The social media is full of people who are telling their stories of how they suffered through and survived Covid-19, and how they feel now.
Even though no two people have had exactly the same experience, their narratives can give some insight on what to expect when struck by this strain of coronavirus.
There is a recent thread at Reddit – a hugely popular website for mass interaction – that started with the question: Survivors of COVID, what changes have you noticed to your health since you’ve recovered?
There are a large number of answers and here are some of them:
Each answer given here is with the handle or screen name of the user, which is generally not their real name.
Some of the answers have useful advice.
Snidosil – I had covid in early March. I am 69. When I recovered I was short of breath for a couple of weeks. I might still have slightly reduced lung function still but I am almost back to normal.
WiseWordsFromBrett – 50, almost exactly the same story but I am still out of breath enough that more than one flight of stairs takes time
UnpopularOpinion92 – I’m 28. I had it in late March. I was short of breath for about a month, after that I’m back to feeling 100% normal. Like it never even happened
Fluffnpuf – Same. Got it late March. Had shortness of breath that slowly faded over two month, but now I’m totally fine. And I have mild asthma.
YouDontKnowSquat – I’m 31 f. Had it in early April. Before the quarantine I worked out at the gym every day alternating cardio and strength training. I’m still not able to do strenuous exercise. I don’t get short of breath so much but it takes away all of my energy reserves for the entire day. I had covid and pneumonia on top of it, went to ER once but never needed a ventilator or anything so I would guess I had a moderate case of it?
mossbros2 – I’m 24, male, completely fit and healthy. Caught the covid really early in the lockdown. Was properly ill for two weeks and took me six weeks overall to recover, initially even just walking was difficult. But now I am fully back to normal, back to good health.
Justajiggygiraffe – I’m 28. Started getting sick March 15 and was laid out for 4-5 weeks, completely, devastatingly exhausted and with one of the worst head and eye aches I’ve ever had (as a chronic migraine sufferer). After I “recovered” I would still get regular dizzy spells when standing up, walking, any sort of minor activity. I almost fainted partaking in the extreme sport of hanging up laundry. That has been the biggest thing for me, the lingering exhaustion and total loss of all my muscle mass and stamina. I’ll suddenly get super short of breath from a short and slow walk and have to sit with my head between my knees and do deep breaths and drink some water because my face has suddenly gone completely numb and my ears are ringing and my vision is browning out. Now these spells are coming less frequently, but still a couple a week rather than a couple a day. I think based on the rate of recovery it will be another month or two before they fully stop. I’m not sure how long the muscles will take to recover. I find them to get incredibly weak and noodley at the drop of a hat. Like doing basic stretching or walk a couple of blocks and they just shit out on me. They seem more susceptible to strains or pulls now as well.
Lewdite – Up your sodium intake, it helps raise and regulate your blood pressure. I have similar issues. And make sure you’re eating nutrient dense meals to recoup the resources your body lost during your recovery. Chicken soup with rice is my go-to.
Cracked_liver – Get tested for POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). It can begin following a viral infection. A lot of your symptoms sound like it.
patrick_ritchey – I’m 22 years old and despite all probability the disease hit me really hard. I was in the hospital for 3 weaks and had the usual symptoms such as high fever, dry cough and severe breathing difficulties. Meanwhile I am “healthy” for nearly 2 months but my lungs are partially scarred and I have problems getting enough air during even slow running. So I hope you stay safe and take care, it’s not only “old” people who are suffering under covid and its effects!
PhoneJazz – The diversity of symptoms from one person to the next is just horrifying. It’s like Covid spins a wheel to see “which organ system will i mess up for this particular person?”
Bekiala – I was thinking this too. Some people have no symptoms.
One friend of mine only found out she had it because she went to the hospital to give birth (this was in Italy so they test everyone). She was positive and never developed sypmtoms . . .ugh.
Bitterbuffaloheart – My girlfriend is pretty informed about Covid and she says there are 8 different strains so maybe that explains how people have different experiences.
Thatsrealneato – I saw an article about a paper that suggested covid isn’t really a respiratory disease, but rather that it attacks the blood vessels. This might explain why it has such a massive variance in how it can affect people. The paper suggested most people get it in their lungs and it attacks the blood vessels that bring oxygen to the rest of the body, but once it’s in the bloodstream it can travel to other areas and damage blood vessels in other organs. Also explains “covid toes”.
ocean_nerd – I had it the first week of April. Had intense shortness of breath for about 2 weeks, and dizziness/exhaustion in waves for about 3 weeks. I’ve had an ongoing intense cough since then that refuses to go away! I’ll have some days I don’t cough and then the next it’ll be worse than it was before!
