Tips for anyone who catches Covid this winter

After fighting COVID from mid-to-late November, I wanted to give some COVID survival tips to my blog readers who might face a similar battle at some point.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know a lot about COVID until I got it. I knew the politics of it, but not the actual physical effect of it on the body. Most people I knew who had it said it was physically draining and like a really bad flu, but I had no idea it could affect your breathing or oxygen levels without you even knowing it was until it was too late. I thought people could feel the tightness in their chest every time. I had never heard of silent hypoxia until I had it.

Silent hypoxia is when the oxygen level in the blood is very low, but you feel fine and the pulse ox machine isn’t even showing your oxygen as low as it actually is. You feel fine until it’s too late and you’re turning blue. I happened to notice a lower number on my pulse ox and that’s how I ended up at the emergency room at Memorial Hospital, diagnosed with silent hypoxia and Acute Respiratory Failure. Even the nurses said my color looked good and they felt I didn’t have silent hypoxia. I must have caught it just in time. Thank you, Jesus, literally.

Honestly, it wasn’t until I was out of the hospital that I realized how bad I had been and how if I hadn’t gotten to the hospital when I did, I wouldn’t be here right now writing this, hugging my kids, and husband and being with my family.

So here are a few tips for those facing Covid this winter (though this will hopefully change as the virus mutates and maybe doesn’t attack the lungs as easily):

The most important tip from my point of view is to buy a pulse oximeter and watch your oxygen levels – especially 5 to 10 days after you’ve tested positive. I took a turn for the worse on day ten. A pulse oximeter is a small device that can be purchased for anywhere from $20 to $50 and clips on your finger to measure your heart rate and the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Take slow deep breathes while measuring. Don’t be like me and hold your breath which messes up the reading for up to thirty seconds and might send you into a panic. Your levels should be between 95 and 100, though some nurses say 94 is okay.

A second tip: if you have a cough, but even if you don’t, lay on your stomach for at least an hour every four hours. Several articles I read, plus the nurses and doctors at the hospital, said they have found this opens up the lungs even more. You can prop yourself up with a pillow so you’re not mashed flat into the mattress or floor while you do it and you can sleep or watch tv, read a book, or whatever.

I tested this out my first night in the hospital when I was hooked up to a 24/7 pulse ox machine. My oxygen wasn’t dropping super low since I was on supplemental oxygen but when I laid on my stomach, even with the hospital bed propped up, the O2 number would rise.

Third, and about as important as monitoring the pulse ox, drink as much water and fluids with electrolytes that you can stand. If your stomach isn’t affected, try to eat as well, even if you have lost your sense of taste and smell. Your body needs energy to fight the virus off. I had a fever for eight days that Tylenol did nothing for and it ended up leaving me dehydrated more than I should have been.

Fourth, don’t base your experience with Covid on someone else’s, good or bad. If someone says Covid was a breeze for them, don’t expect it will be for you. If someone says they almost died with it, don’t expect the same will happen to you. Most people feel awful but don’t end up in the hospital with Covid as I did. Know that Covid can be serious but try not to panic (like I did). Also know that going in the hospital does not mean you’re going to be vented. Doctors do all they can now not to vent patients and many patients do not need that kind of intervention.

One other piece of advice is to not Google when you have Covid. In my case it was both good and bad. It was bad because I focused more on what Covid could do to me or the rest of my family than taking care of myself. It was good because I had never heard of silent hypoxia before reading about it on Google and therefore knew I might have it when my pulse oxygen began to drop into the low 90s. Also, stay away from the mainstream media, which almost exclusively focuses on the bad outcomes versus the good. Fear sells. Never forget that.

My hope is that Covid is mutating to the point now that most who catch it in this new year won’t have to worry about these tips or at least the ones related to the oxygen. I also hope doctors begin to focus less on eliminating the virus (because that isn’t going to happen) and more on how to treat it at home and in the hospital. How this world went two years without more efforts to treat this virus with therapeutics at home is beyond me.

