Paul’s Battle with COVID-19

My Fight Against COVID-19.  Coach Paul discusses his battle with COVID-19.  Plus he reveals how you can prepare your business, your home, your mind, and your body for the fight for your life.  Coach Paul provides his daily account of his battle with COVID-19, how he protected his business from the spread of COVID-19, and the hard lessons he learned in fighting this disease.

It is not easy to come forward and say that you have a disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.  While I see tons of Facebook posts about getting the vaccine, I’ve seen many fewer talking about dealing with the virus.  Since there aren’t too many people talking about having the virus, and so much on the internet cannot be trusted these days, I wanted to provide you some truth about my experience with catching the virus, the recovery, and its lasting effects.  Also lacking is a good guide on how to prepare your home if you do get COVID-19.  Finally, for those of you who own a business, knowing what to buy and what works is very challenging.  Our system worked, and I’m going to share our entire plan with you.

Our Face Mask Policy

I see on Facebook that so many people are paranoid about going to the gym.  They envision gobs of sweat soaked machines, people breathing heavy on treadmills next to them, poor ventilation, and dirty equipment, etc.  And it’s true, some gyms are like that.  That is not true of Sand and Steel Fitness.

The CDC's Recent Message about Gyms and COVID-19

Getting COVID-19 When You Are Responsible for Keeping People Safe

The first few two days, I dealt with a lot of shock.  I couldn’t believe I had gotten COVID-19.  I had worn a surgical mask at all times.  I had been diligent about washing my hands.  Symptoms-wise I had a sore throat and a cough.  Mostly, I had a lot of anxiety about what was to come.  I was very concerned with what our members would think of me.  I felt a lot shame in contracting the virus, and I felt like I let our members down.

As soon I received the positive COVID-19 test results, I emailed all of our members that I had contracted the virus.  We provided all members that were potentially exposed with free access Rapid Test Program.

I’m happy to say that no one contracted the virus from me.  Our preventative measures contained the virus. It is hard to come forward and tell the world you have a disease that is killing thousands of people in your community.  I came forward, but others might not.  So for your own health and safety, be judicious in maintaining your social distancing and wear a face mask anytime you are outside.

7 Step Covid-19 Safety Plan

Sand and Steel is proud to share its 7-Step COVID-19 Safety Plan so that other gyms and companies may benefit from our research on how to make gyms safe. To protect our employees and members, we bought an armada of cleaning technology to fight the virus directly.  We installed technology like Bi-Polar Ionization,  HEPA Filtration, Air Quality Sensors, and Ultra Violet Disinfection.  Some items worked better than others.

-Coach Paul

  1. Bi-Polar Ionization Fans. Bi-Polar Ionization Technology utilizes specialized tubes that take oxygen molecules from the air and convert them into charged atoms that cluster around microparticles, surrounding and deactivating harmful substances like airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses such COVID-19.[2] The ions produce a chemical reaction on the cell membrane surface that inactivates viruses.  We strategically placed our Bi-Polar Ionization fan equipped with a Plasma Air Ionizer (a recognized leader in Ionization Technology) down the center of the gym.[3]
  2. HEPA Filtration. HEPA filters have scientifically proven to be effective at removing viruses and small particles from the air.[4] Whereas, standard HVAC filters (even Merv-13) are too porous to be effective.  HEPA filters need to have a dual-pass filter to prevent clogging, they need a specially designed fan to handle the pressure drop, and they need air-tight sealing to prevent leaking.  We saw an instant improvement in our air quality sensors when we deployed Carrier’s Opticlean 1500 CFM HEPA filter air handler.
  3. Air Quality Sensors. We have three Air Quality Sensors throughout the gym to monitor air quality changes during the day. We also use these sensors to track changes in AQI, PM2.5, & TVOC[5] when we deploy new air cleaning technology.
  4. Face Masks. Some states, such as Virginia, have not required people to wear masks in the gyms. That is a shame because facemasks not only protect you, they protect others from you.  If everyone wears a facemask, everyone’s net exposure is reduced significantly.  For this reason, Sand and Steel adopted a mandatory Face Mask Policy in October 2020.
  5. Controlled Access. To prevent overcrowding, we require members to reserve open gym and fitness classes in advance. We limit open gym capacity to 1 person per 500 square feet.  With fitness classes, we maintain a social distancing of 10 Feet.
  6. Online Fitness Classes. Providing members with online personal training and online fitness classes is key to improving your gym’s safety. By delivering an at-home training model, you reduce the number of people who come in-person into your gym.  Reducing the number of people coming into your gym lowers the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  7. Foggers, Floor Sprayers and Ultra-Violet Mask Disinfection. For directly cleaning the air and the floors, we went with Ryobi’s Floor Sprayer and Fogger. We use Simple Green-D to aid in disinfection.   We provide members with UV disinfection for their cellphone and face masks.

Protecting your employees, clients, and members from COVID-19 is a layered approach.  Each layer you add reduces the spread from one person to another.  You cannot control what your members do outside the gym, and sooner or later, someone will be exposed to COVID-19.  But you can significantly reduce the spread of the virus in your gym by implementing this protection plan.

[1] The original source of Paul’s infection remains unknown.

[2] COVID-19 Protection Technology

[3] Big Ass Fan Air Eye Clean Air System

[4] Is a M13 Filter Fine Enough to Filter out SARS-COV-2?  HEPA s. Merve 13

[5] Air Quality Index and Sensors Explained.

Preparing to Get COVID-19

I am going to be brutally honest with you.  Many people who read this article will do everything in their power not to get COVID-19.  But only some of you will be effective in doing so.  COVID-19 is unbelievably infectious, and the new strains from South Africa and Brazil are even more contagious.  Recent reports from CNN put the vaccine at about 50% for those strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Having had COVID-19 myself, I suggest your prioritize keeping your body healthy, protect yourself from unnecessary exposure, and prepare your home in case get COVID-19 anyway.   A few steps of preparation will go a long way in helping you for the tough two weeks that may lie ahead.

