With cases rocketing to all-time highs, I’m both unsurprised and furious that our family caught the virus. We don’t go on vacation or eat out, we don’t meet friends, hell, we barely go out. But we, unfortunately, caught COVID-19 somewhere between essential errands and accepting online deliveries.

I decided to document everything for the doctor’s reference and I’m sharing it here as well for anyone who can make use of the information.

TLDR/ Summary of COVID-19 experience

The symptoms started with my mom with chills and muscle tightness in Dec 29th, my sister the next day with sore throat and slight cough, and I had stuffy nose morning on the fourth day since my mom showed symptoms. My mom and sister tested positive on the fifth day, which I automatically assumed included me since I share a room with both of them. My brother, who has his own room tested negative.

My brother, sister, and I are fully vaccinated, so that may or may not have an effect to our experience.

Throughout the quarantine duration, we wore masks, regularly monitored our temperature and oxygen. Fortunately, we always have enough supplies to last us two weeks in case the inevitable happened, so it was a good call for us. In terms of our food, my brother is the only one who is allowed to cook since he’s negative, but no tasting is done for any of the dishes we eat for safety. Good thing he’s been cooking for a long time and can easily estimate the required seasoning.

We’ve probably drank enough vitamins and medicine to last the rest of the year and juggling between Ambroxol (Couxin), Acetylcysteine (Fluimucil), Paracetamol (Biogesic and Bioflu). While my sister and mom did take some Lian-Hua Qin-Wen, the famous Chinese COVID-19 medicine, and some herbal Chinese medicines. All of us also took Vitamins C and D,o and gargled some oral rinse (Orahex) when necessary throughout the 14 days of quarantine.

In terms of symptoms, it was pretty mild for my mother and I, mostly what seemed like flu—cough, and colds, with some occasional muscle pain while feeling tired on some days. My sister though had it a little rough, as she had the same cough and colds, but also fever, and she did lose her smell for 2 full days and taste for 4 full days. I’d say the first three or four days were the toughest for us while the rest were more manageable.

How it feels getting COVID-19

If I’m going to be honest, I find it quite unfair that we contracted this, when there are many who even go on gatherings and out of towns like there wasn’t a virus in the first place. Our household barely goes out, and if we do, it’s 99% of the time essential errands.

Nonetheless, I’m just glad that all we had manageable symptoms and no one needed to be hospitalized. We couldn’t afford medical expenses so it’s a good thing that medicine and at-home practices were able to treat us of the virus.

For anyone who contracts COVID-19, make sure you seek a doctor for any medicines you need to take, and whatever else you have to do. Effects can be very different from person to person, and what works for one may not for the other.

If you’d like to know the day-to-day accounts, feel free to read ahead.

Day-to-day COVID-19 experience

Note that the tense of the storytelling may not be consistent and some grammatical errors may be seen as these were written either day-of or the next day while sick. Keeping it as real as possible.

First day of symptoms (Dec 29, Wed)

My mother was experiencing chills and muscle tightness. We didn’t think it was out of the ordinary as she’s already old and she typically has this problem.

Second day (Dec 30, Thurs)

My mom started to have sore throat followed by cough. The chills were gone at this point.

Third day (Dec 31, Fri)

My mom still had sore throat and cough. By late evening, my sister started to feel a sore throat, and light cough.

Fourth day (Jan 1, Sat)

I woke up with a stuffy nose. I share the same room with my sister and mother so it made sense I caught whatever virus they had. My phlegm was initially green when I got out of bed, but that turned to white after a few times I blew my nose. There wasn’t anything extraordinary in our household this day, as our family, excluding me, almost always has colds due to allergic rhinitis.

By late afternoon, my sister started feeling cold and experiencing some headaches. This is also pretty common with her so we didn’t think of it as anything out of the usual. By nighttime, she started to feel hot and her first temp was 37.3C.

Early in the evening, my nose on the other hand started to become stuffy and runny again, and I sneezed a lot. Both my sister and I went to bed early to rest. It was at this time we started to think it might be COVID-19, as the symptoms were all there for the three of us who shared the same room. We took Ambroxol and Vitamin C at this time.

My brother had no symptoms at all, but it might also be because he has his own bedroom and didn’t catch the virus we had in our room.

Fifth day (Jan 2, Sun)

Around midnight, my sister had fever. Around the same time, I felt hot and felt chills despite not having an air conditioning unit or electric fan open. I was curled up and covered with a blanket the whole time but still felt cold. It was around an hour or two later when I took the blanket off and I felt better. I couldn’t sleep properly the whole night as I was already feeling my throat itch and cough brewing in my throat. I woke up every 30 minutes or so to coughing from my sister and my mom. I decided to get up at around 6:30am because the weather felt hot and my head was aching unusually different from my migraine attacks. I wasn’t sure if the headache came from the COVID-19 symptom or my all-night interrupted sleep though. I took Bioflu, gargled Orahex, and took a bath, which normally helped ease my headaches. It only disappeared for about 30 minutes before it started to hurt again. I was able to catch about an hour and a half of sleep in the morning and woke up around 10am. Unfortunately, my throat started to feel itchy already at this point, and I caught myself coughing a few times every few hours to “scratch” the itch.

After lunch, I took Ambroxol again and Biogesic this time to ease my headache. For the most part of the afternoon, I felt a little heavy and tired, but nothing unmanageable. My sister still had fever at 38C which gradually subsided through the rest of the day. My mom on the other hand was feeling dizzy.

