7 Things to do when you get COVID 19

Posted on September 3, 2020

Everyone is talking about what to do to prevent getting COVID 19. How do we prepare for it if we DO get it? I did the research and got first hand information from a Registered Nurse, Pharmacist, Medical Doctor, Physiotherapist and a 28 year old COVID survivor.

This is unavoidably the new normal. We are experiencing what is called a ‘slow pandemic’ which means, the curve is closer to being flat. This is good because this means the heath system will not be overwhelmed and minimise deaths. However, it may take a couple years before we can call COVID 19 a thing of the past.

How does COVID 19 affect our body differently from the FLU?

Shadik Niomi Day is a registered nurse in Trinidad and Tobago, Latin America and Florida. She explained that COVID 19 attaches itself to your respiratory tract and targets your lungs. The flu does not target a specific area and is a more general threat causing an overall lethargic feeling. COVID 19 however is on a mission to stop you from breathing so the symptoms are quite flu like such as a dry cough, short breath, tiredness. In extreme cases however COVID 19 can cause loss of speech, movement, difficulty breathing and severe chest pain. As such the key will be to keep that area as slippery as possible by keeping the area moist (but not with mucus).

Below; I’ve created a handy guide which I will keep updated on what you can do when you contract COVID 19.

1. What Medicine to Buy?

There is currently no cure or vaccine. So medication does two things. Help strengthen our immune system or help us survive the symptoms of the virus while the disease runs its course.

According to Dr. Thais Razark, an ICU doctor under Arima/Couva, if you are COVID positive and in home quarantine, use medication prescribed to you. She made it clear that if experiencing flu like symptoms and you are self isolating over the counter medicine and remedies will be fine.


Adam Taylor, head pharmacist at the Triple C Pharmacy in Belmont, Trinidad, gave us his list of some of the supplements he thinks we should get for immune system boosting:

  1. Vitamin C (1 per day)
  2. Vitamin D
    Vitamin D3 2000 Units. No need for higher as Taylor says your body will only use 800-1000 units. Also your body produces this naturally once you can expose yourself to direct sunlight for 20+ per day.
  3. Zinc
    The 50 milligram tablet per day is enough as your body uses 10-12 milligrams daily.
  4. Elderberry Supplement
  5. Echinacea Goldenseal
    Native Americans used this years ago to sap their skin for injuries. It is two capsules twice a day and will have your immune system in tip top shape according to Adam. ($200.00ttd per month approx)

Treating with the symptoms

  1. Multi Symptom Alka-Seltzer
    Adam Taylor’s favorite, when used in hot water. Adam says 50% of the symptoms will go within 10mins.
  2. Jameison Cold Fighter
  3. Nyquil or Dayquil
  4. Panadol Multi Symptom Tables
  5. COVONIA (for cough)
  6. Robitussin (for cough)
  7. African Sea Coconut (for cough)
  8. TUSSADRYL (for cough, they have for all types of cough and for children, babies and adults)
  9. Febrex Plus Paracetamol (for fever) ($1.00 per tablet)
  10. Zitrocin 500 (Milky says this helped him the most)

2. What to pack for Quarantine?

Depending on where and when you get COVID 19 you may be required to go into isolation at home, in a room or at the hospital. In Trinidad and Tobago ‘step down’ facilities are also used for recovering patients with minimal symptoms. These facilities are like college dorms and have more amenities such as a refrigerator and the option for people to drop food or supplies on a daily basis.

