My first 72 hours with COVID symptoms

Since I was tested positive for COVID -19 on May 8, many people reached out asking to get a better understanding of the symptoms, and how I got infected.

Therefore, I decided to write this blog.

Please note that I am not a physician and am only sharing my own experience as a healthy young adult (34) with no pre-existing conditions. I hope this information is helpful.

Before writing about the symptoms, and what I believe is the reason I got infected, I would like to share that like many others, I was confident that I already had COVID-19 a while before but was asymptomatic. The reason I thought this is that during the past six months, I have been traveling constantly and exposed to thousands of people on 4 continents. As a frequent flyer, I spent hundreds of hours on crowded airplanes including domestic flights across the US, and International flights to Europe, Israel, and Africa. I arrived back in the US from my last international trip only a couple of days before the European travel ban was announced.

Having said that, I did obey the State social distancing orders and mostly stayed at home during these past 7 weeks. When going shopping (once or twice a week), I wore a face mask and washed my hands thoroughly before and after.

On Tuesday, May 5, I woke up feeling great. I started the day with my usual 2-mile morning run. I then had a full day of online meetings, home learning with the girls, and other typical household activities. That evening, after dinner, I sat down by the computer to write a few emails.

The first symptom that I felt was a headache. I started feeling this strange feeling of pressure on the head, not the typical headache feeling. Within an hour, the headache became severe, so I got off the computer and took a shower. By the time I got out of the shower, I felt that I had a fever, so I was not surprised to see that my temperature was 38.5 C (101.5 F).

That night, (Tuesday), I had a hard time sleeping since the pain killers (Tylenol) did not seem to help and I felt severe body aches, chill, and extreme shivering.

The following morning, Wednesday. May 6, I woke up with a strange taste in my mouth and realized that I lost my ability to smell/taste. At this point, it was clear to me that I should get the COVID-19 test.

Getting the test was extremely easy. We found an emergency medical clinic 0.5 miles away from our home in Rockville, MD, and were able to schedule an appointment for later that morning.

Unfortunately, the test itself was not done in the most professional way. Although I was told that the test will be done in my car, I waited in the car for 45 minutes and since no one came out of the clinic nor did anyone pick up the phone, I had to walk inside. I was surprised that they had me wait by the front desk although I was clear about having COVID symptoms. I was also surprised that they had me wait for nearly an hour before they tested me and insisted that I do a few unrelated tests as well.

By the time I got back home, (Wednesday afternoon), the muscle pain and headache were bad. Even doing simple things like typing text messages was painful. I did not have any appetite and had low energy. My temperature was still high and did not go down until the following day.

Thursday, May 7, was like Wednesday. Fever, headache, and general muscle pain.

I received the test results on Friday morning (May 8), A nurse called to inform me that my COCID -19 test is positive and I should put myself in self-quarantine for 14 days and at least 7 days of having no symptoms. I was also told that if I have trouble breathing, I should go to the ER immediately.

About the symptoms, I do not have a fever since Friday morning, and the muscle pain and headache are mild. However, the lack of taste/smell is much worse as I cannot smell or taste a thing. I did a little experiment with a spoon of extremely hot sauce and did not taste it at all.

My breathing is OK although not normal. The clean air feels dusty and breathing causes a dry cough. When talking, I sometimes lose my breath so need to stop and take a few deep breaths and cough.

To conclude, the symptoms came amazingly fast and left no place for doubt. The first 48 hours were tough but manageable. It is challenging to listen to your body yet not overreact so I recommend staying calm and accepting the symptoms rather than trying to fight them.

Regarding how I think I got infected.

Since I met very few people, I believe that I got the virus during a meeting on a construction site. Unlike other meetings that can be done online, when working on a real-estate project, there are meetings that must be in person, on-site. On Friday, May 1, I led a 2-hour walk-through with our contractor, architect, and designer. Although we had face masks, after a while, we took them off so we could speak more clearly. I believe that I was infected during that meeting since our contractor has similar symptoms (he is still waiting for his test results).

Therefore, my conclusion is that following social distance rules is critical, even in situations where wearing the mask or keeping 6 feet can be challenging.

I would like to end by saying that it is heartwarming to see the tremendous amount of support that we have been receiving from close and far. Hundreds of people contacted us asking if they can send home-made food or toys for the girls. Physicians called to offer medical advice and friends who have recovered from COVID contacted us offering tips and support.

Wishing all those who are sick a speedy and complete recovery and hoping that we all stay safe and healthy.

About the Author
Elkana is an entrepreneur and business manager with a deep passion for education. Since 2007, Elkana has been in the field of experiential education and social entrepreneurship, focusing on community building, social awareness, humanities, and Jewish identity. Elkana currently resides in Rockville, MD, together with his wife and two daughters.
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