Also, I’m 32, non-smoker, and physically fit. This cough feels like what I imagine a chronic smokers cough to be like.
Lipizzaner – Day 82 and still not recovered. (30s, active and healthy before this.) Had a mild case with shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, but the real kicker was when my peripheral nervous system decided to freak out (post-viral neuritis). My chest burns and hurts to the touch, feet and hands burning, too, with other shifting symptoms, like back pain, abdominal swelling, dizziness, blurred vision. Post-viral fatigue also means I can’t do anything physical without it knocking me down for days. For other “long-termers” like me, our symptoms are scarily similar to ME/CFS.
Please know that it’s not a two-week virus for a lot of people. Some of us have been sick since before the isolation began, for crying out loud. We’re not back to ourselves at all.
stephJaneManchester – I am with you on that! I had it before lockdown. Initial stage wasn’t too bad. Just a couple of days of nausea and fever/aches. Had no sore throat or cough. The post viral stage however has been awful. I am still not right. It has wiped me out. I am always tired and I have zero energy. I must admit I have had a few weeps over how crap I still feel.
vanilla-candle – From an ME/CFS patient, please practice pacing! Check out the FAQ in our sub r/cfs and also the guidelines on cfsselfhelp.org if you don’t know what that is. Not crashing at all ever (even for something you really want to do) is your best chance to kick this and not hit the 6-month mark that could stick you with an ME/CFS diagnosis. (Edit: Also avoid anything that messes with your neck until you’re through this, including chiropractic work and stretching. Can explain if anyone wants to know.) I’m begging you and every other patient like you… please take this really really seriously.
KyrieEleison_88 – my husband’s and I had COVID-19 in addition, we are from NYC. I developed pneumonia, as I have asthma.
the thing I noticed the most after recovering is that my lung function decrease. I described it to my doctor as I feel like someone who hasn’t run and is starting out and has no stamina. every action seems to makes me breathless. my asthma, which was well controlled prior to COVID-19 and pneumonia, has beena nightmare to try and control ever since. none of my old meds work anymore, so my doctor and I have been trying to find a new regiment. I’m thankful for prednisone.
my husband, who isn’t asthmatic, also said that the issues he continues to face have to do with his lungs as well. he says he feels like he can’t get a good deep breath anymore.
also, my sense of taste has changed. I lost my sense of smell. it’s mostly back. but things don’t taste the same anymore.
COVID-19 was AWFUL I’ve never had chills like that before. full body racking chills that lasted for weeks. I’ve never been simultaneously burning hot and freezing cold at the same time. 0/10 do not recommend
Holymolyyo – I had it but only showed one symptom – Covid Toes and yes, it’s real. I actually thought my doctor was joking when she informed me. This was late March and my toes are just now starting to look less purple/more normal. While it was happening it was annoying but not too painful, just strange. I don’t know whether this is attributed to Covid or isolation but I find myself having some pretty extreme mood swings since I found out. Some days I’m very optimistic and using this experience as an opportunity to work on emotional growth, and others I just feel depressed and completely stuck in my own head.
Edit: if anyone is currently experiencing this, a warm foot soak with 1/8 -1/4 cup vinegar and 1 tbsp salt mixed in for about 20 minutes really helped the itching/burning sensation.
Mountainmama85 – I wheeze constantly while breathing and still get shortness of breath just doing simple things like walking up stairs or picking up my kids, and I even had to use my inhaler after unloading groceries the other day. Exercise has been out of the question.
Voyager_Music – I had it early March and played a soccer game with it. (Obviously didn’t know I had it at the time) I wonder why it’s so different from person to person?
knowledge_and_love – It impaired my insulin sensitivity. It took me 3 month of regular fasting to reverse this effect. My cardiovascular fitness declined. It took me 2month of exercise to recover. I had to return my 1 year earlier exercise plan. I got significantly weaker.
I had medium symptoms, lasted for 16 days.
