As of March 28, 2020, New York was the epicenter of Covid-19 infections in the United States with 52,318 patients, and that number is expected to increase as the forecasted peak is still 14-21 days away.
Those statistics are quite scary but there are other statistics we need to focus on as well. “Approximately 80 percent of all COVID-19 cases exhibit mild to moderate symptoms that don’t require hospitalization. Doctors recommend that these patients self-isolate, stay hydrated, eat well, and manage their symptoms as best they can.”
That’s what my husband, Pablo, and I did.
We don’t know for sure if we have Covid-19 because they stopped testing for people that are not hospitalized, but according to Dr. David Price, ICU, Weill Cornell Medical Center in NYC, “If you live in NYC and have symptoms like the flu (fever, sore throat, body aches) it is highly likely you have Covid-19.”
We live in NYC and experienced those flu-like symptoms.
Pablo’s started with congestion, dry cough, lethargy, and pain on the right side of his chest. Then, one night, he ran a high fever (102) and had chills. The following day he suffered painful body aches that lasted three days. Each achy day was followed by a feverish night with chills, sweating, and diarrhea. Plus, he lost his sense of smell and taste. By day four he starting feeling a bit better. Well, enough to clean the entire apartment, for which I am truly grateful! It’s been 7 days since that fever first started, he still feels groggy and a little funky, but much less coughing, no body aches, no chills or fever, and his ability to smell and taste is slowly returning.
For me, I didn’t experience any congestion at the onset. Mine began with a painful headache, followed immediately by a fever that lasted two nights. My body aches were excruciating! Not only did I feel intense pain in my back, hips, and thighs, but my organs hurt, too (liver, lungs, kidneys, and spleen – ouch!). Plus, my throat was sore, voice got scratchy, and I developed a dry cough, but only after the fever. It’s now the fifth day since my first symptom appeared and I feel like I am on the mend and headed in a healthy direction. The body aches are gone, throat is not scratchy or sore, and there is no more fever. The only thing I’m experiencing after all of those major symptoms passed is a little head congestion and I completely lost my sense of taste and smell. If my timeline follows my husband’s, my ability to taste and smell should come back in a couple of days.
From the symptoms we experienced, I’m 99.99% sure that we had a moderate case of Covid-19.
Quick update: I’m now 100% sure that we had Covid-19. I got tested on 4/16 and was positively positive!
We did what the doctors recommended: self-isolate, stay hydrated, eat well, and manage symptoms.
Below are the essentials we implemented to take care of ourselves.
This was and still is our number one priority. The lungs and respiratory system require moisture and hydration to function optimally. I covered that in-depth in this article: Use these Remedies to Support Your Lungs
To maximize hydration we drank water (not cold water!) during the day and kept water by the bedside at night when the fever was raging and burning up fluids.
As an herbalist, I have a wide variety of uncommon herbs in my home apothecary, but not everyone does. So below is an herbal tea that you likely have access to in your kitchen right now to ease symptoms if they come your way:
Thyme with Lemon and Honey Tea – this tea is warming and soothing and helps expectorate excess phlegm from the lungs. Thyme is a classic herb to relieve coughs and congestion. Drink 1-3 cups per day. You can use either dried or fresh thyme. Combined with lemon and honey it is totally delicious.
If you don’t have any thyme in the house, try this Aromatic Rosemary Infusion – this warming tea is good for someone that is feeling congested as it opens the nasal passageways. It can also be a good tea to sip on after the fever passes to help bring back a person’s vitality and energy.
If you don’t have any culinary herbs in the house at all, simply sip on warm water with 1 tsp. of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Both can help to thin thickened congested mucus.
Eat Well and Eat Lightly
When you are sick, the best thing to do is to eat lightly. That means soups, broths, and watery dishes are best. As an added bonus, eating foods with high water content hydrates the body.
Below were my go-to soups and broths during this sickness.
Dashi Broth with Medicinal Mushrooms (pictured above) – dashi broth made with seaweed is very supportive of the water element and excellent to moisturize and hydrate the body. Plus, when you add medicinal mushrooms like maitake and green veggies, this is a winner for both your lungs and immune system.
Chicken Stock with Herbs and Garlic – during this time of sickness, our refrigerator was never bare of stock (chicken stock, beef stock, mushroom stock). Stock is a highly nourishing and hydrating food that is very easy to digest. A simple cup of homemade stock with chopped up herbs and garlic and a little bit of salt and pepper felt like the best medicine.
Healing Broth with Shiitake Mushrooms and Parsley – it’s best to use dried shiitake mushrooms for this healing broth. But, if you don’t have dried, you can simply use fresh shiitake mushrooms and increase the amount of stock used in my recipe.
Dry cough is one of the main symptoms of this illness. As well as a loss of taste and smell. To moisturize and support the nasal passageways (the entryway into the lungs), loosen mucus in the chest, and resolve the cough, we did herbal steams.
It’s a very simple recipe:
- 2 tbsp. dried thyme (can also use rosemary, basil, oregano, or mint)
- Boiling water
Put herb into a large bowl. Fill halfway with boiled water. Cover the bowl with a towel and steep 2-3 minutes. Put your head under the towel, hanging directly over the bowl, and breathe the moist air in through your nostrils and out through your mouth for 5-10 minutes.
We used thyme for our steam because it’s anti-viral, contains high concentrations of thymol, and is excellent for loosening up mucus and expectorating (it makes you cough). You can also use rosemary, mint, oregano or other herbs if you do not have thyme.
The main key here is to breathe that moist air into your nasal passageways (and lungs) to keep them functioning well. You can do this 1-2x per day if needed.
High fever – we didn’t do anything to lower the fever. As a matter of fact, we hopped onto the bio-mat during the day to heat the body up a little more. BUT, not everyone has a bio-mat. So, it may be wise to get under the covers, pile more covers on top, and sweat, sweat, sweat. Create your own personal sweat lodge/sauna. The human body naturally produces a fever when a virus is detected. Studies have shown that intentionally lowering a fever actually prolongs symptoms of influenza, and prolongs viral shedding.
Fatigue – another major symptom of this virus is fatigue. So guess what we did… slept. Yes, that’s right. We lay in the bed for the majority of the day. And, when I got up out of the bed, if I felt a little dizziness or uneasy feeling in my body or head, I simply got right back into the bed. When we rest the body doesn’t need to do anything except focus on repair and healing.
Those were our basics of self-isolating, staying hydrated, eating well, and managing symptoms.
I’m sending you and your family a whole lot of good healing vibes to get through this crisis.
Since this is a new virus for the human population, NO-ONE is immune. Even the healthiest folks (myself included) can get it. It’s imperative to keep your lungs and respiratory system moist, hydrated and properly supported to pull through this with your health and your life intact.
If you are quarantined at home and want to have some fun learning new recipes, meet me in the kitchen via your computer or phone. I’ll be preparing recipes for respiratory health and lung support to help you get through this challenging time.
This is a highly interactive and integrative cooking class where you get to ask questions while watching recipes being prepared, so you will know exactly what to do with your ingredients.
I’ll see you in the kitchen.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.
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