Taking to Instagram to share her experience with ‘long Covid’ since contracting the virus in March, Alyssa Milano said the reality of her situation has left her feeling “terrified” about what might happen if her friends and family might get sick.
The longer we live with coronavirus, the more we learn about it. From discovering that losing your sense of taste and smell is a key symptom to finding out more about treatments which help patients to recover, there’s plenty of things scientists know now that they didn’t at the beginning of the pandemic.
One of the biggest mysteries about coronavirus that still remains, however, is the phenomenon of ‘long Covid’.
Defined by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) as “illness in people who have either recovered from Covid-19 but are still reporting lasting effects of the infection or have had the usual symptoms for far longer than would be expected,” long Covid has left some people who contracted Covid-19 at the beginning of the pandemic with long-lasting, puzzling symptoms – and no one really knows why.
Actor and podcaster Alyssa Milano is one of the unlucky ones who are dealing with long-term symptoms. Despite testing negative for the virus back in March when she was experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, Milano has since tested positive for coronavirus antibodies – and says the ongoing symptoms have left her feeling “terrified” about what might happen if her friends and family might get sick.
Sharing her experience on Instagram yesterday (2 September), she wrote: “This is a wellness check and a health update. I’m OK. I’m starting physically to feel better. I’m still taking an aspirin every three days to thin my blood, fish oil, vitamin D, C, zinc and a B complex. I still have occasional heart palpitations. I still forget my words (absolute worst part). But it’s not nearly as bad as it was a few weeks ago.”
Milano continued: “I feel better. I had a CT scan of my lungs and a cardiac MRI and both were normal. I get super scared sometimes, thought. Not of getting sick again but of my loved ones getting sick. I don’t ever want them to have this thing. It’s a beast.
“So I vacillate between being so grateful and so terrified. Grateful that it was me who got sick and terrified that friends or family will be sick.”
Milano first revealed she was suffering with ‘long Covid’ back at the beginning of August, when she revealed she’d been experiencing “lingering symptoms” of the virus including “vertigo, stomach abnormalities, irregular periods, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, zero short term memory and general malaise”.
“This illness is not a hoax,” she wrote on Instagram. “I thought I was dying. I felt like I was dying.”
Milano added: “Please take care of yourselves. Please wash your hands and wear a mask and social distance. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt.”
Milano isn’t the only celebrity to reveal she is suffering from ‘long Covid’. Last month, Girls star Lena Dunham also shared her “Covid Story” on Instagram, detailing how her symptoms had lasted long after she tested negative for coronavirus.
“I had swollen hands and feet, an unceasing migraine and fatigue that limited my every move,” she wrote. “Even as a chronically ill person, I had never felt this way. The doctor determined I was suffering from clinical adrenal insufficiency – my pituary gland had almost entirely ceased to function – as well as ‘status migrainosis’ (in human terms, a migraine that just won’t stop).”
If we can take anything from Milano and Dunham’s experiences, it’s that Covid-19 is still a very unpredictable, dangerous virus – and we should still be doing everything we can to ensure it doesn’t spread. The pandemic isn’t over just because we’re bored with it, and right now, we need to keep taking care of ourselves and others.