Here is a combination of tweets from a first-hand covid-19 experience of a Kenyan on Twitter.
First, am not a medical expert (I am sharing this because it happened to my wife and that’s how I know it). We are not big on sharing personal stuff, but I could not keep this information to myself even though it means sharing a part of us.
So some days back COVID-19 visited us. We started treatment, you know what they say (cough syrup for kids if they are coughing, stronger medication for adults if they show symptoms and immune boosters/multivitamins to boost your immunity.
The famous concoction, and of course eating fruits, vegs and resting more. We had done all that… for 10 days since the test and all the symptoms had vanished- we were all healthy and okay- but still keeping away from other humans until we confirm the virus is completely gone.
Yesterday, out of nowhere, my wife started having breathing difficulties. It was bad, like a horror movie. We opened all windows, sat outside the house with her, nothing was helping. She was breathing heavily, couldn’t feel the air going into her lungs and we were all scared.
We thought that it was all because of the COVID-19 infection we were battling (this was the last thing we wanted anyone to experience). All that was going through our minds was oxygen, ventilator, ICU, the bills, they are full… and at some point… she thought this was it.
I rushed her to the hospital (MP SHAH) around 5 am (now she was really struggling to breathe). When we got there, she started stabilizing- without any treatment. Maybe she felt safe in there. What made her even more calm and relaxed was when we realised the cause of her struggle.
– we were chatting with a nurse as we waited for the doctor- he asked about what medication she was taking and that is when we realised she had taken more Azithromycin than she should have.
The conversation was like this:
Nurse: Had she finished her dose for azithromycin?
Me: Is there even a dose for that? She has been taking one tablet a day since she had chest pains.
Nurse: Are you serious? You only take it for three days!
Me: (ashamed) – she took it for 7 days.
That was the end of the conversation- he checked her vitals, said she’s stable & asked that we wait for the doctor. Then I started googling & realized what my wife was exhibiting was actually the side effects of azithromycin, multiplied by the fact that she had taken an overdose.
I immediately called a friend who had been using the same- she had taken it for 10 days and was surprised to also know that all her pain during her battle the COVID was actually as a result of the medication and not the infection. Same experience she went through (even worse).
The biggest challenge is that the side effects of most of the antibiotics can be confused with COVID-19 symptoms and so you may never know, or worse- they may confuse you to take more medication and make it even worse. Make no mistake, I have made calls since yesterday.
We are not the only ones. A lot of people have done the same and went through very tough experiences. From diarrhea, irregular heart beat, difficulty in breathing, nausea, dizziness, fainting etc…
In my case, all I remember my doctor saying was that I should get azithromycin because it helps manage chest complications/pain, and that we should take one tablet per day. When my wife started having chest pains- almost few days after we knew, she started taking it.
I looked for azithromycin that evening, found it at some clinic, I was given one box (that is all the clinic had). Next day I went to a chemist and bought three more boxes (they were just written 1X1).
plus what we knew from my friend who was also dealing with COVID at the time was to take it everyday until you feel better. When Mercy started experiencing chest pains, she took the tablets religiously for 7 days (research says women are the best at completing their meds)-
I took them for 2 days, felt okay and didn’t take anymore (Don’t judge; I was at the same time taking meds for H.Pylori). Turns out- you are supposed to only take azithromycin for 3 days (might vary with the different types). The last one almost killed her…
– her oxygen level went up to 100% and further lab tests on her blood showed that she was perfectly healthy and not even showing any effect of COVID-19. There was even no point of testing. She was okay- few hours later the doctor released us.
She took a lot of water again, rested- woke up, got breakfast and rested again, had lunch, and more water and by evening she was perfectly okay. People, antibiotics can be too strong for our bodies and have very serious side effects, and even kill.
It doesn’t matter how you are scared about the virus- when you learn you are positive; make sure whatever meds you take are properly prescribed. Follow the dosage at least- be sure how much to take, when to take it and how to take it.
A lot of people could be suffering and even dying because of these simple mistakes. I know what its like to deal with COVID… people recommend everything and you can be confused. Amongst the people who recommended azithromycin to us was my sister, and friends.
None of them said anything about the dosage or side effects (but they just helping us, you know)- at a time we had no idea what to do. If you don’t have any symptoms… avoid antibiotics unless recommended by a doctor with cause.
The most important thing is to support your body to fight the virus— not weaken it further by using drugs you might even need. I called the MOH COVID-19 emergency number, turns out this wasn’t on their radar. They promised to share.
I have shared with my friends as well and thought why not share with more people? COVID-19 is here with us… you don’t know who will need to know this. From experience, the panic and the confusion that come with knowing you have COVID…
I feel we need as much people as possible knowing the right thing to do. So share this information with your networks, groups etc. Let everyone know. If you have any of the side effects and it gets worse- like it did for us; see a doctor immediately.