Sputnik_Butts – I’m 23, type 1 [diabetes], and I think I’m just finishing up beating this thing. I’ve had a whole array of the symptoms but nothing too severe besides like chest pain on the right side and breathing troubles for two nights followed by lots of coughing the following days. I wasn’t sure if I had it, cause I haven’t been tested and was just chalking it up to severe anxiety and lack of sleep. But then my insulin sensitivity spiked and now if I normally take 10 units for a meal I find that I have to take 13-14 to get the same effect on my blood sugar at so far every meal after the chest pain days. Idk but I’ve had symptoms for like 6 days, hopefully this post^ doesn’t mean I can expect another 10 days lul. The headache is crazy bad, I’m consistently physically tired. I actually find it hard as fuck to drink water idk if anyone else feels that one. Normally I can down like half a gallon, but now it seems hard to drink a cup at a time. But other than that I don’t feel like I’m dying. As far as medicine I’ve just been taking DayQuil to alleviate some of the symptoms.
Ahnonnymoose – I was sick for 45 days, have been recovered for a couple months. I’ve had some cardiac complications that are hopefully not permanent. Lingering fatigue I can’t shake, very unstable appetite, lots of joint pain that comes and goes. Fainted a few times. I’m recovered, but I don’t feel normal a lot of the time. I’m 26, my dad is 62 and had it as well and he’s had severe joint pain after. Neither of us can handle alcohol anymore either, one drink and I feel like shit the next morning.
Southernbabe – Diagnosed on March 31st, did not require hospitalization. I managed it at home with tylenol, rest, and fluids. I was on sick leave for 2.5 weeks. , I use to walk a mile and a half with no issue on my commute to the hospital. I now get winded walking 0.2 miles from the bus stop and nearly blacked out after running a block to try to catch the bus.
mike-ro-wave- – I am 14 and survived the coronavirus. I got a pretty bad health before this so that wasn’t helping. I noticed that I have some trouble breathing, can’t smell anything anymore, my endurance went from pretty good to wtf and people still treat me like I still have it, even though I recovered 2 months ago.
InertiasCreep – I was sick for six days in mid March and was in good health before that. I’m 49 years old. After my symptoms cleared, my blood pressure went up and my resting heart rate stayed in the 90s for weeks. I also had daily episodes of palpitations, several of which resulted in trips to the ER. My doctor finally put me on a beta blocker to slow my heart rate.
My lungs seem to be okay. My oxygen levels are fine but despite that I always feel a little short of breath. I’ve become more sensitive to temperature and regularly get mild headaches, which I didn’t have before.
I’ve also been put on sleep meds because I have insomnia. If I don’t take the meds, I’ll sleep less than three hours per night and sometimes not at all. It really sucks because if I don’t get eight hours, when I wake up I feel awful: dull headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and a little nausea. It’s like being hung over. That may just be stress though. I’m in healthcare and work with a lot of COVID positive patients.
I was actually at a doctor’s appointment this morning. I had a cardiac ultrasound and a stress test done. The stress test was supposed to be a nine minute treadmill workout but I had to stop at six minutes. I couldn’t make it three more minutes. 🙁
The worst part has been being repeatedly told by medical people that it’s just anxiety or stress. No, it isn’t. Before this happened I was fine. I wasn’t constantly tired, didn’t have any health issues, and wasn’t on any medications. I regularly worked a lot of double shifts and now I can barely make it thru eight hours. I feel like this has aged me 10 years all at once. I feel uncomfortable most of the time. I’m afraid to do a lot of things because I don’t trust that I still have the stamina or ability to anymore.
Thehamzaamin – My whole family contracted the virus two weeks back. I had a nasal congestion, fever for two days and no coughing or shortness of breath. My father had fever for 10 days, no coughing or shortness of breath. My mom had fever for 6 days, mild dry cough and no shortness of breath. My brother also had symptoms similar to my mom. All of us have recovered now and feel much better. Our sense of smell and taste are returning slowly. The symptoms vary from person to person and you should always go for a test.
The real problem with the virus is how shitty it makes you feel for two weeks. You have anxiety with all the reports coming of people dying from it. Your body is always tired and you feel sleepy all of the time. Eating food is a chore as there is no taste or smell. You sweat a lot or get the chills so you have to stay hydrated. Plus, you can’t leave your room because of social distancing measures you have to observe. All of this adds up and you start to question your sanity after a week.
Midnight_Moon29 – It is scary seeing how people are effected so differently. You’ll read of someone in the same age range, pretty fit, yet one was fine in a couple weeks and the other almost died. Yikes. /// nCa, 15 June 2020
Here is the link to the complete thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/h7qfe2/survivors_of_covid_what_changes_have_you_noticed/