Being Smart – And Self-Caring – If You Have COVID-19

sick person

Generally we try to keep things fairly light-hearted at The Weekly Grind, but it occurs to us that at the current rate of COVID-19 spread (at least here in the US), it might not hurt to address how to get through fighting off infection should it happen to you.

We hope that all of our customers are adhering to CDC guidelines and being as careful as possible (wearing a mask whenever you go out, washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds, etc.); that said, life these days is nothing if not unpredictable. Even those who believe they have taken every precaution have occasionally caught the coronavirus, so we thought it would be a good idea to put together a short list of things to do if it happens to you; and things to do to remain sane should you be fortunate enough not to become very sick, but still have to quarantine until you are no longer contagious. Even if your case is mild, it can be an enormously stressful experience and as you know, we are all about minimizing stress. So here are our recs... 

If you have coronavirus:

- The most important thing to do if you are experiencing possible symptoms (high fever, chills, body aches, etc. are all common, but things such as a sudden loss of taste and smell are frequent red flags) is get tested. Google for more info on where in your area that you might be able to get a free test, and contact your health care provider immediately for further advice.

- Many who contract COVID will be able to self-treat at home over the recommended 14-day period; however if your symptoms reach a certain level, then we would urge you to seek care to avoid a medical emergency. Please note, you don’t need to go to the hospital unless your are presenting severe symptoms; hospitals and healthcare workers are overwhelmed right now, so make sure that you are well educated and informed enough to make the right decision. However, if you experience an extremely high fever (ex. over 102°F) accompanied by shortness of breath, it may be time for further treatment. (Another great tip is to invest in a pulse oximeter; this tiny device costs less than $20 from Amazon, slides onto your fingertip and uses infrared light to measure your blood oxygen levels. If it dips below 90%, that means your body isn’t getting enough oxygen and you should seek medical attention.)

taking pills for illness

What can you do to feel better?:

- If you are experiencing mild to intermediate symptoms following a positive COVID test, be sure to isolate (yes, even from others you may live with; have them help you recover by bringing you what you might need, but avoid direct contact as much as possible) and do everything you can to treat the illness as it runs its course.

- Fever reducing over the counter medicines, though they aren’t going to speed up the process, can help immensely. There was some discussion early on in the pandemic that ibuprofen (ex. Advil) isn’t as effective as acetaminophen (ex. Tylenol) for treating COVID, but this has been disproven and it doesn’t hurt if that’s what you have on hand. (Generally, acetaminophen is most physicians' preferred OTC for fever reduction regardless of a person’s condition, so take that into account.)

- Unlike the case with a lot of illnesses, pushing fluids is not recommended with coronavirus treatment; healthcare workers have noted that some coronavirus patients are very sensitive to fluid overload. Sipping a hot cup of tea, etc. can obviously help if you are experiencing chills and a sore throat, but don’t chug multiple glasses of water per day. (An exception to this would be if you experience symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, in which case hydrating is recommended.)

- Breathing exercises and body positioning can also play a huge role in recovery; many physicians have recommended lying for extended periods of time in the prone position, on your stomach with your back up, to give your lungs space to expand and help with oxygenation. There are also breathing exercises which some healthcare providers swear by; this doctor at Queens’ Hospital in London went viral earlier this year with a how-to video – sourced from his nursing staff colleagues – on how to utilize labored breathing and coughing to stimulate your lung capacity and help with your recovery.

food delivery

If you are hanging in there, for goodness sake… treat yourself:

- One almost doesn't want to think in such terms with such a serious, potentially deadly virus, but if you are one of those who comes down with COVID but is fortunate enough not to have serious symptoms... goodness knows, you deserve to treat yourself well as you ride out this awful virus. One way to do so is by ordering some decent food; provided you aren't having upset stomach issues, make sure you are eating!  Contact-free delivery is an option these from all of the major food delivery aps, including Door Dash and Postmates... although since so many local restaurants are struggling, we would suggest that if your favorite restaurant offers free delivery themselves, use that method to order. (Food delivery apps, while convenient, also take a fee from restaurants; ordering directly means the restaurant gets all of your money.)

- Rest!  And did we mention REST?!  We understand, even if you are seriously under the weather, in today's climate of having minimal distractions outside the home that you can enagage in safely, filling your time seems like a chore. You might even be tempted, if you are currently working remotely, to push yourself to keep working while you are recovering from COVID.... please, folks. DON'T.  You need the time off to get yourself well, and chances are the work that you're going to do if you're fighting off a fever and awful symptoms isn't going to be your best. Make sure that you are getting plenty of sleep and you will be in the best position to recover quickly.

Wonder Woman 1984; (c) Warner Bros. Pictures

Last but not least.... a few fun distractions!

- If there is one thing that having to stay home has taught us, it is that the era of streaming has more options than we could have ever dreamed of. There's a lot of stuff to watch if you are stuck at home, and some of it is pretty darn great!  We're not even going to begin to dive into the myriad shows and movies you could catch up on, but a couple of tips; One, Amazon Prime probably has the best most eclectic streaming catalog, with forgotten 70's and 80's movies, classic game shows and weird things like Sprocket Flicks' catalog of vintage drive-in reels, B-movies and PSAs from your childhood. Crazy! Also don't know if you heard, but a certain massive superhero movie is dropping on HBO Max on Christmas Day. We'll all be watching Wonder Woman 1984 as our present to ourselves, and recommend that you do too... ;) 

- It's also not a bad idea to explore the time-wasting options of gaming on your phone. Look, under normal circumstances it might *seem* like a time-waster, but if you are hunkered down trying to make yourself well and you just need something fun to pass the time – it is time!  There are loads of fun games to explore; if you're into more complex gaming experiences and particularly if you are a Star Wars fan, Galaxy of Heroes is loads of fun, plus it offers an auto setting so all you have to worry about is building up your characters; they'll battle each other once you hit "go." (And before you ask... yes, they added The Mandalorian recently. ;) ).  Meanwhile, if you're just looking to pass the time in the most relaxing way, we can't recommend Happy Color enough. What is it about coloring that remains the most chill, calming thing since you were using coloring books when you were five?!

- Now is also a good opportunity to give your eyeballs a well-earned rest and just turn off those screens for once. When was the last time you cracked open a book?! – hopefully sooner rather than later, but still here are some tremendous books to enjoy at the moment. Fiction titans John Grisham, James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks all have New York Times best-sellers out at the moment. Our favorite book recommendation, however, is legendary anchor Dan Rather's What Unites Us, a collection of essays about our history and patriotism that, after such a tumultous year, is a real balm for the soul.

We hope that this litany of tips will give you a handle on your road to recovery, should you find yourself having to battle coronavirus; that said, our most fervent with is that every one of you remain safe and healthy this holiday season! Do your part to protect yourself and your loved ones and neighbors; wear a mask at all times when venturing out, and wash your hands as much as possible. Maintain social distancing, and hopefully we'll get through into a much safer and happier 2021!


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