What to expect when contracting Covid-19

What to expect when you contract Covid-19

This is a description of the average journey of a Covid patient, not one with severe complications that needs hospitalization.

The 3-4 days before you actually show symptoms, you are already contagious.

This makes it difficult to ‘isolate’ a patient from family members, because by the time the person is tested and diagnosed, he/she probably had plenty contact with the people around them and have infected them too. When should family members test? See under please note at the end of the article. Person with covid should isolate immediately under strict quarantine and not go to work/shops/friends/gym etc. Stay at home.

Symptoms appear from the third day after infection (viral symptoms)

Note: Symptoms may take 3-14 days to appear, but mostly it’s 3 days.
During the 1st phase you might experience:

  • Not feeling well
  • Feeling feverish
  • Sweating
  • Body pain
  • Eye pain
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose or nasal congestion
  • Burning eyes
  • Burning when urinating
  • Scuffed throat (sore throat)
  1. It is very important to count the days of symptoms: 1st, 2nd, 3rd – to keep track of how long you need to isolate.
  2. Take action immediately if you start feeling off – get tested. Remember fewer people get flu in summer. If you have fluish symptoms in the middle of summer- it’s can be Covid-19.
  3. Make sure you have medication to combat the symptoms – HOME DELIVERY OF MEDS IS BEST
  4. Isolate yourself and notify possible contacts.
  5. It is very important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water to keep your throat moist

Suggestions of self-medication that are helpful to combat symptoms:

  • Efferflu C (contains Vit C & Zinc) or Vitamin C & Zinc tablets or Lintagon
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamin E (Natural blood thinner)
  • ACC200 effervescent tablets (thins mucus in lungs)
  • Ecotrin or Disprin ( acts as bloodthinner)
  • Valoid for nausea
  • Immodium for diarrhoea
  • Pain reliever

Note the PH of the Covid-19 virus is 5.5 – 8.5. It is best to eat more alkaline foods to fight the virus. Examples of alkaline foods are:

Bananas, Green limes, Yellow lemons, Avocado, Garlic, Mango, Tangerine, Pineapple, Wtercress, Oranges

2nd phase (from 4th to 8th day) inflammatory symptoms.

  • Loss of taste and / or smell with no appetite
  • Sweating / fever
  • Fatigue with minimal effort
  • Chest pain (rib cage)
  • Tightening of the chest
  • Pain in the lower back (in the kidney area)
  • Coughing – severe

The virus attacks nerve endings  and can cause your skin to feel very sensitive.
The difference between fatigue and shortness of breath:

  • Lack of air is when the person is sitting – without making any effort – and is out of breath;
  • Fatigue is when the person moves around to do something simple and feels tired.
  • The patient feels very ill and very tired – most say the worst they ever felt.

How to treat:

Over-the-counter medications won’t shorten the length of the illness but may be helpful for mild upper respiratory symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat; and nasal and sinus congestion.

  • Painkillers for head aches , body aches and fever.
  • Effervescent tablets that have analgesic, antipyretic, antihistaminic and decongestant properties.
  • Echinaforce, Vitamin C and Zinc to boost your immune system
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Drink lots of water to hydrate.
  • Eat what you can – protein shakes, fruit, chicken soup. Warm foods and drinks are the best.
  • Rooibos tea with milk & honey / lemon & honey is soothing for a sore throat or couging.
  • Steam inhalations twice a day to keep mucus thin
    • To steam heat water in a pot on the stove. Add Eucalyptus leaves, crushed garlic, sliced ginger, lemon peels. Put a towel over your head and breathe in the steam for at least 5-10 times.

Note if you struggle to breathe – time to go to the hospital

Covid-19 binds oxygen, so the quality of the blood is poor, with less oxygen.

It’s a good idea to have a oximeter in the house which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. A pulse oximeter is an accurate instrument for checking pulse rate and the saturation of peripheral oxygen (SpO2) in the blood. The product is suitable for being used at home and just clips on a finger or toe to measure the oxygen levels in the blood. In Covid patients the oxygen levels falls as they struggle to breathe.

Typically, more than 89 percent of your blood should be carrying oxygen. An oxygen saturation level of 95 percent is considered normal for most healthy individuals. A person with a level of 85 would already need oxygen to prevent tissue damage. If it drops to 80 – get to a hospital immediately.

With hospitals overwhelmed an oximeter is an quick easy way to check a patient at home to determine whether they should go to hospital or whether they can recuperate at home.

3rd phase – healing

On day 9, the healing phase begins, which can last until day 14 (convalescence).

  • Some people lose their smell or taste for months. Tiredness comes and goes.
  • Be patient with yourself and try to live a healthy as possible by eating healthy foods, get some exercise daily and sleep enough.

How do you know you might have Covid-19 ?

  •  Itchy throat
  • Dry throat
  • Dry cough
  • High temperature
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of smell and taste

Please note:

1. Don’t phone an ambulance when you had contact with someone who has Covid. (Sounds weird – but that is what people in South Africa do). The paramedics can’t do anything for you unless have severe breathing difficulty. Since most hospitals in SA are full and on divert ( they turn all patients away and there is no where to take you) , most Covid patients now have to stay at home.

2. Stay at home – isolate and wait till you develop symptoms. Don’t rush off to get tested immediately.  It can take almost a week after exposure to COVID-19 to register a positive test result. Evidence suggests that testing tends to be less accurate within three days of exposure, and the best time to get tested is five to seven days after you were exposed.


If you need to chat to a counsellor becuase of excessive fear or the need of more information:


This is a text based helpline and you may remain anonymous.



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