Another thing, if you are unvaccinated for whatever reason, and do have to go to get an emergency room or hospital, don’t assume you will be treated worse because of your status. I think I was asked once about my status and never again. As far as I know, I was not treated any differently because of my vaccination status. I am unvaccinated for a personal, legit medical reason and If I am judged for that so be it, but I felt no judgment in the hospital beyond one doctor who was annoyed at a medication I had taken briefly. That’s another story for another day.

If the hospital staff wanted me to die as some on social media suggest are the attitudes of hospital staff when it comes to the unvaccinated, then they did a poor job of killing me off. They were kind, attentive in checking vitals, and did their best to alleviate any fears I had.

The final tip: don’t expect to just bounce right back from Covid. Some will but some might be exhausted, weak, and suffer from a cough for weeks or months after Covid leaves their system. I am very impatient. I want to feel better now but it’s not going to happen on my timetable. Give yourself some grace while your body heals. I’m trying to do the same.

21 thoughts on “Tips for anyone who catches Covid this winter

  1. Pingback: Sunday Bookends: brain fog lifting, still a slow reader, and snowfall | Boondock Ramblings

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I seem to only hear the political side and never anything other than main symptoms. It seems like COVID affects people differently so it’s good to hear all the symptoms so you can be prepared.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You think in two years the media – gasp – would have focused on that and not just the arguing about lockdowns and how many people died and who did this or that wrong but no. We can’t trust the media to be anything but a bunch of bullies and whining brats at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are an amazing woman! So incredibly thoughtful of you to share your experience and offer advice! Truly appreciate it.

    I agree with another reader of your blog, I too feel like I know you.

    Thank you for being in this world. Thank you for your goodness.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My husband is a scientist with a big biotech company, so I’ve been asking him why all these scientists at all these companies have been focusing more on a vaccine than a treatment. His answer has, annoyingly, been a shrug. There are so many people like you who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons and it drives me crazy that there’s really nothing to treat COVID patients, like it’s just a big “oh well.” Even then vaccines aren’t 100% effective, so the focus on them instead of at least a split focus on vaccines and treatment absolutely boggles my mind. It’s been 2 years. There should be something for today’s COVID patients to help get them better faster.

    I am glad, though, that you’re doing well enough to be here in the blogging world and I hope you continue to get better. Even though I follow all the news, and my husband obsessively does the same, it’s really helpful to get your perspective and tips on how to deal with it at home. I hope to never need it, but it’s always good to know!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your husband probably doesn’t worry about it because, as my husband likes to say about situations that don’t affect him at his job, “not my circus, not my monkeys.” Lol. Your husband had enough on his own plate so he probably figures let the doctors worry about the treatment.

      I think the thing is that we all want to stop this virus. We just want it gone. It’s scary, can be dangerous to some and we don’t always know who it will be dangerous too. Humans want to fix things and we all thought the vaccine would fix it. I get it and understand why the effort was put into a vaccine but scientists know that nothing is going to immediately stop a virus in its tracks so I would think they’d want to also look at treatments until they find a way to stop it. I don’t really think they ever will. I think Covid will always be here but hopefully it will be much less severe as time goes on. But I don’t know because I am not a scientist or doctor.

      I am not expert on it but some of that I didn’t even know until I got sick – maybe I was just trying not to look because it terrified me to think any of that would happen to me but now that I’ve faced it and survived, I hope to give others a heads up. Like I said in the post, though, I hope the mutations become more and more mild and no one has to worry about at least the oxygen tip!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, my husband definitely has more than enough to think about! There’s probably some science-y related answer to it, but most of it goes over my head, especially the way some of these biotech companies like to operate, so he’s probably just sparing me the utter disbelief I have for even the ways his company operates. At least these companies have finally gotten around to doing something.

        I wouldn’t mind putting a stop to COVID, but it’s so closely related to the flu and, well, we have flu season every year. I’m a little baffled as to how they thought we could get rid of what’s basically another type of flu, but I suppose vaccine plus treatments for the flu is a sound way to go for COVID and they just opted to start with vaccines. I just know that, when there is some kind of treatment available, I’ll probably feel a lot safer about venturing out. Living in a bit city during a pandemic has not been a fun experience.