Medicine to Buy to Prepare For COVID-19

Buy your cold medicine now.  I don’t think it matters which one you buy.  I bought Theraflu, because it’s fast-acting and effective for me.  Plus, I like how it tastes, but it’s full of sugar which comes in the form of maltodextrin.  The label doesn’t say exactly how much.  I’d hazard a guess around 30 grams worth (making a serving around 100 calories.)  Yes, that’s a lot.  Almost your entire day’s worth of sugar.  Guess that’s why I like how it tastes :-).  Theraflu makes this same cold remedy in a pill form which works just as well and doesn’t contain all the sugar.  You’ll likely also want to get some Advil because you’ll likely get severe headaches like I did.  I did look at some literature to see if Advil is safe to take when you have COVID-19.  GSK (the manufacturer of Advil) says it’s safe.  I took it, and nothing bad happened to me.  It certainly did take the edge of the headaches.

Equipment to Buy to Prepare For COVID-19

You’ll want to buy a blood oxygen sensor because you need to monitor your blood oxygen levels.  Anything under 92% is cause to go to the hospital.

I also recommend getting a forehead thermometer, since anything over 101 means you should go to the hospital.

I spoke with my Doctor, Rudy Juburi, and he told me that these were the main two symptoms to be worried about.  If you don’t have a primary physician that does telemedicine, get one now.  You’ll want to have someone to help answer your questions.  The anxiety with getting COVID-19 is not to be underestimated.  In extreme cases, your physician can prescribe anti-anxiety medicine like valium to help you.

Buying Food While You are in Quarantine

I had never ordered groceries online before.  A friend of mine recommended trying Instacart.  I used it to order from Costco.  To my surprise, Costco had its entire store online.  Costs for using Instacart vary because there is a service fee, delivery fee, and a tip.  If you are a new member like me, they waive the delivery fee.  Instacart gave me a coupon code to share with everyone. Code: P8074E91C5.

I was really impressed with Instacart and wrote a whole article about my experience shopping with them.

Instacart Coupon Code

Basically, a real person shops in the store and buys everything on your list.  Instacart works with a good number of grocery stores in the Alexandria VA area (Harris Teeter, Giant, Safeway, Wegmans, Target, and Aldi).  So if you know what you to order, it’s very easy.  Also, a real big-time save, is that Instacart saves your last order.  I reordered from Costco last week in about 10 minutes.  Normally, takes me 4 hours to drive, shop, pay, pack my car, and drive back from Costco.  I’d rather pay the $40 bucks than do all the work myself.

COVID-19 Symptoms What You Can Expect

Everyone gets different symptoms in differing severity.  Many get no symptoms and other people are hospitalized.  So what can you expect?  I can tell you what I went through which I think can be safely categorized as a mild case.

  • Day 1: I had a mild sore throat — feeling somewhat similar to strep throat.  I also had a mild-intermittent dry cough.  Given the cough, I went to get a PCR COVID-19 test.  I began my self-quarantine.
  • Day 2: I started to get an intermittent runny nose.  At this point — I knew I had a cold.  I very much wanted to deny it was COVID-19, because I had taken so many proactive steps to protect myself.  Still, somehow I caught a cold.  So if I caught a cold, I knew I could have caught COVID-19.
  • Day 3: I get the call from the doctor — I had COVID-19.  I didn’t have quite as much shock as I thought I might have had.  I suppose having contracted cancer and meningitis took some of the shock out of receiving bad news from the doctor.  What can I do to help recover faster?  Nothing … hydration and multivitamins.  I asked about some of the controversial treatment plans, but my doctor didn’t recommend them.
  • Day 4: the headache from hell.  I have always been sensitive to headaches, and generally get worse symptoms when I’m more-sick.  I had two headache bouts during my fight with COVID-19.  One of them was pretty severe, and it forced me to sleep most of the day.  
  • Day 5 was the most difficult health-wise.  I had a lot of fatigue, severe headaches, and several of low oxygen.  Having low blood oxygen is really scary.  It feels like you are going to suffocate.  I’m glad we had a blood oxygen monitor.  Having talked to my primary care physician, I knew 92% or lower meant I had to go to the hospital.  My lowest recording setting was 95%, and that was really tough.  Knowing that I was within safe-levels gave me some peace of mind.  I’d also recommend you get, since measuring fever is also important.  Anything over 101F may also require hospitalization.
  • Day 6 I had a lot of ups and down.  One moment I thought I was better, the next I was sick again.  The peaks began to wear away though.  
  • Day 7, I thought I had been through the worst of it, but I did have random bouts of sneezing and coughing.
  • Days 8-10 were mild all things considered.  I had random bouts of sneezing and coughs.  As the Virginia Health Department informed me, by Day 10 I should have been recovered.

COVID-19 Symptoms I Didn’t Have

There are many symptoms people get from COVID-19.  Some of worst symptoms I didn’t have.  I didn’t have a fever, nausea, dizziness, or lose my sense of taste.  Although I did lose my sense of smell.  So yes, it could have been much worse.  As with most viruses having a strong immune system, a nutritionally complete diet, and being in good shape can help you recover from illnesses more easily.

COVID-19 Complete Recovery?

I wasn’t really sick after 7 days.  But it took my body a good 45 days to completely recover.  COVID-19 is a wicked virus, and I was good in health.  I’m looking forward to getting the vaccine.

2 thoughts on “Paul’s Battle with COVID-19”

  1. This was a great article to get some ground truth and become aware of monitoring oxygen levels. Also, Instacart and Amazon are da bom! Even without COVID…

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