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What it feels like to catch COVID-19 

We are in the midst of a global pandemic but don’t really expect to catch COVID-19 as we follow the rules and do everything we can to stay safe. Hands, Face, Space! 

December and early January have been a bit of write off for us, as we tested positive for COVID-19. We are now returning to a sense of normality. We have had lots of questions on what it feels like to catch COVID-19, how we recovered, what we ate/drank, how long does it last etc, etc. We have tried to cover as many of the questions we have had and what helped us. 

Just to give you some background/context, I tend to work from home, unless I am onboarding new stores (outside of lockdown), helping stores with photography or returning/collecting items for photo shoots. I wear a mask when out in public and the majority of people I come into contact with also where face coverings/mask. Whereas my husband is a secondary school teacher, and was really happy schools were open and children were able to continue with their education… but working without PPE/masks he is at risk and the likely source!  

At the end of November (whilst we were in second lockdown and schools were still open) some of the children and staff at my husband’s school (in his year bubble) tested positive and the school sensibly took the decision to close the school and everyone isolate/teach from home for the next two weeks. 

A week into teaching from home, the first week after November’s lockdown he began to feel unwell and thought it was best to get tested.  

The early symptoms he experienced were headache, feeling cold, a really high temperature and fatigue. 

We both got tested and his results were positive and mine were negative. We made the decision to isolate in different parts of the house, and he was resigned to the bedroom with all of his meals brought to hi. (a cushy number for him). 

Living with COVID-19 

He was very ill for the next two weeks, and lost his sense of taste and smell. I made sure he ate well and remained hydrated and took ibuprofen to help with his symptoms. 

Thankfully we had an online shop and I focused on cooking/baking his favourite foods, and although I knew he couldn’t taste the food he had a positive association with the food and it would make him happy… keeping his spirits up. 

For anyone that is cooking I recommend focusing on texture as you can still feel the crunch of carrot, feel the gooiness of melted cheese and the texture of prawn. Use spices not just chilli heat, but cinnamon, cardamom etc as you can still feel the tingling sensation in your mouth. All of these things will make eating a bit more palatable and enhance the experience a little. 

Finally, eat whatever you fancy (within reason), the only thing we could really taste was sugar, we ate a few biscuits, chocolates and had a couple slices of cake. 

Almost two weeks after my husband had had COVID-19 I tested positive. Thankfully the worst of his symptoms had passed and he was able to look after me. We still continued to isolate in different parts of the house as there is no evidence to suggest you can’t catch it again. 

How you feel with COVID-19? 

Mentally/emotionally it feels much tougher. If you suffer from anxiety/depression be mindful of the media you consume, stay off the internet and don’t watch the news.  

The constant fatigue and headaches are debilitating. Your concentration levels are zero and you will feel really really poop for around ten days. 

The hardest thing is not being able to see people when you feel at your most vulnerable. Reach out to family and friends, don’t shut yourself away from loved ones. Everyone around you will rally around with lovely little food parcels, get well soon cards from nieces and nephews all the phone calls/messages from family/friends will help lift your spirits.  

Rest 

You will sleep ALOT and will feel completed fatigued, doing something simple like taking a shower will feel the hardest thing you have done. 

At times you will feel completely fine and go to make a cup of tea or something and feel completely dizzy and faint. 

Rest as much as you can, listen to your body. Don’t try and bounce back let your body recover at its own pace. 

NHS Services 

Testing for COVID-19 

Getting tested is fairly straight forward. If you have the test and trace app simply select “Check symptoms” and follow the steps and book the test. You can either request a home kit, or choose the option to go to a drive thru centre. 

On both occasions we went to the drive thru centre, you will remain in your car and carry out the test yourself. When you book your test online you are sent a QR code, your code will be scanned on arrival and on exit after you have provided your sample. The process is very efficient and contact free for safety. You will be sent a text and email with your results within 24-48 hours. 

Test & Trace; if you have the app you are notified if you come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be advised to self-isolate. The notification was timely and was sent to me within a short period of time after my husband received his result. 

NHS Test & Tracers 

If you have to isolate or have tested positive you will be contacted with the support options for your local authority and NHS volunteers. You will receive these details electronically.  

During your isolation period of your positive results the NHS test and tracers will call you a few times to check in with you. We felt this was a lovely service as they checked your symptoms with you, discussed your mental health and how you are feeling, spoke through any concerns and offered the details of all the support services available to you and what you should do if you feel worse. 

We have passed the isolation period and both feel better and have fully recovered thankfully. 

As yet the longer-term symptoms of COVID-19 are largely unknown but we have found exercise and taste are the two things we are struggling with a few weeks post COVID-19 

Exercise and COVID-19 

I tend to work out 4-5 times a week and I continued to exercise a couple of days before I tested positive as I felt well enough to do so. Five weeks on, this is one area that I am struggling with the most. I enjoy a lot of HIIT type workouts with some light weight strength exercises. My overall break from regular exercise was twelve days, which isn’t a really long break.  

I felt well enough to exercise after this period but have really struggled with pushing myself to my limit during HIIT and my recovery period has felt much tougher. I have therefore adjusted my workouts to listen to my body and re-build my fitness. I have introduced frequent walks, and yoga in the place of my normal exercises and starting with shorter HIIT workouts to start rebuilding my fitness levels. 

Catching COVID-19 isn’t a very pleasant and most of us will recover from COVID-19. We are grateful we have recovered our taste buds are slowly recovering and we can finally taste some food/flavours. 

We hope this has answered some of your questions and wish you a speedy recovery if you have tested postive.

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