She did not have a fever but had chills and body aches. She felt very tired and just wanted to lie in bed since she “didn’t have the strength to do anything else.”
She booked an appointment for getting a test done at a CVS drugstore near her house.
In America, there are many places for people to get tested for Covid-19, including clinics, hospitals and chain stores selling drugs, pharmaceuticals and health care products like CVS and Walgreens. At these stores, people can get tested via a drive-through service. Through a window, medical staff will give drivers the test kit package and instruct them on how to collect samples themselves then put it in a box.
People with health insurance will be tested for free. Without insurance, the cost ranges from $100 to $200. “It costs more if you want your result back immediately and costs less if you wait to get your result back the following day,” Nguyen said.
An email confirmed her fears. The test result was positive for the novel coronavirus. Tram took a break from work and “immediately quarantined myself at home.”
She boiled some water with herbs and covered herself with a blanket to inhale the steam and sweat off toxins. She rested a lot.
On the morning of the fifth day, she felt more energized and could go to the garden to take care of her fruit trees. In the afternoon, she felt tired again and repeated the steaming process. She also began to lose her taste and her appetite.
“Eating anything sweet or sour only tasted bitter,” she said.
Tram Nguyen and her husband during a trip to Florida, U.S, in April 2021. Photo courtesy of Tram.
The next morning, she went to the garden to breathe in the fresh air and did some exercises. In the afternoon, she still felt chill throughout her body. Over the next three days, in addition to the loss of taste, she also had diarrhea, lost her sense of smell. She could only smell something if she held it very close to her nose.
On the 10th day, she felt she had recovered completely and did not have any symptoms. However, the Covid-19 test result was still positive. On the 15th day, when she tested again, the result was negative.
Tram’s husband also tested positive for Covid-19 shortly after she did. But he only felt a little cold and some fatigue. He had no fever. The couple received negative Covid-19 results on the same day.
Her mother-in-law and brother-in-law, living in the same house, are still healthy. Her mother-in-law used gloves when cooking for them, washed her hands often, and kept a safe distance. The brother-in-law lived in a separate room.
Tram said the media in America provides instructions for people on how to self-monitor when quarantining at home and people are told to go to the hospital only when there are severe symptoms and breathing breathing.
She used the time at home to learn from people who'd contracted the virus and shared their experiences on social media. Their main advice was to take vitamins to strengthen the body’s resistance, take pain relievers and medication for reducing fever.
Tram’s cousin, who lives in Seattle, Washington, also contracted Covid-19 a few months ago. The 45-year-old cousin had no underlying disease but she got seriously ill. She went to the hospital and was given medicines to take at home. She recovered after a month.
“She had a fever, while I just had chills with no fever,” Tram said.
Tram and her husband admitted that when they went to Florida, they were not vigilant about protecting themselves when going in and out of the hotels and restaurants. When they received the positive test results, they were very scared and worried.
“However, after a few days when I woke up feeling better and more awake, I started gardening and felt optimistic again,” she said.
Earlier this summer, the Covid-19 situation in America improved because more people got vaccinated. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people who've had two jabs no longer need to wear a mask, even in indoor public spaces.
Her family did not get vaccinated after hearing about someone who developed blood clots and died after receiving the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.
“Our family was waiting to see how other people’s bodies reacted when getting Covid-19 vaccines before deciding whether to get the jab or not. But, unfortunately, we contracted Covid-19 in the meantime,” Tram recalled.
After the vaccine death, the government kept using it, saying there were only a few cases of blood clots happening.
After her recovery, Tram has the same advice to give others that she received. Stay calm when you get infected. If symptoms are severe, go to the hospital; have medicines to reduce fever, orange or lime juice to supplement vitamin C intake and do the blanket sauna every day to sweat out toxins.
Dr. Nguyen Hong Vu with America’s National Cancer Institute City of Hope said that when self-treating at home, people with Covid-19 need to ensure three main steps – minimizing interaction with others, take good care of oneself, and keep close watch on the symptoms to know if and when to go to the hospital.
To minimize the chance of infecting others, it is better to stay in a separate room and isolate oneself from uninfected people at home as also pets because they can become carriers of the virus. If possible, use a private bathroom. If one has to come into contact with family members or pets, wash hands first and wear a mask.
Mild symptoms that people with Covid-19 can treat themselves at home are fever, cough, chills, body aches and others. Treatment includes rest, keeping the body hydrated, using pain relievers and fever reducers when needed, taking vitamin and mineral supplements for the body with fresh fruits. Get vitamin D with exposure to the sun for 5-10 minutes every day, drink milk and eat eggs. The blanket sauna and steaming method can soothe sore throats and open airways, making breathing easier, Vu said.
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