Katina Ann Jeethu, a 19-year-old undergraduate student at Christ University, tested positive for COVID-19 on April 18. As her only symptom was the loss of smell, she found it hard to distinguish it as a symptom of COVID rather than a symptom of a common cold. After testing positive, she immediately went into isolation in her room in Thripunithu.
Her family had kept a table outside her room where they would place meals to avoid contact as much as possible. After having food, Katina would clean utensils and keep them back table. She continued to wear a mask when taking her plate of food outside her room until she tested positive.
Since she did not have any fever, the doctors didn't prescribe her any medicine. However, she took vitamin C supplements. "I drank a lot of hot water, gargled hot turmeric water with salt and took steam three times a day," Katina said. She also monitored her oxygen levels, took rest, and checked her sense of smell by smelling a hand cream with a strong scent.
While in isolation, she read, wrote, watched positive movies, and did some work related to her degree. She refrained from watching demure movies to keep her morale high. She also talked to a lot of people over the phone.
For Katina, the post-COVID effects were more evident than the COVID symptoms. "I have frequent back pains from out of the blue, nausea, shortness of breath and lower stamina," she said. It was very hard for her to get back to her routine before COVID as she experienced constant fatigue.
When asked about her experience with isolation, she said, "You're sitting in a room for ten days with no contact with nature and surrounded by four walls. After the first few days, you forget which day it is or what the time is."
She said that the things that used to bring her joy in the first two days would no longer make her happy as the days progressed. "You can't watch a happy movie for ten minutes straight."
Although she craved talking to people, she no longer wanted to video call as it did not feel real. She showed very mild symptoms, but she was constantly anxious about the side effects that she heard people who had COVID experience.
Having survived COVID-19, Katina now advises everyone to stay at home. "It's better to avoid contracting the virus than contracting it and recovering from it because recovering is a difficult process," she said. Even if the cases come down and the government eases the restrictions, she advises every one to continue taking precautions because even if some people are immune to the virus, they might be a carrier to others.
She said that if someone tests positive, they should remind themselves that this is just a phase, and it will pass. She said COVID patients in isolation should engage in activities that make them happy, take as much rest as possible and eat as healthy as possible, and embrace the negative emotions. "Embrace the fact that you will feel negative. Don't force yourself to be happy and try to conquer your negative emotions," she concluded.
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