I had a chat with Khalil “Milky” Peters who is a recovered COVID patient who was carted off by an ambulance to the hospital and also stayed at Canada Hall, in the University of the West Indies before being discharged. Here are some of the top items we should pack based on Khalil’s experience:

  1. Documents
    Something with names and contact info of whoever you need to contact. Any important health documents such as immunisation cards or anything that contains information on any of your current medical conditions.
  2. Clothes
    Yes this is obvious. However consider you may not have access to somewhere to do laundry, so you will need several changes of clothes to last 14 days. This is not a fete so think pajamas, underwear, socks, flip flops and a couple ‘day outfits’.
  3. Food and Drink
    Protein bars, Oats, Alkaline water, A water bottle, Tea Packets, Cereal (no dairy), salt, pepper and Crix / crackers.
  4. Medical and Hygiene Items
    Face masks in a ziplock bag, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Comb or Brush, Chapstick of lip balm, Body Lotion, Small Shampoo and conditioner, Deodorant, Feminine hygiene suplies, Tissues, Digital Thermometer. Hand sanitiser with 60% or more alcohol. (Nurses will give you medicine if you are in the hospital, if you are at home see the above list)
  5. Life Essentials
    Extra phone charger, Electronics to pass the time eg. iPad, Hand Soap (put pump in a ziplock so it won’t spill), Towel, Small Fan, Power strip, Clorox Wipes or Lysol Spray & Paper Towels. Pre download your entertainment. Headphones. (If you need music to survive like me pack a back up pair incase one starts to short. AirPods will eventually die, so ensure at least one is a regular ‘corded’ headphones with the correct attachment for your phone). Eye mask for nighttime sleeping (or use your face mask)
  6. A Portable Humidifier
  7. An Electric Kettle

3. What to Eat?

Adam Taylor says, nothing beats a hot soup! I have to agree with him here. I usually purchase my soups from the “Boss Ah Soup” (โ€ญ385-4455 POS branch) located all over Trinidad and Tobago.

Shadik Day admonished that one should think of this as a ‘really really’ bad flu. So all the things you usually do and do not eat when you have a bad cold, we should stay away from. This includes things with processed sugar, excessive amounts of salt, dairy products and anything that will contribute to mucus build up.

4. How to Sanitise and Prevent other people from contracting it?

Milky shared his new lifestyle since he got the virus. He explained he would wash his hands every time he left his bed and before and after doing anything in life. Milky advised on putting one’s clothes in a bag when arriving home, sanitising your clothes and not carrying your shoes through your home. He advised “taking it to a different level” as it is very easy to contract. He said try to avoid travelling but if you must wear long sleeves.

Milky said simply use disposable gloves or a napkin when using ATMs or Gas Station Pumps. I saw a couple forwarded messages saying that you are unable to contract COVID from touching these things. Based on my research it is possible in theory but does not pose a larger than normal risk. To be on the safe side I’d advise simply washing one’s hands prior to touching your face.

According to NBC – COVID 19 was found on the surfaces of ATMs.
So maybe it is not the best idea to listen and re forward every WhatsApp message that says there is no risk.

Wear your mask around friends and family because you might not know if they have it but you can get it from them.

Khalil “Milky” Peters

Shadik Day reminded that COVID 19 spreads via droplets so it is not randomly in the air so once you socially distance and refrain from touching you will not contract it.

5. How to occupy yourself?

So should you exercise when you are in isolation? No. If you experience any symptoms of COVID 19 such as shortness of breath and fever do not exercise. Do NOT try to sweat out the fever. This is according to Adrian Palmer, Physiotherapist who holds a MSC in Sports and Exercise Medicine, Sports and Exercise from the the University of South Wales. Adrian wrote, “Febrile Illnesses decrease muscle strength and endurance and increase fatigue. Exercising with an infectious illness while displaying symptoms such as fever, may increase the risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscles), which can be mild or life threatening.”

Exercise is what you do BEFORE you get COVID 19 to boost your immune system to avoid contracting the virus. For the immune system going outside is very beneficial! Sunlight produces vitamin D, exposure to pathogens in the ‘fresh air’ helps the immune system keep working, 30 mins of Quaran-Training can decrease your risk.

Milky said while in the hospital he watched Netflix and slept a lot. Milky encouraged all to understand the importance of mental health. Based on this it would be best to occupy yourself with whatever is your passion and can engage your mind. Shadik Day said she may start an online business or just reflect on life and take a break from the everyday struggle.

