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I have COVID, what do I do?
COVID mostly doesn’t kill people any more, but long COVID is a miserable beast. This is still a very serious virus. If the new wave of COVID splashes into your life, here’s my best advice. (Please note - I am not a physician. I am a public health professional who had COVID in April.)
Rest. Do not try to push through this virus. I have a theory that getting infected and not resting is the cause of long COVID. But we know for sure that not resting enough will definitely slow down your recovery. Take as much absolute staying still, sleeping and napping, total rest as your finances and responsibilities allow.
- Make a fuss, and push to get it. If you are on meds that contraindicate Paxlovid, there are other anti-virals available. Starting an anti-viral is your best bet for avoiding both COVID complications and long COVID.
Medicate. Almost any drugstore medication you can take for a cold, you can take for COVID. You need to be comfortable enough to rest, and if Dayquil or Sudafed is what gets you there, that’s just fine. Ask your health care provider if you have questions, and you can find a good guide here.
Hydrate. Staying hydrated is the key to defeating most viruses, and COVID is no exception. Lots of fluids will help with symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
Isolate for a full 10 days after your symptoms if you are able to, as per WHO guidelines. That means staying home and while at home staying away from the people who live in your house. Five days isn’t enough. If you can’t isolate for ten days, please be diligent about masking and minimize your exposure to other people. The WHO COVID guidelines for home caregivers are pretty good in general.
Communicate. Paxlovid will start you feeling better very quickly - for me within three hours of taking it. That leaves you at home, bored, fatigued, and isolating on purpose. You can’t be with other people, so turn to your tech. This is a great time for pitiful selfies on your social media site of choice, lengthy rants about the poor state of medicine in your country, and texting all of your friends. Whine as much as you need to. It will make you less bored and lonely - and it will remind people that COVID is still a threat and they need to take care.
You should also expect to tire extra easily for a month or two after COVID. That’s not long COVID. That’s just recovery from a vicious virus.
The image on top is an actual screenshot from my Instagram DMs
I saw an online source recommend that you ask your provider to document their refusal of Paxlovid in your medical record.