        My husband has two theories about the omicron variant: either it’s getting less severe and we’ll have COVID and the flu but there won’t be much of a difference between them, to we’re just in for a really bad variant to come out of it. I’m hoping for the former. We have a few healthcare workers in the family and there always seem to be some horrible stories of people who got it, so I’m thrilled you’ve survived and can offer some advice.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lisa, thanks for sharing your Covid journey, and I learned much. My vaccinated father contracted Covid, and he battled lower oxygen levels. Thankfully, he has recovered quite well with few, if any, long-term effects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know if the low oxygen was just unvaccinated or not. I told my mom that being overweight might have been my issue but then my husband knew a guy who was in fairly good shape and even he had oxygen issues🤷🏻‍♀️. I guess there are a variety of factors at play with something like that. So glad your dad is doing well after his battle with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for giving this good information — it’s SO important for people to know this especially as this nasty virus is spreading rapidly it seems. I’m pretty well recovered but I do think I had a fairly moderate case. We’re watching hubby carefully right now as he has it worse than I did. I’m still praying for you as you recover. One question — are you having a hard time getting to sleep at night. Even though I feel tired and sleepy, I’m having a lot of difficulty getting to sleep every night and I wondered if it’s a weird side effect of having had covid?

    Liked by 2 people

    • So when I first came back from the hospital, I would pass out at night at the drop of a hat. I was so wiped from not sleeping at the hospital. When I was there I would drift off for an hour and jerk awake repeatedly. This continued a little at home, as well. There were a few times in the next month I would find myself just laying awake or I would drift off for a couple hours and then lay awake for 3-4 hours. I started taking magnesium citramate from Thorne Labs and it helped. The issue now is that I think my body is trying to recover REM sleep so I am having super, super vivid, weird dreams. It’s been a very weird journey. Memory loss is kind of rough too. Like I don’t really remember November and most of December at all. And each day I can’t really remember what I did the day before. I can remember I did something but not what day it is :/ That’s sort of scary.

      Anyhow, back to your original question: I have heard from others who had Covid that it really messed up their sleep, yes. Definitely. I had some sleep issues before Covid and it definitely has not helped!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t had any memory issues (well, no more than usual – ha) but I wasn’t as sick as you were. But this not being able to sleep thing is getting old. Once I finally fall asleep after 2-3 hours of trying, I stay asleep though.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Uuugh. Something is just off for you I guess. I would try the magnesium or even a warm bath with Epsom salts before you lay down. My husband uses melatonin but he just built up some kind of immunity to it and it isn’t working. It knocks him out for a couple hours but then he wakes up and lays awake for hours. Also, I suggest magnesium to everyone and just gave this speech to a blogger friend about the benefits of magnesium and Epsom salts and even magnesium oil which is transdermal and goes through your skin for aches and pains and anxiety. Don’t get me started. Lol. But magnesium in various forms has helped me sleep. The only one which caused me issues is magnesium glycinate. It gave me such mental clarity but when I took it at night it woke me up after an hour and kept me up all night.


        • I should warn you some kinds can cause stomach issues (not the ones I mentioned) and If you use magnesium oil which is great for aches and pains, it can sting a little on the skin at first so I suggest sprinkling water on the skin where you are going to spray it first.


  7. It is wonderful that you are reaching out to share your experience. I know that COVID suddenly seemed more real when I found out you were in hospital with it, for some reason. I guess I feel like I know you after following your blog these years. I appreciate your humor and grace, so glad you got the help you needed, and pray you will make a full recovery.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I had known a few who had been hospitalized during the last two years but they were usually fighting cancer or older. I am hypothyroid and over weight but I did not expect me to be one of those hospitalized. I’m glad my stay was short and fairly uneventful, but yeah, it made it all much more real to me too! Recovery is slow, sadly, but it’s coming and I hope by spring I’ll be back to where I was before.

      Liked by 2 people

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