While there is still no cure and vaccine for COVID-19, those who contract the virus have shared the various ways they have managed to overcome the disease. Journalist Howie Severino says it was the experimental, anti-malaria drug chloroquinethat “eventually worked” for him while other survivors were able to combat the virus with nasal oxygen, different antibiotics, and antiviral medication like remdesivir.
Aileen de Guzman Remo, an overseas Filipino worker who tested positive for COVID-19 in the United Arab Emirates, thinks the traditional home remedy “suob” or steam therapy helped alleviate her symptoms. In a video interview with Summit Media, Aileen shares, “Nag-suob agad ako, e. Kaya siguro hindi niya na-[affect] agad ‘yung lungs ko.”
Suob is done by inhaling steam from boiled salt water in a basin to decongest the lungs. While it is not a cure for COVID-19, it provides comfort for those who experience respiratory symptoms.
Aileen shares that she fought hard to overcome the virus. Even when she lost her sense of taste, she still ate all the food served to her during her stay in the hospital to strengthen her immune system. She also placed her faith, not only to God, but to the doctors and nurses who helped her heal. “Sa ICU, makikita mo talaga niri-risk nila ‘yung life nila for us. Binubuwis nila ‘yung buhay nila para lang tulungan ‘yung mga pasyente,” she shares. “Sobrang laki ng role nila ngayong pandemic na ito. Sobra-sobrang pinagpapasalamat ko sa kanila.”
COVID-19 is a life-changing experience and Aileen admits that even after recovering, she no longer feels the same as before. “May tail pa ‘yung COVID-19 na parang nararamdaman ko sa katawan ko. Uncontrollable — sometimes may nasasagi akong bagay. Iba na ‘yung katawan mo sa normal,” she shares.
She adds, “Yung lungs mo mararamdaman mo talaga na there’s something na kapag nakahiga ka nang diretso.”
Aileen wants to share her experience so that others who contracted the disease will not lose hope. “Huwag kayong gi-give up. Alam ko na pangalawang buhay ko na ito [na] binigay ng Diyos. I don’t deserve it but He gave it to me because He has a purpose for my life,” she says. “Nalaman ko ‘yung totoong purpose ko, na hindi importante ang wealth, hindi importante ang pera. Ang importante [ang] pamilya at saka makatulong ka sa kapwa mo.”