It’s easy to consider yourself far removed from coronavirus, especially if you are a younger person with no underlying health issues. However, an increasing number of confirmed Covid-19 patients are taking to Twitter to share their stories in a bid to dispute this theory – including Bjonda Haliti, who was recently diagnosed with the disease at the age of 22.
In a Twitter thread which has been shared well over 162K times, Haliti says: “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.”
In a series of tweets, Haliti takes readers back to the first day she began experiencing coronavirus symptoms. They began mildly enough with a dry cough and sore throat, as well as increased levels of tiredness.
Like so many other confirmed coronavirus patients, Haliti went to bed to sleep it off, but awoke feeling far worse.
“I felt a lot of pressure in my head to the point I would have to cough softly to avoid the discomfort,” she says. “That night, I experienced the chills and had a fever.
“One main symptom that stood out to me [was that] my eyes physically hurt. They were tender and sore. Moving them was uncomfortable. Doing some research I discovered this was just a migraine, but it didn’t go away at ALL.”
Haliti slept all day but, when she once again awoke with a fever and low-energy level, she decided to go to the doctors.
“The doctor told me I probably just had an infection and prescribed me antibiotics and 800mg of ibuprofen,” she recalls. “I made sure to stay extremely hydrated and stocked up on vitamins and probiotics. That night, I still ran a fever.”
The next morning, Haliti’s fever had abated, but she had begun experiencing a frightening new symptom: shortness of breath.
“It felt like I had bricks on my chest,” she recalls, adding that it was at this point she wanted to test for coronavirus. However, getting tested proved incredibly difficult, and she was instead forced to self-quarantine and “hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE!”
Haliti once again woke up feeling terrible and, this time, demanded that she be tested for coronavirus.
“I wasn’t going to take no for an answer,” she says.
Eventually, her doctor agreed to testing, but warned Haliti that she would not receive her results for at least five days. In the meantime, she was advised to self-quarantine and continue to take the antibiotics she had been provided with.
Slowly but steadily, Haliti’s energy levels began to increase and her symptoms lessened until she was left with a “little heavier [than normal]” cough.
As of this week, Haliti’s test results have come in as positive, so she is continuing to self-isolate and take care of herself.
“I will need to retest in order to be cleared,” she says. “That’s if I can find a doctor who’s willing to retest me. Haven’t had any luck so far.”
Haliti has, since sharing her story, been flooded with messages of support. However, she has also been asked the same question over and over again: how did she contract Covid-19 in the first place?
“I don’t know,” she says. “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. Hence the importance of social distancing!”
Many countries around the world have, in a bid to “flatten the coronavirus curve”, encouraged social distancing by banning large gatherings, encouraging telecommuting and closing schools.
If you, like Haliti, are young and healthy, you should absolutely still follow government guidelines.
“For younger and healthier people, the likelihood of overcoming and recovering from the illness is much higher. The advice for younger people, should they become infected, will be the same – you’ll still need to self-isolate.”
This means that, while the virus is more dangerous to the sick and elderly, we all have a responsibility to protect one another.
As the NHS puts it: “People of all ages should follow simple measures to stop viruses like coronavirus spreading, for example by washing their hands often with soap and water.”
Remember: if you think you might have coronavirus, do not visit your local GP or hospital. Instead, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
Images: Mi Yeoun Jun on Unsplash