I was careful & I got COVID

The ups and downs of my COVID-19 diagnosis

By Karringtan Bell, NAU Graduate student

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives drastically. Our new normal involves wearing masks, social distancing, and staying at home as much as possible.

COVID-19 is a serious health issue and should not be taken lightly. The information about this virus continues to changes every day, and we still fully don’t understand it.

Hearing that you have tested positive for this virus is a scary thing — it at times can feel like a waiting game because you don't know what your symptoms will be, when they will start if they haven't already, or how severe they will be.

As someone who has had Covid-19, I can attest to that.

Thankfully I got through having COVID and have tested negative! While everyone has different symptoms, I’m sharing my experience in hopes that they can help you manage your symptoms if you get COVID too.

Q: When did you decided to get tested? How were you feeling?

I tested positive for COVID back in June of this year. It was still pretty early and no one really knew what was going on with the virus — just that it was serious.

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I went and got tested because I found out that I had been around someone who had tested positive. That was the scariest phone call, I’d ever had in my life. Mostly because I didn't know what to expect or how things were going to unfold.

The first thing I did (after making an appointment to get tested) was jumping on the internet to find out as much information as I could on what to expect.

Now I think there is much more definitive information on the virus. Back in June, however, there wasn’t that much I found helpful — which made me freak out even more.

I went and got tested a couple of days after finding out I had been exposed and waited, and waited, and waited. It was the longest most stressful three days ever but eventually I got the call saying I had tested positive.

Q: How did you feel when you found out?

I remember feeling really scared, and I was kind of embarrassed. I feel like early on there was a stigma attached to people who did contract COVID — like those people were marked forever as being the person who had COVID so we need to stay away from them.

Q: Who did you tell when you found out?

I called my mom and she helped calm me down a lot. She reminded me that because I was younger and healthy, I had a good chance of just recovering at home.

This eventually led to multiple members of my family calling to check up on me multiple times a day throughout my quarantine. This definitely made me feel less alone.

It wasn't until recently that I have felt comfortable actually saying to others that I had COVID.

Q: What was your COVID experience like? How did you feel?

I was in self-isolation for four days and was asymptomatic when I found out I was positive. I restarted my self-isolation after my results came back and continued to feel fine for about 3 days.

Then the symptoms hit.

I woke up one morning and just felt really fatigued and that lingered for about two days.

Then gradually I started to get the chills and body aches. I felt nauseous at times. I had congestion, the worst headache, and I did lose my sense of taste and smell towards the end of my quarantine.

I didn’t experience any high fever, sore throat, or cough — but those are primary symptoms of Covid-19 — so if you’re sick be on the lookout for those.

Q: What helped you during your quarantine period?

I got lots and lots of sleep. Just like when you’re sick with a regular cold — resting your body helps to boost your immune system. I basically did what I usually would do if I had a cold or the flu. I usually take vitamins D, zinc, and magnesium to help out my immune system.

Drinking a lot of water helped me combat the nausea. Eating heavy foods at the beginning made the nausea worse so I would recommend soups, and crackers at least until the nausea goes away. Taking Aleve helped with the headache pains and also taking just regular cold and flu medicine (I usually go for NyQuil) helped manage my symptoms.

Q: How did you keep your spirits up?

A few things that helped me stay positive during this time was my family. They reassured me that I was going to get through this.

My mom had groceries and vitamins sent to my apartment so I didn't have to worry about what I was going to eat.

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It also lifted my spirits when I started to get better. after about 5 days of experiencing symptoms they slowly started to diminish.

Q: How did you get through quarantine?

It was hard getting through my whole quarantine, especially once I started feeling better.

I was completely symptom-free by the 7th day but quarantine isn't over until you experience 3 days with no symptoms.

I, of course, binged watched some shows. But when I got tired of just binge-watching, I decided to get a change in scenery and drove around Flagstaff (by myself, of course).

I had no plan on where to go. It was just me and my GPS and I just drove.

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Photo by Mari Potter on Unsplash

We do live in such a beautiful town, if you ever just want to get out I definitely recommend just driving around and see where you end up.

Q: Do you still have any lingering effects?

I did not experience any lingering symptoms after my quarantine and I still haven't thankfully.

Q: What would you share with your fellow colleges students?

I don’t want this blog to be misleading in any way for college students, yes I thankfully was able to fight off COVID-19 — but there are many people who have lost loved ones because of this virus.

Place take it seriously.

I thought I was careful and I still got it.

As a young person I know at times we can think we are invincible and if we do get the virus — we will be able to fight it.

But this is not guaranteed for everyone — especially for our parents, our grandparents, and others with pre-existing conditions.

The best thing to do is to follow CDC guidelines, wear masks, and social distance to help keep ourselves, our loved ones, and others safe.

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Stay well and mask up, Jacks!

— Karringtan

P.S. For an added layer of protection — download Covid Watch Arizona.

The app will send you anonymous, private COVID-19 exposure notifications and let you know what steps to take next.

Download here.

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