Family opens up about living with Covid-19: ‘At its worst, the virus felt like an extreme level of flu combined with malaria’

Charlie and Morning-Star Champion. (Photo: Instagram/@
Charlie and Morning-Star Champion. (Photo: Instagram/@ uktonam)

A family of four from London affected by Covid-19 open up about living and recovering from the novel coronavirus.

Charlie and Morning-Star Champion and their children, Nelson and Ana, from Kensington, spoke to YOU about their experience with the coronavirus and the recovering process.

Morning-Star (39) said they had no idea when they caught the virus.

“The virus is so easily transmissible and it would have entered our bodies through the mouth, nose or ears,” the mom-of-two said.

“This could have happened by something as simple as touching our faces with our hands or breathing in droplets from an infected person’s sneeze or cough.”

The first person to show symptoms was Charlie (55), who started developing a cough.

“His cough was persistent and kept happening at least four times an hour for at least seven days. There was no mucus or phlegm. It was a dry cough.”

Morning-Star, who owns a shipping business, adds that her husband had a fever of more than 37,5 degrees, nausea, lack of appetite, taste and smell, fatigue and tiredness and had no energy to do basic things like watch TV or engage in conversation.

But Charlie didn’t develop chest pains or experience breathing difficulties, which could happen and cause complications such as pneumonia, according to the World Health Organisation.

Morning-Star started to develop symptoms of her own soon after her husband.

“My symptoms developed after Charlie had had a cough for 8 days. I developed a consistent cough lasting four days and a high fever of 38,7 that lasted for 24 hours.

“Luckily my symptoms were less severe and didn’t get any worse. However, fatigue and feeling tired lasted for about five days.”

Their son, Nelson (3), developed symptoms around the same time as his mother.

“He only had a high fever of 37,5 which lasted about six hours. His symptoms were a lot less severe and didn’t develop any worse,” Morning-Star said.

Their daughter, Ana (17), hasn’t experienced any symptoms to date.

Morning-Star, who was born and raised in Namibia, describes being infected as “scary and completely flattening”.

At their peak, symptoms felt like an extreme level of flu combined with malaria.

Although it was frightening, Morning-Star says the family would’ve been more scared with chest pains and/or breathing difficulaties as that would’ve required a trip to the hospital and possibly a ventilator to help them breathe.

Luckily, that didn’t happen. So, they stayed home and took paracetamol and drank plenty of fluids and warm water with ginger, garlic, ground turmeric, lemon, and honey.

“None of the above was a cure! But we felt it helped us cope better with our symptoms.

“From the onset of Charlie’s cough, we went into isolation as a family and haven't been out of the house for 15 days now. We’re lucky to have been able to do all our grocery shopping online.  We did send our daughter out as infrequently as possible to get essential supplies and we advised her to stay at least two metres away from people.”

Now being day 15, the family plans to be at home for at least another four weeks. “We have all recovered and Charlie is now feeling better as all the other symptoms are gone.”

Given what Charlie’s system has been through, Morning Star says, he’s feeling a little tired and is still coughing, which experts say is to be expected for another few days.

“As long as there are no breathing difficulties the cause of concern is very low and the sensible and right thing to do is to stay home and follow official guidelines and lockdown rules.”

The couple's main advice is for people to stay at home.

“Avoid visiting the elderly unless you are their carer and if you can, stay two metres away,” Morning-Star said.

“Wash your hands for 20 seconds every 30 minutes. Do not touch your face. Do not go to the hospital if you have pre-existing health issues like HIV, some cancers, diabetes, are pregnant or have had an organ transplant.

“Don’t go to the hospital if your symptoms haven’t been around for over seven days. If you have to go to the hospital, call in advance to let them know you are going there.

“This is absolutely crucial because the medical staff need to prepare for your arrival with protective gear and shut off doors to other patients to keep the risk of infection low.”



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