COVID Survivor Warns of Permanent ‘Post-Viral Syndrome’: “Imagine Feeling Like You Have a Hangover or the Flu for the REST. OF. YOUR. LIFE.”

“Imagine feeling like you have a HANGOVER or the flu for the REST. OF. YOUR. LIFE.

If you get Covid-19 and recover, you might permanently have a residual “post-viral syndrome,” or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. It’s estimated that between 10 and 29% of survivors will. So just because you’re young and healthy and will likely not be the ~1% to die, doesn’t mean you’re going to get well. Imagine this:

You wake up with a headache. Your joints ache and it hurts to move. You feel like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz when he needs his oil. Your brain feels foggy. You try to remember what you’re supposed to do today, but your brains are mush. You feel flushed and clammy and a little nauseous. When you walk to the kitchen for your coffee, the world tips and swims just a little, as if it’s just not stable around you.

Once you are up and moving and drink your cuppa, maybe you start to feel a little better, or maybe a migraine sets in. Lights and sounds and smells- everything is just too much! Just getting dressed or taking a shower might be too strenuous and send you back to bed.

Sounds awful, huh? The unfortunate part is that it’s NOT a hangover. There was no fun last night; no choice in the matter, and it won’t go away after a good sleep. It’s what it is like to live with a post-viral syndrome, as many survivors of Covid-19 are finding out.

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It’s exertion intolerance, too, so imagine never being able to work out again. How fit you are now is likely the best you’ll ever get, and your condition will likely decrease significantly. Going up the stairs will leave you breathless, heart racing.

Alcohol will send you into a crash, making you more sick than you can imagine. So will staying up late. Your schedule will suddenly age by decades.

I’ve heard from young people that they’re not afraid of the coronavirus because if they get it, they won’t die since they’re young and healthy. That is likely true. Maybe the possibility of spreading the virus to others doesn’t worry you. Maybe this all seems unreal. But THIS is what you haven’t heard of with Covid-19. If you get sick, you might become non-contagious, but you may never get well.

I contracted this condition in December, likely from a different virus, before I had ever heard of it. The description above is a normal day for me. On a good day, I can walk a 1.3 mile loop around my neighborhood, as long as I lay down as soon as I get home; that will be the extent of my activity of the day. Even though I just finished my master’s degree right before getting sick, I’m not sure if I will ever be able to work again, which devastates me.

I have 4 sons who have to be quiet every afternoon for mommy to nap, or else I cannot be around them. They know I can’t go on hikes with them anymore and that sometimes I have to abruptly end family outings because I feel too ill. My husband has to pick up the slack where I have had to let go because of this illness. It’s not fair to any of them!

Think about what you would miss out on?

If we can hold off the virus from permeating our communities longer, we will get closer to a vaccine, which will be within our control and we might possibly avoid cases like mine. There is still so much unknown about this virus; acting casually, such as sharing drinks or vapes, is just not smart. Trust me, you don’t want this.”

**This story was written by Kristi Strelow and originally appeared on her Facebook page. See more from her on Facebook. 

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