Thank you to all who have shared my story—I hope that it will help others. I’ve received messages from people who read my story and shared with me that they are experiencing a similar progression of symptoms. Many people were denied testing and only told to self-quarantine with no advice on how to treat their symptoms–which is unsettling, especially if they may have COVID-19.
I know that at Stanford, I currently have access to some of the best medical care. I’ve moved around quite a bit and have lived in enough places to know long before COVID-19 that not everyone is as fortunate.
As a research university, the doctors at Stanford are always learning and are on the frontier of medicine. They also always take their time with their patients to thoroughly explain in detail what is happening, what they know, and, more importantly, what isn’t yet known. I know many people in our country do not have access to this type of care under normal circumstances. As we are trying to keep the healthcare system from being overloaded, many people will not be able to see a doctor unless they are in critical condition.
I am not a doctor, and the personal account I am sharing is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
That being said, I am sharing the printout of at-home care directions I was given upon my discharge, as well as the regime I followed as soon as I began having symptoms and temperature over 99.5* F.
My 7 Step Regime for dealing with COVID-19
1) I started taking Tylenol every 4-6 hours like clockwork but made sure the total dose not exceeding 3,000 milligrams per day.
Doing this keeps any fever down as well as inflammation in the airways. My doctor told me that it was one of the smartest things I could have done, and he directed me to continue taking Tylenol every 4-6 hours. I was told even if I “felt better,” to not stop taking it until all my symptoms and temperature returned to normal (under 99.4).
I don’t know if it made a difference or not, but due to allergies, I cannot take NSAIDs (Advil, Ibuprofen). It hasn’t been proven out scientifically yet, but doctors in France recently reported to WHO that they are observing that patients who took Ibuprofen at the early onset of COVID-19 symptoms had more severe respiratory issues later.
2) I have a history of allergy and altitude-induced asthma, but I rarely need to use my inhaler. My doctor instructed me to take my inhaler every 4 hours, regardless if I felt like I need it or not.
I was also told to never use a nebulizer–it literally spreads the virus through the air.
3) My doctor told me to drink a lot of tea with honey, especially since access to cough medicine is currently at a limited supply where I live.
I still drink at least eight cups of tea with honey in it every day and have been doing that for the last month. I also make sure that any tea I drink does not interact with the aspirin I take. Here is a shortlist that is helpful in what not to drink while taking Tylenol: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12472978)
4) When I began coughing more and felt slight wheezing in my breathing, I started sleeping at an elevated angle. When my symptoms were at their worst, I slept sitting up. It helped with the breathing and reduced the coughing.
5) Sleep / rest as much as you can. I think I slept for nearly 20-22 hours for several days when I was at the worst.
6) My doctor told me it was essential to stay hydrated. The tea-drinking helped a lot. I also drank a pint of Pedialyte a day. Since I lost my appetite and couldn’t eat, I drank chicken broth as well.
7) It is crucial to disinfect every surface in your house daily; multiple times for things you touch frequently. It is also essential to continue to wash your hands diligently and rigorously for a minimum of 20 seconds regularly.
COVID19 stays alive on surfaces, and you can reinfect yourself even after your symptoms have gone away. Harvard and Stanford both document that COVID19 can remain alive in the air for 3 hours, 24 hours on cardboard, 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel.
My discharge papers from Stanford contained specific information on how to clean and disinfect my home from surfaces to linens and towels. I’ve included images of the instructions at the bottom of this post.
A study out of Wuhan, China, has recorded that patients carry the infection and remain contagious 37 days after surviving COVID-19, which is another reason why it is so important to disinfect things regularly and remain in isolation. read the study here
Lastly, my doctor told me to not second guess or belittle my symptoms should they come back. I was told that if my breathing issues ever became worse, I should call them and immediately head back in.