There have been hundreds of thousands of cases of the dreaded coronavirus globally, and although that feels like a scary number (which is certain to rise), relatively only a small proportion of people have actually experienced it so far.
But if you're wondering what getting coronavirus is really like, you might want to take a look at this Twitter thread by a 22-year-old woman in America who has been struck down by the contagious COVID-19 bug recently.
It's worth bearing in mind that coronavirus can manifest itself differently in different people - some may get severe symptoms, while others can be completely asymptotic. But in the interests of raising awareness, and "to relieve any stress/anxiety some may have" about the pandemic, California-based Bjonda Haliti decided to share what she experienced.
The symptoms began, explained Bjonda, just like you've heard on the news. With a "dry cough". Which, just in case you weren't sure, the NHS describes as "tickly and doesn't produce any phlegm (thick mucus)".
The "mild" dry cough came accompanied by a "slightly sore throat", as well as some tiredness, the young woman shared. The following day it progressed to a headache and sore eyes, then a fever, and eventually - on day four - shortness of breath.
Bjonda was sick for around 10 days in total, at which point she received the test results that showed she did have coronavirus. She self-isolated throughout, and continues to do so, but says she feels "great and healthy" now.
Read the whole thread and all the details of Bjonda's coronavirus case below:
I’m 22 years old and I tested positive for COVID-19.
I’ve been debating on posting, but I want to share my experience especially with those around my age to help bring awareness, and to relieve any stress/anxiety some may have due to the pandemic.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Day 1: It started with a mild DRY cough and a slightly sore throat. I was very tired that night.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Day 2: I felt a lot of pressure in my head to the point I would have to cough softly to avoid the discomfort. That night, I experienced the chills and had a fever. One main symptom that stood out to me, my eyes physically hurt. They were tender and sore.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Moving them was uncomfortable. Doing some research I discovered this was just a migraine, but it didn’t go away at ALL. I slept all day.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Day 3: Energy levels VERY low, I only slept, and still ran fevers. At this point, my symptoms were: dry cough, migraine, fever, chills, some nausea. I decided to go to the doctors where I tested negative for the flu and strep.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
The doctor told me I probably just had an infection and prescribed me antibiotics and 800mg of ibuprofen. I made sure to stay extremely hydrated and stocked up on vitamins and probiotics. That night, I still ran a fever.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Day 4: Finally no more fever, but a new symptom showed up: shortness of breath. It was uncomfortable, it felt like I had bricks on my chest. I tried the self diagnose test I read online (hold your breath and count to 10) which I successfully did with no complications.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
At this point I wanted to test for corona like I should have been in the first place, but It was very difficult to get tested for it!!! I continued to self-quarantine and hydrate hydrate HYDRATE!— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Day 5: Symptoms: sore throat, cough, shortness of breath. I went to the same doctor and I was very adamant about getting tested. Doctor said my vitals were “unremarkable” but I wasn’t going to take no for an answer! I also requested chest X-rays, everything came out normal.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
I was advised to continue self quarantine, and I would receive my results in 5-6 DAYS!!!!!— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Day 6 - With the continued use of antibiotics and ibuprofen, my symptoms were: sore throat, cough, shortness of breath. My energy levels began to increase.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Day 7 - Symptoms: slight sore throat, mild cough, shortness of breath. Energy levels increasing.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Day 8 - Symptoms: Mild cough, starting to feel like myself again. Energy!— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Day 9 - Symptoms: My cough was a little heavier, normal energy levels.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Day 10 - Symptoms: Mild cough, mucus, normal energy levels. My lab results came in: POSITIVE.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
I am continuing to self-isolate and take care of myself. Today I am feeling great and healthy! I will need to retest in order to be cleared. That’s if I can find a doctor whose willing to retest me. Haven’t had any luck so far.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
I just want to let everyone know that I have been self isolating at HOME as recommended by my doctor. Here’s a picture of the liquids I’ve been taking to stay hydrated! I can’t stress enough how important it is to HYDRATE! Water is most important! pic.twitter.com/q0RDK1NxgV— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
It’s been brought to my attention ibuprofen could worsen symptoms. As stated, I was prescribed these for a bacterial infection BEFORE I was tested for COVID19. I was taking ibuprofen until day 4 where I no longer felt it was necessary.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 18, 2020
Everyone is asking how I contracted COVID-19. I don’t know. But I did go out on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and my cough started on Sunday. I believe I was exposed to it at the bar/club one of those days. That’s my guess.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 19, 2020
Hence the importance of social distancing! This was at the begininning of the month.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 19, 2020
YES I informed everyone I had been in contact with. It was the first thing I did!— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 19, 2020
For those asking me what it’s like: I have dealt with colds in the past that were worse than this. I rated my pain moderate (4/10) when I went to the doctor. The first 3 days were most difficult.— Bjonda Haliti (@baeonda) March 19, 2020
While some people might get far more serious symptoms than Bjonda did, her reassurance that the virus was only around a '4 out of 10' in terms of pain will be a comfort to many.
But the most important thing remains to follow the advice of the government during this pandemic time; if you or someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms (a cough, a fever) isolate for 14 days. If you don't have symptoms, avoid going out as much as possible and exercise social distancing. If you're in a vulnerable group (over the age of 70, younger people with chronic illness, pregnant women) definitely avoid going out as much as possible.
The sooner we all start pulling together like this, the sooner it will pass.
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation.