Fazlin Railoun: My experience of surviving Covid-19 at home

In partnership with the Solidarity Fund. 

Ling Shephered spoke to Fazlin Railoun, a businesswoman who has recovered from the Coronavirus. 


I was in contact with someone who had Covid without knowing. We had visited the person and it all started from there. On the 15th of December 2020 I started feeling weird. I had an immense ear and toothache. Everything was just sore. I didn’t want to take any chances, so I got tested and got the positive result the following day.

The anxiety started, and I was online searching for quick fixes in a frenzy. My saving grace was steaming from day one with Vicks and eucalyptus oil in boiling water. I live on a smallholding with other family members. I isolated myself immediately with my daughter, and we weren’t in contact with anyone. I didn’t have a choice but to isolate her as many other mothers do. A part of me believes that being in the same airspace with anyone who has Covid-19 is enough to catch it. By the fourth day I could barely breathe. I knew then this was no joke when I started choking on my own air. It feels like your lungs are being squeezed. 


In a time like this many people have rallied together to support each other – I call it Covid teams. I sought advice from my mother who had it and recovered. There are these connections you form, reaching out to people for their advice and coping mechanisms. I immersed myself into these kinds of networks of support. The first and most impossible thing everyone said to do was “calm down”. Add to that the difficulty of breathing was just so challenging. I spent most of my days doing the steaming.

The breathing is the main problem. It’s been three weeks, and only for the past day or two I feel like I can take a deep breath. It is so bizarre but I am teaching myself to breathe, and manage my breathing like I used to. I did breathing exercises by blowing through a straw into a glass of water to rebuild the strength of my lungs. 

The oximeter

An oximeter calculates how much oxygen there is in your blood. Anything over 90 means your breathing is good and you won’t need supplemental oxygen therapy. If you go under 90, your oxygen intake is too little for your body. At this point you will need to be admitted to hospital. 


I had lots of support around me but in the back of my mind I think about those who don’t. I keep thinking about what we can do to help those in need. This can be an initiative. I am giving myself a month to be 100 percent healthy, and then I am going to throw myself into assisting those in need. This battle with Covid-19 even made me give up smoking after 18 years. There have been some silver linings. I am using natural remedies like the sea grass and “Wilde Als” tea. I am taking the more holistic route right now in recovery. Maybe my assistance can be in the herbal way because it will be more accessible for working class people. 

Prevention, assistance and positivity 

Having a positive Covid-19 diagnosis is an emotional rollercoaster. I spent days crying. I would like people to know you can recover. It feels like the end of the world at the time. It does change you, it changes every perspective. I wish that no one has to go through it. Please stay indoors and take all the precautions. Wear your mask and sanitise. Isolate so you don’t affect anyone else. Think about the next person. Help people around you, join Whatsapp groups. Assist where you can.