Around 3pm, we decided to take the home testing antigen kit my mom got a few months back. We had our sister take it first since she was the one who had the most symptoms from all of us. It turned positive, albeit light on the mark, but still positive.

Had my mom take it as well, since she’s immunocompromised and she was the first to show symptoms and it turned positive as well. I didn’t bother taking the test for myself as it made sense that I had it too since I share the room with them and had symptoms of my own.

My brother took the test as well but his’ came out negative. Unfortunately, we don’t have the means to isolate and we only had one toilet and bath, so it could just be time before my brother gets it too. My brother, sister, and I are all fully vaccinated so I’m relieved quite a little bit.

The rest of the day was mostly a bunch of coughing. My sister did have a fever for the rest of the night, ranging from 37.8C to 38.6C. We started wearing a mask inside the house while my brother almost holed up in his room the whole time to avoid contracting the virus.

Sixth day (Jan 3)

I slept through the night better than the night before, but I now woke up with an actual cough and not just an itchy throat. My mom also slept better last night. My sister was coughing through the night though.

Throughout the day, my symptoms felt like bad flu—cough, stuffy and runny nose, and feeling tired. At around lunch, I felt some muscle pains in my forearms and knee area, but I’m not sure if COVID-19 has anything to do with that. By night time, I was feeling tired, possibly because I was still working throughout the day. It was my first day at my new workplace and I didn’t feel like being absent.

My sister didn’t have any fever in the morning, but it went on and off starting from lunch to before she slept in the evening.

Seventh day (Jan 4)

Woke up better than the day before, I only had an irritated throat when I woke up. After some time when I got out of bed though was when the coughing and colds began.

My sister though hasn’t stopped coughing and blowing her nose that she had to get out of bed already due to how annoying it became. She’s taking Lian-Hwa and some Chinese herbal meds.

Overall, I felt significantly better than the past two days. I only coughed occasionally on this day, my throat was less itchy, and my nose is only stuffy and runny from time to time. My sister’s fever hasn’t resurfaced yet since last night, but she was still coughing continuously.

At this point, I’m only taking Acetylcysteine (Fluimucil) due to the 5-day consistency requirement, and Vitamins C and D. I only felt a bit worse around 6pm when my nose started to act up, which may be associated with tiredness catching up on me from a full day’s work. But it wasn’t anything unmanageable.

Eight day (Jan 5)

I slept better and woke up like it was a normal day. I feel better. Only coughed once to clear my throat and my nose is clear for the most part. My sister though still has a stuffy nose, sneezes a lot, has coughed throughout the night, but her fever hasn’t resurfaced again since the evening of Jan 3.

My sister lost her taste around lunch and her smell a few hours after. She’s very tired and her head is spinning from dizziness.

Meanwhile, I get nasal congestion at night only, I’m not sure why. I do start to feel weak around 6pm onwards but I’m not sure if that’s only because I’m still working.

For 5 consecutive days, I can’t sleep early or easily at night when I can normally fall asleep by 9pm. I was only able to sleep around 11:30pm despite lying down by 8pm.

Ninth day (Jan 6)

My sleep last night was a little disrupted compared to the past three days. I had so much phlegm that I can physically feel it in my throat and nasal area. I briefly had a stuffy nose when I woke up but it cleared out after a few minutes. My eyes also felt tired early in the day for some reason.

Mom seems okay already, while she still has a slight cough, it seems much more manageable. My sister still doesn’t have a sense of taste and smell and she experiences headaches on and off throughout the day. She stopped taking Lian-hwa as it seemed to manifest side effects such as dizziness and fast heart beat. It was pretty scary. She’s slowly starting to regain a little bit of smell and taste already.

Tenth day (Jan 7)

It’s my birthday today. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. I’ve never been one to celebrate (it’s usually just my partner who loves to make a big deal), so today is just like any other. I didn’t even take a leave from work today.

On the COVID-19 part, I’m doing fairly okay. Really sleepy today but I don’t think that has anything to do with that. My mom looks better as well.

Things have started to calm down in terms of symptoms, and it very much feels like everyone is on the road to full recovery. We’ve mostly stopped taking medicines and only take Vitamins C and D right now.

Eleventh to Seventeenth day (Jan 814)

By the eleventh day, my sister has fully regained her sense of smell and taste as well, and her fever hasn’t resurfaced since the evening of Jan 3rd.

At this point, we’re waiting for 14 days to be over since my symptoms occurred before getting tested again. Our symptoms are barely disturbing our everyday life anymore. Mine’s just the occasional coughing due to my itchy throat, but definitely on the road to recovery. We all sleep well at night and we feel lighter.

By Jan 15th, we were supposed to take our test but I’m honestly scared of seeing positive… I didn’t have a choice come today, Jan 16th though as I need the results for work as well.

Finally, our tests came out negative. And here I am closing off this post with that final update.

Almost all my friends have contracted the virus, and it’s a really scary situation to be in. Aside from the effects of COVID-19, it can be financially straining if you turn out to have serious symptoms.

Please help our frontliners by staying at home. And if you have any symptoms or came in contact with someone who did, please isolate and get tested. It’s really insensitive to go about your day like it’s normal knowing you may be spreading the virus.

Keep safe everyone! And please do avoid going out for now!