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Young Cape Flats women share their Covid-19 recovery stories

Risa Bennett, 22, from Athlone, said learning to control how she felt after having tested positive for Covid-19, aided her recovery.

Risa Bennett, 22, from Athlone, said learning to control how she felt after having tested positive for Covid-19, aided her recovery.

Published Jan 19, 2021


Cape Town – Two young women have shared their road to Covid-19 recovery, in an effort to heighten awareness of the virus, eliminate misinformation and encourage the use of preventative safety measures.

Risa Bennett, 22, from Athlone, said her symptoms started at around December 15.

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“It was a Tuesday, I felt feverish with no appetite. Then I went for a test at Tygerberg Hospital as I couldn't taste anything by Wednesday. On Friday, the 18th, I received my results which were positive,” she said.

“My first reaction was panic, and when I panicked I started coughing. I could not catch my breath and then I started throwing up. I eventually calmed down though as I did not want to go to hospital.”

She said learning to control how she felt aided her in a way.

“What I felt was no taste and smell and now and then headaches. I immediately started taking vitamin C tablets and I drank a mixture made with turmeric, ginger and lemons which helped a lot.”

The virus had made her feel weak and sleepy most of the time. She said the isolation period was not too bad as she was able to sit in the sun during the day.

She regained her sense of taste and smell around December 25.

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“My recovery was good. I feel normal now, however, I’m still cautious so I’m still drinking the mixture and taking vitamins each day. Because I can guarantee you it’s the worst thing not to be able to taste or smell.”

Aakifah Arulandu, 21, from Grassy Park, tested positive for Covid-19 at around May 20.

“I didn’t know I was infected with Covid-19. I was at work, felt a bit sick and decided I couldn’t anymore and went to the doctor. He told me I had an ear and throat infection, but because of my symptoms I should get tested for Covid-19.”

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Aakifah Arulandu, 21, from Grassy Park says testing positive for Covid-19 is nothing to be ashamed of. She said sometimes the community would shame someone who tests positive for the virus.

She took a Covid-19 test and remained at home, believing it was just a flu. Two days later, she received her results.

“I was very nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I was quite anxious because I was scared.”

Upon hearing her positive results, she immediately burst into tears, she said.

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“I was emotional. I couldn’t understand why it was happening to me because I followed protocol. I sanitised my hands and after work I would take a shower and throw my clothes in the washing.”

Some of her symptoms were a sore throat, ear ache, fever, loss of appetite, taste and smell, nausea, and diarrhoea.

After the fourth day, she started seeing signs of improvement.

“I was very emotional because of the shock, but after that, the support from my family and friends helped me through the process. It helped me become stronger and overpower my mind and that is what helped me get better.”

She said isolation was lonely as she was in an isolation facility, away from her family though they continued to support her through video calls.

“It put me in a dark place because I couldn’t have my loved ones around me at a time that I needed them the most.”

“I try to be more cautious to protect myself and my family now that I know what it feels like. It’s nothing to be ashamed of because it’s as if the community shames you when you test positive.”

Cape Argus

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