The morning of March 11 turned out to be Day 1 with COVID-19 for Santa Barbara resident and UCSB assessment coordinator Josh Kuntzman, who on Sunday posted a YouTube video detailing his experience coming down with the virus and battling it with a series of remedies that he recommends for anyone who falls ill like he did.
When he woke up with an acute sore throat because he “made out with a sick person” on Day 0, he thought that a sore throat was all it was. However, as the days rolled on and the standard COVID-19 fever and dry cough kicked in, it started to look like he had the very disease that he had seen reported on the news.
Because the information on COVID-19 he saw reported in the media detailed the virus’ more mature symptoms such as fever, coughing, and chest pain, he didn’t think he had COVID-19 during his initial days of illness.
Though his sore throat made him cautious of the flu and careful to not spread whatever was ailing him, Mr. Kuntzman said if he could do it over again, he would have taken even more precautions than he did.
“It’s just that I would have stepped that up, maybe worn a mask for the one day I went into work,” he told the News-Press.
Because he didn’t realize exactly what he was sick with and didn’t behave as cautiously as he wished he had, Mr. Kuntzman decided to make a YouTube video informing people on what the early stages of the virus feel like. On his YouTube channel “HowNow,” he said his first five days of feeling sick were characterized by a sore throat, which he noted was somewhat unusual because it not only was “rough” like strep throat, but it also felt “tight.”
“There was a firmness to it,” he recalled in the video.
Mr. Kuntzman said that this sort of sore throat is what he particularly encourages everyone to watch out for amid the current health crisis. He added that those experiencing a sore throat of this kind shouldn’t act complacently by assuming it isn’t COVID-19, just because their breathing isn’t impacted yet.
“Just because you don’t have shortness of breath doesn’t mean you don’t have COVID,” he said.
Though he tried nursing his sore throat with soy sauce water, his personal alternative to saltwater, his symptoms worsened on his sixth day of sickness, when the infection that was in his throat traveled into his head and lungs, causing congestion and shortness of breath. He also had a fever.
Circa Day 10, his sinus congestion gave way to what he called the “classic COVID dry cough.”
The on-and-off “rolling fever chill” persisted.
By this point, Mr. Kuntzman was confident that he had been infected by COVID-19. He then visited Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital to get tested, but the doctors there didn’t even have to run any to know what was afflicting him.
After merely observing the symptoms Mr. Kuntzman exhibited, the doctors told him that he was definitely sick with COVID-19. Because they could tell this without a test, Mr. Kuntzman said they didn’t run one.
Therefore, he isn’t among Santa Barbara’s official count of coronavirus cases.
Although seeing many elderly people getting wheeled in and out of the medical center from ambulances brought into sharp focus how serious the coronavirus situation is for older individuals, Mr. Kuntzman’s reaction to finding out he had COVID-19 was humorously matter of fact.
As he remembered, when the doctors told him he had the virus, Mr. Kuntzman thought to himself, “Guess I’m part of the pandemic now.”
In addition to the things “your mother tells you to do” such as drinking plenty of fluids, eating plenty of food, and resting, Mr. Kuntzman implemented several techniques to recuperate, each of which he demonstrates in his video.
The first was heavy breathing exercises that actively oxygenate the body at a time when one’s breathing is naturally shallow as the body tries to not move. Though breathing exercises are helpful when suffering from respiratory sickness, Mr. Kuntzman added that they’re a healthy thing to do at any time.
“Deep breathing is good for people no matter what,” he said.
Another technique he demonstrates in the video is using one’s hands to massage the lymph nodes, a practice he first discovered several years ago when he was seeking healing techniques after getting sick.
“I found a video on lymph massages when I had a particularly bad flu about five years ago… When I did it really helped me with the flu and it’s something you want to do early on,” he said.
Lastly, he employed the technique of “percussive body stimulation,” using his hands to thump his chest and thereby move his lungs and stimulate blood flow. In his video, he recommended this as something COVID-19 patients should when they feel like getting some exercise on one of their better days.
He said of this technique, “It’s a respiratory illness, so having that impact on my chest, shaking up the lungs, felt really positive and health stimulating.”
Monday morning was technically Day 27 since Mr. Kuntzman first got the sore throat that revealed itself to be COVID-19. Though some residual coughing remains, Mr. Kuntzman stated that he’s calling his coronavirus experience a 22-day stint. Though the most severe symptoms have subsided, he expects he has a few more days before he’s completely out of the woods
“The fever has stopped for the last three days. It’ll probably be another half of the week before I feel completely out of it,” he said.
Mr. Kuntzman’s YouTube video titled “PSA: Coronavirus – 18 days with COVID-19 in 2020” can be found at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC_fXKUdN-8&t=238s.