I opened my inbox late one night to see the email I had been waiting for: the results of my COVID-19 test. I clicked on it, fully expecting that I had simply been a little paranoid when I scheduled the test, and that I must have tested negative. But to my surprise, my test came back positive—and I was completely shocked.
Throughout this pandemic, I have been working from home, avoiding indoor gatherings, and wearing a mask every time I ran errands. During one of my trips to the grocery store, post office, or pharmacy, I must have been exposed to the virus somehow. But when I started sneezing and dealing with blocked sinuses and a sore throat, I figured that I was just dealing with a seasonal cold. But with COVID cases on the rise in my city, I decided to go and get tested, assuming that I would quickly receive a negative result that would bring me peace of mind. Unfortunately, my assumptions were wrong.
As I stared at the email, I realized that neither my boyfriend nor I would be able to leave our apartment for at least ten days. Thankfully, we had prepared in advance for these exact circumstances, and we would have most of what we needed to ride out the next two weeks or so at home. And it was a good thing that we had plenty of food and supplies on hand—like many people who have had COVID-19, I enjoyed a day or two of what felt like normalcy after experiencing my initial symptoms, and I assumed that my mild case was behind me. But a different set of symptoms came back, I found myself struggling with fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and a surprisingly high resting heart rate.
In the grand scheme of things, I still consider myself very lucky, and I am feeling like myself again now. But in the United States, it looks like we’re in for a long and difficult winter before most people will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, if you’re planning to hunker down, it’s a smart idea to stock up on certain items. You don’t have to wipe the shelves clean at your local grocery store to prepare for tough times. Here are a few items that helped me get through those weeks and alleviated my stress.
The fatigue of COVID-19 made it tough to find the energy to cook healthy meals. But I’m a huge fan of Amy’s canned vegan soups, so when I got sick, we already had quite a few cans in the pantry! AllI I had to do was spend a few minutes heating it up on the stove, so it didn’t take much energy. Personally, I love lentil and black bean soups, but any vegetable soups are a great choice when you’re feeling under the weather. Make sure that you’ve got your favorites in your pantry just in case.
I definitely prefer eating whole foods whenever possible, but I have to admit that having frozen vegan meals on hand already also made it much easier to eat a relatively healthy diet while I was sick. Aldi carries a very affordable line of frozen vegan burgers, and having a couple of boxes of those in the freezer was super convenient. Brands like Gardein also make tasty frozen options, but those are a bit pricier. I also had several bags of frozen fruit on hand for making smoothies—this is an easy way to get extra vitamin C!
Speaking of vitamins, it’s a good idea to see if you need any refills. A few months ago, I had heard that taking vitamin D could help to protect against COVID-19, and even if you caught the virus, it could protect you from developing severe symptoms and speed up your recovery. Clearly, taking vitamin D didn’t eliminate my risk of getting COVID-19, but purchasing a bottle of vegan vitamin D is a smart move. This is especially important as we head into winter. I also had multivitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin B12 already, and while I have no proof that these vitamins helped ease my symptoms and pave the way for a full recovery, it’s worth a shot!
When you’re dealing with a sore throat, there’s nothing better than a warm, soothing mug of tea. I drank countless cups of tea when I had COVID, and it always helped provide some relief. My personal favorite? Lemon, ginger, and turmeric! Some people who catch COVID do report bad reactions to caffeine, so pick up a few decaf flavors.
Finally, nothing calmed my nerves like my pulse oximeter. I purchased this small device back in April, when I read that you could use it to easily check your heart rate and blood oxygen levels. Being able to check these vital signs is very important if you catch COVID, because if your blood oxygen levels dip under 90%, you may need to seek medical attention.
This device fits over your fingertip and measures your heart rate blood oxygen levels using infrared light reflection. While there were days when my resting heart rate was higher than usual, my blood oxygen levels always stayed within the normal range, which alleviated my stress. I would definitely recommend ordering a pulse oximeter online—it’s worth every penny!
Also by Jane: What Scientists Propose To Prevent Future Pandemics From Zoonotic Diseases
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