Article: Probably ‘That’ Coronavirus: My Symptoms

By Katey Watson, July 2020

Image: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, Pixabay

Home
Appendices

Disclaimer: I wasn’t tested for COVID-19, so I don’t know for sure if it was ‘That’ virus; however, I strongly suspect it was – I’ll update this article accordingly if I find out for sure.

Introduction

I thought I’d share my symptoms of ‘probably’ mild COVID-19 for anyone who’s curious, as I’m interested in peoples’ varied experiences, so I thought you might be too.

Pre-Virus

During the 14 days leading up to my first symptoms (13 March 2020), I had several social contacts: On the 14th day before my symptoms occurred (only 19 total UK COVID-19 cases had been reported in the UK, none in my area) I hosted my open house Birthday party with a total of 20 guests, some travelling from further afield, including London. Over the following days, I went to circuit training, a Jobs Fair in the city centre (I used public transport), local busy pub night, dentist appointments and met 2 friends from outside my city of residence (2 of us used public transport). In hindsight, I’m annoyed with myself for not being more cautious, but then, very few people were at the end of February/early March.

Image: Chris und Alisia Alpinger, Pixabay

Symptoms Summary

Officially recognised symptoms were initially fever and persistent cough. However, more recently, 19 symptoms were identified[1, 2].

I had a wide variety of symptoms, some fading and later re-emerging – some days I felt awful, followed by others when I thought I was recovering, only to relapse a day or so later. I wasn’t ever aware of having a fever and I didn’t realise until day 72 of symptoms that I’d partially lost my sense of smell – my Mum apologised for the overly ripe fruit stink, something that would usually bother me, but I hadn’t noticed it at all. I haven’t included the smell loss below, as I have no idea when it started.

My main symptoms spanned over 67 days. I went through a symptom-free phase between Day 29 and Day 35. At time of writing, it’s Day 112, and I’m still experiencing insomnia and fatigue, although lessening. It’s been an odd and interesting illness, COVID or not!

My Symptoms in Order of Appearance

Headache: Days 1 – 4, 6 – 8 & 10
(Image: mohamed Hassan, Pixabay)
Sore throat: Days 1 – 4, 6 – 8, 12 & 38 – 47
(Image: Ary setyobudi, Pixabay)
Cough (mostly dry): Days 2 – 21, 23 & 36 – 67
(Image: mohamed Hassan, Pixabay)
Breathlessness: Days 4 & 21
(Image: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, Pixabay)
Insomnia: Started after waking in the middle of the night unable to breathe. Resultant fatigue & brain fog: Day 4 onwards
(Image by Stephanie Ghesquier from Pixabay)
Gut discomfort: Days 4 – 5, 7 & 9 – 11
(Image: Christian Dorn, Pixabay)
Light-headedness/dizziness: Days 5 & 7
(Image by Stephanie Ghesquier, Pixabay)
Chest tightness/heart discomfort: Day 7 & Day 21
(Image: mohamed Hassan, Pixabay)
Body aches (mainly back, ribs & kidneys): Days 10 – 27 & 36
(Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay)
Impaired hearing: Day 21
(Image: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, Pixabay)
Skin burning sensations (right hip, waist & right thigh): Days 27 – 28
(Image: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, Pixabay)

I was mostly symptom-free (except insomnia, fatigue and brain fog) on Days 29- 35 and from Day 68 onwards.

Table of My Symptoms in Order of Appearance

Table: Summary of my symptoms & their duration, in order of appearance.

I hope you found this article informative and helpful. For graphical representation and more detailed extracts from my health diary, please click on: Supplementary Information.

Please consider joining the COVID Symptom Study (endorsed by the NHS Wales, NHS Scotland) to help track the virus, including emerging hotspots. All you need to do is download the app and report daily on whether or not you feel well – it only takes a minute to complete:

– Apple Store: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/covid-symptom-study/id1503529611
– Google Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.joinzoe.covid_zoe&hl=en_US

I hope you found this article interesting and informative. Stay safe.

Image: Elsemargriet, Pixabay

Home
Appendices

References

1. World Health Organization, 2020. Coronavirus: Symptoms [online]. Available from: www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_3.

