Covid-19 experience: ‘My family was worried because I’m asthmatic’

Lusanda Luyenge (Photo: Supplied/Lusanda Luyenge)
Lusanda Luyenge (Photo: Supplied/Lusanda Luyenge)

“I had to keep telling my mind that I have a cold, even though I knew it wasn’t and its effects were far worse. It was one of the ways that helped me stay positive.”

These are the words of Lusanda Luyenge from Brackenfell, Cape Town, who’s asthmatic and contracted Covid-19.

Speaking to YOU magazine, the 27-year-old recalls her battle with coronavirus and how she managed to remain positive during the trying time.

“I was under quarantine during lockdown with my close friend and his mom. A couple of days before we tested positive, we’d come down with a really bad flu which we recovered from after staying indoors and self-medicating – or so we thought,” Lusanda tells us.

“But my friend’s mom got worse and started experiencing shortness of breath, so we took her into the hospital, where she was admitted. We awaited communication from the hospital overnight but no one got back to us.

“The next day we decided to go in and that’s when we were informed she’d tested positive for the virus.”

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Although at this point Lusanda hadn’t tested for the virus, she knew that she must’ve contracted it after being in close contact with someone who had it.

“On 1 June I tested for Covid-19 and before I even received my results on 4 June, I already knew I had it because I’d started showing symptoms,” she says.

One of those symptoms was loss of taste and smell which she experienced just a day after getting tested.

“Losing my senses of taste and smell really made me emotional. It was by far the hardest.

“I also spent lots time online. The worst thing you could do to yourself during this time is Google any of your symptoms because the search results you get can be quite daunting.

“For example, I read that there was a possibility that my taste and smell would only recover after three months. That kind of worried me even more.”

Despite the angst her endless Google searches caused, Lusanda says she tried to be optimistic. “I had to constantly remind myself that I’d recover.”

While the young woman was fortunate enough to have been in isolation with her friend and away from her family, her loved ones worried about her asthma.

Lusanda Luyenge (Photo: Supplied/Lusanda Luyenge)
Lusanda Luyenge (Photo: Supplied/Lusanda Luyenge)

“My family was more worried because I’m asthmatic and in the past couple of months we’ve come to understand just how detrimental this virus can be, especially to those who already have underlying respiratory issues,” she said.

As a result, in addition to the immune boosters Lusanda was already taking, she put drops of eucalyptus oil in a steamer to clear her airways and lungs.

“As an asthmatic, I’m really fortunate to have not experienced any signs of shortness of breath.

“After I completed my 14 days of self-isolation and some of the symptoms subsided, my chest would tighten up a bit. But I’d use my asthma pump which helped.”

“My family really supported me and the City of Cape Town too because a consultant would call to check on my progress and make sure I was still able to self-isolate where I was,” she said.

Lusanda says while the virus wasn’t aggressive towards her respiratory system, it’s vital for others to always look out for coronavirus symptoms and inform those around them if they do test positive.

“Tell the people around you. It’s the only way to curb the spread. But most importantly, remember to remain positive, self-isolate, medicate and look after your mental wellbeing.”

*Covid-19 is keeping many of us indoors. Our shopping trips have become brief, normal activities have been halted. Many have been wondering if they’ll still get their copy of their favourite YOU magazine. And how will we find things to do while indoors.

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