HOUSTON – Keisha Lyles is among Houston-area’s more than 500 coronavirus patients. Friday, she shared her experience so far with KPRC 2 so others may be better prepared to handle it.
“I have a humidifier here, I have my own personal bathroom, I have some vitamins,” Lyles said in a video chat.
She says at first, she thought when her fever came and went, that she was in the clear. Then other symptoms started showing up.
“I noticed that I started to develop a dry cough, which I’ve never had a dry cough before,” said Lyles.
Lyles said that cough and a tightness in her chest prompted her to get tested at a site in north Houston. Four days later, she got the bad news — positive for COVID-19.
“From the four days I’ve been playing with my son, spending time with my family that’s here, my father lives here, he’s 61,” said Lyles, who lives with her husband, three sons and father.
Lyles is also asthmatic and went to the ER when she started having trouble breathing.
“I was definitely scared,” Lyles said. “You see everyone get all ‘bio’ed up,’ you know, with the masks and everything. It felt like a freak show to be honest.”
When her breathing normalized Lyles said she was sent home. She says her doctors told her since she was not in critical condition, she did not need to be hospitalized.
“There’s no medicine that they can give me, there’s nothing that they can prescribe me, it’s really like nothing I can do,” said Lyles.
Making matters worse, she said she was sent home from the hospital with steroids to help with asthma, but her primary doctor advised her not to take those unless she was in dire need because steroids can suppress your immune system.
“So for me, being an asthmatic patient, what is the protocol for that?” said Lyles.
While there is no specific treatment for those who have asthma and COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do provide some guidance. You can read them here.
Isolating from your family
For now, Lyles says she is treating the symptoms as best she can and isolating herself from her family.
“I feel normal, I just, I’m having like really bad shortness of breath,” she said.
Lyles is certainly not alone in worrying about both her and her family’s health. Baylor of College of Medicine’s Dr. Jill Weatherhead said when one family member in a home tests positive for the virus, isolation is key.
“Separate out commonly-used household items so that person has their own separate set,” said Weatherhead, assistant professor of tropical medicine and infectious disease.
Weatherhead said that includes bed linens, towels, dishes, cups and utensils. Nothing should be shared.
“Even their own separate bathroom if available,” said Weatherhead.
Weatherhead says if a home’s primary caregiver gets sick, then she recommends they wear a mask and gloves.
“Frequently washing highly touched surfaces, doorknobs, tabletops, countertops,” said Weatherhead.
Weatherhead also said if one person in a home tests positive for the virus, then every member of the house needs to remain in isolation, even if they show no symptoms. She also said do not wait for test results. If you are showing symptoms of the virus then immediately begin isolating yourself from your family as much as possible.