The fever started with a runny nose. The type of catarrh that ruins your mood, ruins your day and finally gives you a splitting headache. You are unable to breathe properly. There’s pain in your chest whenever you inhale and exhale. From out of nowhere, a cough gets involved and it becomes persistent. Your day certainly grinds to a halt and you force yourself to disbelieve that its a COVID-19 fever. It’s the common cold you assure yourself.
With the prevalence of the coronavirus, COVID-19 fever should not be taken lightly. The NCDC warns that anyone who has had cough, fever and at least one other symptom associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic in the last two weeks is a “suspected case” of the contagion.
Those with cough or fever (or history of fever in the last two weeks) with one or more of the symptoms will be a suspect case of COVID-19.
OMG, I actually had to battle these symptoms. But the truth is that I didn’t want to be identified as a COVID-19 suspect! God forbid! So I did what most Nigerians would do whenever we get a flu attack: BATTLE THE FLU!
My first step was to maintain a bathing routine of hot water. I made sure I had a hot bath frequently during the day. Then I bought the hottest mentholated balm popularly known in Nigeria as ‘Aboniki’. Caution: never rub ‘Aboniki’ on a child if you do not want the child screaming in strange languages.
My other arsenal in this battle of the pandemic included aspirin and vitamin C. A popular white powdery brand of aspirin packaged in paper sachet, known as Alabukun was the choice. In Lagos, Nigeria, many people, like myself, are addicted to this brand of aspirin due to its potency and fast action. The moment you gulp the content, after a couple of minutes, the headache and pain are all gone.
Most people don’t realise that Alabukun’s high aspirin content (760mg +caffeine) and the fact that the drug is in powdery form (high surface area) makes it potent. Most aspirin medications contain 325mg.
After a couple of days, my flu symptoms worsened. I needed to bring out the BIG GUNS. The big guns included our version of a steam bath with menthol vapour inhaled while wrapped up in a blanket. A bucket containing a mixture of hot, steamy water and menthol is placed right inside the blanket with me enduring the choking heat, steam and menthol. In addition, I also drank native, bitter, herbal concoctions known as ‘agbo’.
Third week into my ailment, I got better. But the headaches wouldn’t just let me be. So, finally I yielded to a laboratory test and the result was the usual suspects: MALARIA and TYPHOID. But COVID-19 was negative. Phew! What a relief.
For you all who were waiting to read how my venture into self medication yielded a fruitful result in combating COVID-19, sorry to disappoint you. The world still awaits the elusive cure which will finally bring our lives back to normal.
Anyways, in case you suspect you may have contracted COVID-19, here are additional symptoms to watch out for.
According to the NCDC, these are:
- Shivering/shaking (chills)
- Body pain
- Sore throat
- Recent loss of taste or smell
- Difficulty in breathing/shortness of breath
- Diarrhea/abdominal pain
- Runny nose/catarrh
- Fatigue (tiredness)
It adds, “A probable case of COVID-19 is any person that presented with any of the above symptoms in the last two weeks and died without a confirmatory COVID-19 test.”
Let me throw this one in:
Are you aware that temperature screening may not be effective in detecting the coronavirus disease?
Very true. Temperature screening alone, at exit or entry, is not an effective way to detect whether one has the virus, since infected individuals may be in incubation period and may not express apparent symptoms early. In order words, those temperature checks may just be wishful thinking.
What is the usual body temperature in coronavirus disease patients?
The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. So an indication of fever through high temperature may not be a sign of COVID-19.
The most effective way to protect yourself is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water. It is equally important you stay indoors and avoid contact with others to limit the spread of the disease.