Stop the spread of coronavirus: Don’t let your guard down among family and friends

In partnership with the Solidarity Fund.  

We spoke to Lynn Truter, an NGO frontline worker from Cape Town who has recovered from the coronavirus.

Like hundreds of thousands of other South Africans, her experience reminds us about the three simple things we can do to stop the spread of the virus – keep wearing a mask properly, keep social distance, keep avoiding large indoor gatherings – and remember even your closest friends could be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. 

My message to others is please try not to panic, try to control your anxiety. I learned this the hard way. Laying in a Covid ward raised my anxiety – and I already suffer from anxiety as it is. I knew I had to calm myself as I have seen how people panic themselves into a frenzy in the ICU. You need not panic – It causes many more problems. It is hard to not think about it, but you also need to think about your life and wellbeing.

People are very careful in public, but tend to let their guard down with family. So it is important to know your bubble, and who your family hangs out with.

So what happens after a positive Covid-19 test? 

You must know that there are things you can do that may give you some ease. 

First of all, if you do get the virus, don’t get sucked into a vortex of bad news, fake news and misinformation. If social media is giving you anxiety, log off but also know that there are support groups online that could help you. Most of all, don’t panic. Stock up on zinc, vitamin D & C, steam your face at night with vicks or eucalyptus oil. And most importantly, remember to take precautions, isolate yourself as much as possible, to avoid spreading the virus further. 

What was your experience like in hospital?

I was admitted to hospital because I had developed pneumonia. If you are admitted to hospital please be patient with healthcare workers. They are human too, they are overworked and doing their utmost best. Have some care and compassion. They put themselves at risk on a daily basis for us. 

The thing about this coronavirus is that it affects every person differently. It was scary to witness people going into ICU, and it was even scarier to hear of some people falling ill even after they recovered. The doctors have learnt a lot over these past few months – despite not having all the answers yet. Everyone should have peace of mind that the doctors do know what they are doing in general. But your body will be affected differently. I am still scared about forgetting to breathe.

Lynn Truter spoke to Ling Shepherd. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.