Milky encourages all to share your experience and be as social as possible or just keep in touch with your loved ones. He said the care packages he got from friends unknowns really kept him going.

6. Natural Remedies

Adam Taylor’s home remedy (To take it daily):

  1. 2 Teaspoons Garlic in a teacup of hot water
  2. 1 Teaspoon Ginger
  3. 1 Teaspoon of Saffron
  4. Pinch of Black Pepper
  5. Half of a lime for vitamin C. (Take out the seeds)
  6. Honey (natural sweetener)

Milky’s Herbal Tea Recipe (To take 1-2 times a day)

  1. Cinnamon
  2. Turmeric (don’t put too much)
  3. Garlic (he would eat this as well)
  4. Ginger
  5. Honey
  6. Lemon
  7. Cayenne Pepper (Powder)
  8. Olive Oil

Milky also said he was eating fruits which helped a lot. Inhaling hot water and eucalyptus oil helped with the clogging of his nose. Milky said this helped him get back his ‘smell’ a bit.

Read Milky’s Twitter Blog with an account of the ins and outs of his experience with COVID 19. (NSFW.)
PS. Not everything Milky did was correct. DO NOT smoke or vape when you have COVID 19 as it would extend the reach of droplets and endanger the health of the doctors and nurses caring for you.

Humidifier or Diffuser?

So both look similar and a humidifier can also double as a diffuser. A diffuser’s primary goal is to diffuse essential oils into the air and is used in aromatherapy. Adam Taylor has one and says it helps him with his sinus issues. Shadik Day has a humidifier and she says this is responsible for keeping the air moist. As such it helps with breathing as the objective is to keep your respiratory tract moist. Maybe this is what I was missing all these years to control my allergies? Amazon.com has a couple that work with water bottles so the water is easy to replace as you may not be able to move from your bed to refill it.

Adam Taylor’s Diffuser. He says it costs around $400.00ttd.

7. How to know if you are in the clear

If you are at home and you stop taking your fever or other medicine for your COVID symptoms and you still experience no symptoms. It is time for another COVID test to determine if you are in the clear or not.

If you are in a government monitored facility in isolation then your doctor / nurse assigned to you will determine this. Dr. Thais Razark is an ICU doctor under Arima/Couva, doctor on the Ministry of Health hotline 877/800-WELL, and General Practitioner at The Venus Clinic. She said the County Medical Officer of Health is responsible for informing you of when you can be deemed ‘fit for work’.

Call these numbers for follow ups, results, contact tracing, sick leave or to find out if you can return to work/public.

Once quarantine forms are signed it is illegal to break quarantine. Do not do it. If someone breaks quarantine or someone is in in breach of any regulations like having a ‘Private Zess’ at home please call 277-7378 (277-SERV). Also, if you are reading this and thinking of it – I am a professional and full time event planner so if I can have no events / small limes, so can you.

You can get a COVID test done for free in these areas:

Dr. Thais Razark reminded me of three things:

  1. Masks must cover your nose
  2. You can clean surfaces using bleach and water. Mix bleach to water ratio 1:10. Allow to air dry
  3. A fever is greater than 37.5 degrees Celsius. So people who not letting you in to places with a temperature of 36.9 are wrong because that is our normal temperature.

COVID 19 is not a death sentence

Do not panic. Most likely you will recover from the virus. As with anything else in life there is always a risk that you may die. However that should not stop us from living our life. This blog should equip you with the tools to increase your chances of survival and make your overall experience as pleasant as possible if you do contract COVID 19.

For those sole traders and entrepreneurs like myself, there is an insurance plan called an “Income protection plan” which will pay you a salary if you get sick and can not continue work. You can contact Leah Paul 868-794-5794, Guardian Life or Bernadette Kretzschmar 868-768-9961, Sagicor. I’d talk more about your COVID support system and delve into this a bit deeper in a later article.

Mask it or Casket.

Khalil “Milky” Peters

To see more articles like this or support in anyway WhatsApp 868-777-4536.

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