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26/06/2020

Did I have Coronavirus in late January?

I tend to blog about technical topics, but I think this is worth sharing so I'm going to put it here for visibility.

I am starting to suspect I may have had Coronavirus at the very end of January, with symptoms starting around the 29th - Coincidentally the date of the first confirmed cases in the UK.



Weird Red Blotches (26/06/20)




Update

I decided to get an Antibody test from BUPA for £65 to satisfy my curiosity. It came back negative for IgG antibodies: 

They go on to say:

"This most likely means you have not had Covid-19. However, some people who have previously been infected may receive a negative result. This is more common in young people, and in those who suffered only mild symptoms. It may be that they have not produced an antibody response, that any response has been short-lived, or that the antibody response is not detectable by the test."

So... make of that what you will.. 

Preface


I'm not a doctor. I've tried to document this as accurately and objectively as I can. If you suspect you have Coronavirus you should immediately isolate and go to the 111 Website or call 111.

For reference, I am a 30 something year old male, living in Watford (UK) , and working in London.

And if you're a future employer or a friend reading my blog - welcome to my feet, I guess? 

The Weird Blister


It started off on the 29th of January with a weird blister on the palm of my hand. At the time I didn't think much of it, but I did take a photo as I thought it was unusual - I hadn't burnt myself or otherwise injured my hand. At this stage I don't recall having any other symptoms.


Red "Blister" (29/01/20)


The Fever


A few days later, beginning on the 2nd of February, I had an intermittent fever ( ~38.5, possibly higher ) with periods of fatigue lasting several days. I wouldn't normally remember the exact date, but a colleague and I discussed it so I have the details in the chat log. At the time we naively joked we had coronavirus, but as it hadn't taken hold in the UK we didn't seriously consider it - people were still going to work and the pub and no advice had been given by the government to isolate.

I don't recall any other symptoms at the time, certainly not a "persistent cough" - but my colleague did mention occasionally coughing as well as a high temperature.


The "croup"


On the 8th of February my Daughter was admitted to hospital with a persistent dry cough, generally consistent with croup. I recall she was coughing for a few days beforehand but she's had a history of respiratory problems so it wasn't particularly unusual, but that night she woke up with the classic "seal" cough and a temperature so we took her to A&E. 

Despite the hospital having a "Coronavirus Priority Assessment Pod" it was never considered a possibility at the time, by myself or the Doctors. It still seemed so distant.

It was treated as croup ( Which is a generic symptom of a virus, rather than a specific illness ) and she was treated with Dexamethasone which will later turn out to become a potentially life saving drug against coronavirus. She stayed in for several hours until her symptoms reduced and she was discharged. She didn't require oxygen.

After we were discharged the cough continued for several days but she got over it and has otherwise been well.

Coronavirus Priority Assessment Pod

More Weird Red Blisters and Blotches 


From February onwards things were uneventful, but I continued to get weird blisters and blotches on my hands and feet. I didn't think much of it, I just assumed it was some weird Hand Foot and Mouth Virus. 

These photos were taken on March 27th:





Photo taken on the 5th of May:


Photo Taken June 3rd:



These red blisters and blotches continued to occur (and still do) so on the 5th of May I contacted my GP. They video called me ( Which was actually really slick, more of that please ) and had a look, but weren't particularly concerned. The doctor suggested I call back once things had returned to "normal" to arrange a biopsy if they were still occurring - fair enough.

Covid Toe


In early May the media started to report symptoms coined as "Covid Toe" - bruised and swollen toes, and other rashes. But my symptoms didn't look like the pictures, and had lasted for months rather than weeks, so the two didn't seem related.

The blisters persisted so I periodically googled "Covid Toe" to see if there had been any developments. It wasn't until Mid-June I stumbled across an article on Sarah Churchill's Symptoms (Metro) and despite her symptoms being more severe, some of the pictures look identical to my own symptoms. DermNet NZ  ( Don't click if you're squeamish ) have also posted pictures of Coronavirus patients with similar bumps on their feet. So I began to wonder if that fever in early February was Coronavius.


The Doctor II


Now I was beginning to suspect I'd had Coronavirus and was still showing potential symptoms I thought it would be pertinent to contact the GP again to see if there was a risk of being contagious. They looked up the articles whilst I spoke to them on the phone and laid out the timeline above. Frankly they we're a bit... sarcastic? but I guess they must get a lot of people reading the latest tabloid headline and assuming they're going to die of Red Meat, Killer Bees, or Dihydrogen Monoxide.

They essentially said that it could have been Coronavirus but there are many viruses that can cause the blisters and bumps, and the only way of knowing would be an antibody test that aren't available for the general public yet. They did assure me it was highly unlikely I'd still be contagious, and suggested I could treat it with a Steroid Cream. Given that they don't really affect me, I think I'd rather wait for them to disappear over time so I can monitor it out of curiosity.

The Conclusion


Given the above, I strongly suspect I had Coronavirus at the very end of January. I feel terrible for not self-isolating, but it was so early ( and the Governments response was so late ) that I didn't consider Coronavirus was a possibility at the time - the Government didn't suggest self-isolation until Mid-March.

Once they become more generally available I will try and get hold of an antibody test. Unfortunately it won't tell me if it was Coronavirus in late January or if I've contracted it since, but it will be interesting either way.

Anyway, maybe it was Coronavirus, maybe I'm just another lunatic on the internet, but I thought it was worth documenting in case it's useful for someones research - either now, or in a few decades time.




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