No One is Immune to COVID-19 - Even When Taking Precautions 

COVID-19 is scary and real. No one is invisible to it as anyone can contract it. The young, the old, the healthy, the sick, the mask wearers and the not mask wearers are all vulnerable.  As a side note, studies have shown that if you do not wear a mask you are much more likely to get the virus, so wear a mask, please.  With that said, COVID is relentless.  It does not care who you are or everything you have done to prevent exposure.  I would know.  I went to only essential places, wore a mask and had limited contact with others, but I did indeed contracted COVID.  

 

People have adopted the mindset that they are immune to the disease or if they do become infected it will only be a slight cold.  Others, more horrifying to me personally, have come to believe that this disease is a survival of the fittest phenomenon. Unfortunately, I have read far too many articles where individuals believed COVID was a hoax until they or one of their loved ones fell ill and passed away.  COVID is serious and needs to be taken as such.  Some individuals may experience little to no symptoms at all, but others will endure severe and life-threatening effects.  Frankly, no one will know how COVID will impact their system until they are actually living through the symptoms themselves.  

stuck indoors wearing mask by Pexels Photo by Nandhu Kumar from Pexels

I would classify myself as a healthy 19-year-old female with no underlying conditions that put me at high risk for COVID-19.  While attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison I followed all CDC and Dane County Health Standards; no large gatherings, no going out without a mask, staying home if I or someone else I lived with had potential positive exposure and tested before returning to campus.  Despite only going out for groceries, to the private lab I research in, outdoor socially distanced restaurants and my morning nature walk I contracted COVID.  I do not know where or from whom which might be the scariest part. 

 

I knew I was not immune, but probably like most people who take every single proper precaution, I did not think I would get COVID.  I also wrongfully believed that as a young healthy person that I would not endure intense symptoms and would probably actually have no symptoms at all.  I was completely wrong.  From a first-person account, COVID-19 takes everything out of you.  

woman lying in white bed  Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy from Unsplash

Day 1 (Unknown): I wrongfully believed my allergies were just acting up and I had nothing to worry about. A slight cough was not uncommon for me this time of year.

 

Day 2 (Unknown): I woke up and started to have a cough and congestion. I also had an intense migraine, but that was extremely common for me, unfortunately,  I still thought it was just allergies so I took my Zyrtec and proceeded with my day, but I decided to get tested that morning in order to be safe. 

 

Day 3 (Positive): As I awaited my test results from the morning before my symptoms started increasing.  I awoke in the morning with a low-grade fever, chills, sore throat, and massive exhaustion. Exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms of COVID, but people imagine it as being similar to what they have defined as exhaustion they have experienced in the past, staying up late, having a long day at work or after an intense workout. No offense, these are all incomparable. Keeping your eyes open is an excruciating battle, consuming caffeine has no impact and after sleeping for a majority of the day the exhaustion seems to only get worse. I have never experienced something that I can even compare to this feeling. Later in the afternoon, I received a phone call from public health, I was positive. I was already quarantining, but I did all of my contact tracings despite my fear of the uncertainty. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Day 4 and 5: My symptoms continued to come in phases, except I would encounter a new symptom without any of my previous ones going away. Here my body aches consumed me as it felt like everything was an immense amount of effort. I became weak and had some difficulty breathing. My appetite vanished as I could no longer taste or smell, a very strange feeling that these senses just disappeared all at once. My congestion seemed to fade and I could stay awake for longer periods of time, but everything just ached and hurt.  

 

Day 6: I finally felt like I might be turning a corner. I was able to move around and about more, but my nausea kept me from eating. I found myself feeling like I had legitimate energy while talking to people and my symptoms could be classified just as the normal flu instead of something more severe like they used to be. Unfortunately, I thought I had built up more strength than I had. Needing to do my laundry I attempted to carry a completely full laundry basket up two flights of stairs. Needless to say, I didn’t make it. My roommates found me passed out going up the stairs incoherent and struggling to breathe. A trip in the ambulance later, I don’t really remember much.

row of hospital beds Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Day 7: After determining I had severe dehydration and low blood sugar as a COVID complication from my symptoms I started pushing sugary fluids like no other. I realized that I would have been fine wearing dirty clothes but hindsight is 20/20.  My exhaustion turned more into just being lethargic, my cough improved and I no longer had a fever. I still felt as though I slept my days away and was practically useless.

Day 8-10: I slowly started to regain my strength and my exhaustion became less and less.  I was able to return to school work but daily activities had to be taken lightly.  

 

Day 10+: My taste and smell are still nonexistent.  I have congestion on and off plus energy coming and going.  The worst is behind me and I have definitely recovered very well thankfully, but others do not.  The long term effects are real and COVID does not disappear overnight.  

woman holding syringe wearing PPE Unsplash

This was my experience with COVID that I am trying to share for the sole purpose of awareness. Everyone has a different experience with the disease.  People need to realize how this virus knows no boundaries and is vicious.  For all to acknowledge I did not even have critical symptoms of COVID as this disease has impacted people in much worse ways and taken lives. Symptoms will present or progress differently in everybody, but they are harsh and painful. I could not imagine struggling to endure this virus if my health would not have been good previously.  This is not the case for everyone though so please protect them.  Everyone is vulnerable, with no exceptions. Please, please, please protect yourself and others.  Stay safe and stay healthy.