‘Wear your masks and stop making excuses‘
A Covid-19 survivor spoke to Lwazikazi Madikiza about their experience. The interviewee's name is withheld and some details have been edited to protect their anonymity.
1. When did you about COVID-19?
At the beginning of the year, but at the time there weren’t any confirmed cases in South Africa. start hearing
2. What made you suspect that you might have been infected with Covid-19?
I woke up not feeling well and this continued the whole day. However, I was well enough to go to work. I was especially concerned because a co-worker had just tested positive.
3. What symptoms did you experience at this point?
I had a headache. I was feeling really tired as if I had been doing hard labour and I was experiencing pain in my joints.
4. How long after you experienced symptoms did you go and test?
I tested a day later and used public testing services.
5. How was your testing experience?
I did an oropharyngeal swab and a PCR test was done. The test in itself wasn’t painful; it just felt uncomfortable and can cause one to gag or cough because the swab goes deep into the back of your throat.
6. How long did you wait for your results to be available and did the symptoms change? After testing I started experiencing flu-like symptoms such as a runny and blocked nose, dry cough and my temperature at some point reached 39°C. At this point, since my symptoms were mild, I thought maybe I might have the common flu.
I received my results after two days and they came out positive. I was shocked because I really was not expecting it since I had very mild symptoms.
7. What was the next step after testing positive?
While in quarantine I had a persistent headache that didn’t respond to the recommended
dose of paracetamol (Panado). There was a period where I was extremely tired so much so that I slept over 12 hours straight, even though I was not doing any work.
Also, one of the days I woke up with a pain in my lungs and it was uncomfortable to breathe. I had to sleep in a seated position.
8. Do you feel there is a stigma around being Covid-19 positive?
Yes, at work there is a lot of fear. People treat Covid-19 recovered co-workers differently. So there is still a lot of fear because of a lack of knowledge.
9. What do think you would have done differently?
I think I might have gotten infected while we were having lunch in our staff room. When we have lunch we don’t have our masks on [since we are eating] and we don’t observe the social distancing rule.
So I think I would definitely change that behaviour i.e. Keep
our distance during lunch time and constantly sanitise areas where we sit to have our lunch or tea. In that way the chances of infecting others are minimised.
10. Do you have any advice for the general public?
If it happens that you test positive start by having a positive mind, because anxiety does affect the healing process and the ability for your body to fight the disease.
Eat healthy food and stay hydrated. Wear your masks and stop making excuses.
Wear it properly; make sure it covers your mouth and your nose.
On the day I was feeling sick, I made an extra effort to wear my mask at all times and the people that I was in contact with on that day tested negative for coronavirus.
So the recommended actions to prevent the spread of the virus do work.
Wash your hands regularly, keep your distance and disinfect areas that are frequently touched.