A Healthy 24-Year-Old’s Eye-opening COVID-19 Experience

A Healthy 24-Year-Old’s Eye-opening COVID-19 Experience

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As COVID numbers skyrocketed nationwide and 30% of patients tested in our office last week had COVID positive results, we sat down with Danielle, a 24-year old Cincinnati native, to discuss her recent COVID experience. Here’s what she wants you to know and why you should follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and other medical experts.

A Year Like No Other
A recent college graduate, Danielle moved to New York City in March to purse a career in retail fashion. “I was literally there for two weeks before COVID hit New York.” Danielle’s company quickly moved employees to a work from home scenario, which Danielle did until she was furloughed. While on furlough, Danielle decided to move home, splitting her time between her mom’s home in Cincinnati and her dad’s home in Colorado.

“We were all very careful, but it didn’t matter. My dad was the first one to get sick,” says Danielle. Danielle and her stepmother also got tested and were negative in mid-November. Her dad had mild symptoms, as did her stepmother, who tested positive a couple of days later. Danielle took another test once her stepmother tested positive and was experiencing symptoms. It was negative. Feeling well and knowing her dad and stepmother were quarantined and she was negative, Danielle decided to travel home to Cincinnati for her brother’s birthday and Thanksgiving.  So, she took a third Rapid Antigen test and it was negative.

Traveling Home
Danielle’s other brother drove her to the airport, a 40-minute ride. They both wore masks in the car. During a layover, she started feeling a little tired and had minor sniffles, but given her three negative tests, she chalked it up to a seasonal cold that she always gets this time of year.

Once in Cincinnati, Danielle celebrated her brother’s birthday with her brother and two of his friends; a low-key affair in his apartment, where they had some drinks and shared takeout. They did not social distance. They did not wear masks. A few days later, Danielle started to feel pretty crummy, as did one of her brother’s friends whom she’d hung out with, who got tested and was positive.

A 4th COVID Test
After three negative tests, but now feeling ill, Danielle scheduled a 4th test; this time a Rapid PCR test at Lisa Larkin M.D. and Associates. She received her test results the same day and was positive. She soon found out that both her brothers and the other friend at the birthday get together had also tested positive.

It hit Danielle like a ton of bricks…not YET the virus, but the overwhelming regret learning she had infected 4 family members/close friends with COVID. “That’s how it works, Danielle says. It is not discerning.”

A Myriad of Symptoms
What started as some sniffles and being a little clammy, turned into countless awful symptoms including a severe cluster migraine headache that lasted for two days and included a lengthy episode of blurred vision, dizziness, confusion, and trouble forming thoughts/speaking clearly. She also had numbness in her arms and hands.

There were times she didn’t think she was going to make it; her symptoms induced panic and anxiety. When the migraine finally subsided, she had abdominal issues that she could only describe as “the worst food poisoning you could imagine.” After a day of that, she felt better and was finally on the mend.

Sharing Her Story
After she felt better, she felt it was important to share her experience on her social media channels, in hopes of affecting behavior changes among her friends and family, especially those her age, who she feels have not taken the virus seriously. Danielle is typically not a person who shares anything uber-personal on social media, but made an exception this time, feeling urgency to help stop the spread.

The reactions to her post? Mixed. She was surprised at some of the backlash and lost some followers. Some followers mocked the seriousness of COVID, and chastised her for sharing her story. Unfortunately, Danielle’s story is not unique. Those who have recovered from COVID have faced criticism or been ostracized/ridiculed.

On the other hand, it had a profound effect on some in her network, and Danielle received multiple text messages from friends who told her that learning about her COVID experience, made them reconsider and cancel plans and make overall lifestyle changes during the pandemic.

Danielle says that was her goal…to affect change, as was participating in this interview. “My takeaway from this experience is that just because you’re “young,” does not mean that you are untouchable to this very real and fatal virus.”

Moving Forward
We spoke to Danielle on her last day of quarantine and she was feeling well. All of her family and friends had mild symptoms and have since recovered, too. Danielle had it the worst, out of all of them. She feels she deserved to have it the worst; as her punishment for infecting them. She also knows that she is one of the lucky ones. She never had any trouble breathing or was hospitalized, and most importantly has recovered, unlike 300,000 other Americans, a catastrophic milestone the U.S. hit this week.

Danielle’s story is also a strong reminder that all COVID tests are a snapshot in time. The quick Rapid Antigen test only shows whether or not your body has started produced antigens. Having viral loads of surface proteins/antigens, typically indicates the infection. The times when Danielle had her first three tests, she did not have enough viral load of antigens to show an infection. She likely had COVID-19 when she traveled to Cincinnati, but her third test didn’t show the infection.

Vaccines are Coming + Online COVID Test Scheduling
While vaccines are slowly rolling out in the U.S. this week, testing remains an important component to control the pandemic until the vaccine is widely available. We offer convenient and quick online scheduling for Rapid Antigen testing for both members and non-members who are asymptomatic only. Results are available the same day. To easily schedule a Rapid Antigen test, CLICK HERE. While scheduling your appointment, you will complete all required consent forms and pay the $125 testing fee. It’s all very simple.

If you do become ill, we would like to see you in the office. For office visits and PCR Rapid Testing, please call us at 513.760.5511.

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