2. COVID Symptom Study, 2020. 7 things you need to know about staying safe as lockdown measures begin to lift [online]. Available from: https://covid.joinzoe.com/post/tips-covid-safety.

Health Diary Week 0: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

The Starting Point (I’ve got to do this!)

Home

Photo by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay.

Background

…So, today it starts seriously. I need to sort out my weight and fitness levels. I’m fed up with disliking the way I look (I’m avoiding looking in full-length mirrors and my clothes don’t fit), but more importantly I want to be healthy and my body hurts from the excess weight on my joints.

My harsher side feels ashamed that I let myself go again. My kinder side reminds me not to beat myself up – the past five years have involved intense studying, with long hours sat in front of a computer and high stress levels.

Photo by Ambadi Sasi from Pixabay.

Now I’m at my heaviest again – last time was due to a long-term jogging injury to my feet when I was 33. For several years I couldn’t stand more than 30 minutes before experiencing excruciating pain (a pain always in the background now). A referral to a podiatrist revealed hypermobility[1] and I was advised my days of high impact sport were over. No more jogging or tennis for me. I was gutted!

The changing shape of me!

Current Situation

But back to now… a few weeks ago I decided I really needed to take some action, as my stomach was noticeably bigger, I couldn’t fit into most of my clothes and my boots wouldn’t zip-up around my calves! My self-esteem has gradually decreased as I’ve become bigger and I want to feel healthy again.

My calf-boot-zip issue!

Planning Stage

… I set up a spreadsheet (I’m a bit of a nerd!) to record my progress. This included a diary to monitor my sleep (poor sleep being a potential contributory factor in weight gain – more on this later), diet (I’ll explain food choices in following blogs), activity (exercise, social events) and health (both physical and mental).

Additionally, I decided to keep a food diary for at least a month, possibly 3, so that I can analyse results better.

My slightly nerdy spreadsheet.

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Okay, this is the incredibly uncomfortable part!

I weighed myself, which I found highly depressing – 175 lb (79 kg) at 160cm tall (5 ft 3 inches), placing me in the ‘obese class 1‘ category with a BMI of 31[2]. My scales calculated 43.4% of me was fat! According to the Salter scales handbook, women in their 40s need to aim for 24-34% fat. However, I’ve read that these bioimpedance scales aren’t necessarily accurate for measuring fat, although they do provide a good indication of which direction fat percentage is moving, so I’ll keep recording this regardless.

The dreaded scales!

Scarily, my waist circumference was 100 cm, 20 cm more than the recommendation for European Caucasian women, indicating abdominal obesity and a ‘very high risk’ of developing a metabolic disease (e.g. heart disease, type 2 diabetes)[3]. It’s crucial I sort this out!

Feeling Motivated

Motivated to take further action by these scary results, I followed up with a session on my exercise bike – an intended everyday activity.

My fold-up exercise bike (handy in limited living space).

So, here I am, at the beginning of another health journey – one that will likely have some ‘downs‘ along with the ‘ups’. However, now I don’t feel like I’m doing this alone, as I’ll be reporting my progress to those willing to read these blogs (you) and perhaps you’ll even join me with your own personal journey back to health…

Week 1>>>
Home

References

1. Hypermobility Syndromes Association, 2017. What are hypermobility syndromes? [online]. Available from: www.hypermobility.org/what-are-hypermobility-syndromes.
2. World Health Organisation: Regional Office for Europe, 2019. Body mass index – BMI. Available from: www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/nutrition/a-healthy-lifestyle/body-mass-index-bmi.
3. Alberti, K. G. M. M., Eckel, R. H., Grundy, S. M., Zimmet, P.Z., Cleeman, J. I., Donato, K. A., Fruchart, J., James, P. T., Loria, C. M. and Smith, S. C., 2009. Harmonizing the metabolic syndrome: a joint interim statement of the international diabetes federation task force on epidemiology and prevention; National heart, lung, and blood institute; American heart association; World heart federation; International atherosclerosis society; and International association for the study of obesity. Circulation [online], 120, 1640-1645. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192644.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate: