I had trouble breathing through my lungs, to immediately go to the ER. Thankfully, I never had to go.

I’ve shared this journey in 280 characters on Twitter for the last twenty days because information is truly power, I’ve always believed that in my life as a journalist and communicator.

I was diagnosed officially twenty days ago, my symptoms started twenty-five days ago. I was released from isolation by Franklin County Public Health on August 29th and have been living my normal, socially distanced life. I still can’t smell much and my taste is very bland as well. It could take weeks for that to come back from what I’ve read. But tonight I made the simplest dinner at home and I could almost just taste it! And that beautiful bath salt is ever-so-faintly coming back into my scent pick-up as well.

There have been some weird experiences with heart flutters, nothing painful- just “twinges” as I’ve called it. I’m following up with my doc on that even though I haven’t experienced any lately. I’ve also had some spotty headaches and fatigue has weighed me down too.

Until yesterday!

I cleaned my house until 11:15 last night and I kayaked today and I’m still up and going. It feels like a major corner has been turned.

Thanks to all of you who have asked questions, who’ve said a prayer for me, or just checked in to make sure I was doing okay. Your caring words and the fact that I was proactive in addressing the virus helped me beat it. And my husband and son are also completely on the mend.

I hope I’ve helped dispel some fear and given you a dose of what this can look like in reality for a healthy person. I know that a few people I don’t know have encouraged a family member to get a test after sending me a DM or two and I’m extremely grateful to be here to answer those messages and to have those people taking the tests. I will continue to be a resource if you need me!

I’ll still continue to share on Twitter if I have health updates regarding the virus. But for now, I think this is the end of the daily reports because- I feel good!

Take the virus seriously, guys. The earlier you address it when you have it, the better it will turn out.