Community members share Covid-19 prevention and recovery advice

Covid-19 has had a major impact on all of our lives, and each and every one of us must to do everything possible to slow the spread. We share some advice from community members on how to protect yourself and your loved ones, and from people who have recovered from Covid-19 on how best to take care of yourself.

Prevention:

Vivian Qoba, a Neighbourhood Watch Member from Ilitha Park in Khayelitsha has devised a clever way to remember the do's and don'ts of keeping safe and helping to slow the spread.

"I think any easy way to remind ourselves is to avoid M.E.N- so you must avoid touching you Mouth, Eyes and Nose, and to follow W.O.M.E.N meaning WASH your hands, OBEY social distancing, MASK up, EXCERCISE and eat well and NO unnecessary travel."

Media personality Baydu Adams has the following advice: "If you don't have to go out. Stay home and only go out if you need to buy essentials. If you can, plan ahead so you only have to go out once a week or maybe every two weeks." 

And he says, when you do go out, "use your mask to cover your nose and mouth, so your entire respiratory system is covered.

What to do if you get ill:

Tygerberg accounts clerk Pauline Ruiters initially treated her symptoms at home but was eventually hospitalised.

"My temperature was 38.8, and I also experienced a tight chest, fatigue and loss of appetite. In the beginning, I used the asthma pump and took Panado for pain and fever. But after my chest got so tight, I had to go to the hospital".

Many people will only experience mild symptoms, but if they become more serious, and you experience trouble breathing, it is time to seek medical attention.

Alida Portland is a healthcare worker from George who had her son help look after her as they isolated together.

"He made sure I had a bucket of clean water, a bucket of water and bleach to clean my hands and a separate bucket for my eating utensils. He also prepared my food when I didn't feel up to the task and brought it on a tray."

Chief Eric Galada, a traditional leader in Langa suggests finding ways to stick to your routine is important in isolation, and continued to work on building cars in his workshop. "I ensured that no other family member would access the garage so that I would be isolated and working on my own. It was a great help and I was intentional on sticking to as much of my routine as I could, while still being in isolation."

He continued to eat his meals, even though he couldn't really taste them,  supplemented with vitamin C, and exercised when he could to keep his strength up as he recovered. 

His advice is to take it slowly.

"When I felt better and started exercising, I found I would be easily out of breath, and so I took it one day at a time, and over time became stronger."

Groote Schuur medical intern Dr Laeequa Bayat says that focusing on your mental health is as important during recovery as your physical health.

"Covid-19 is not just a virus that affects you physically, but also mentally. It is vitally important that you do not feel alone and try to communicate with friends and family using electronic devices>"

Nokulunga Mpangasi, a nursing sister at Mowbray maternity agrees and advises people to support those recovering.

"To isolate for 14 days is lonely. We need your support and encouragement to help us remain positive and beat the virus."

Stigma:

Langa resident Nosisi Jacobs experienced stigma first hand when she tested positive for Covid-19. She and her children were placed in one of the Western Cape Government's isolation facilities where she was able to recover safely. 

She says:" we must support each other, because when you test positive, you need the support from your family and your community. Anyone can get coronavirus. You never know who in your on life will be affected or infected next by this virus. Remember, they are also scared. Be kind to those who get sick and offer to help them."

Mowbray maternity nurse Nompumelelo Blakfesi, who has recovered from the virus says: "Covid-19 does not discriminate. Anyone can get it. Be kind."

We should all heed the advice of these members of our communities, and ensure we are keeping ourselves safe, protecting our loved ones, and acting with kindness and empathy for those who are sick and who need assistance or care.