Lightning might not strike twice, but COVID-19 certainly can, as I found out.
I was so certain my first infection would be the one and only, as I am fairly careful in my day-to-day life. I mask up, I social distance and I generally avoid going into highly populated stores and gatherings unless I absolutely must. If I do have to be present in such situations, I try to keep a “bubble” around myself and give everyone a wide berth where possible. I even got vaccinated, and was going to schedule my booster shot appointment.
This one caught me entirely off-guard, as it is a time of year when I am prone to seasonal allergies, sinus issues and all the fun stuff the falling leaves bring us. Because it came out of left field, my family also wound up getting sick as I was not nearly as quick to distance myself from them as I was the first time, thinking my illness to be the typical allergies I struggle with in autumn. By the time I suspected I was ill with COVID, my grandmother had tested positive, and my test I took two days later would also prove I had it.
I’m finally on the mend, but I hope that, despite how weary we all are of the pandemic, everyone can still continue to take the virus seriously when they hear of situations like mine. It is still out there, ever-present, and we can all do a little extra to help mitigate spread.
With a new variant being recognized, it is very important that we all do our parts to help protect others, and this whole experience of my second infection made that all so readily apparent to me.
Masks are effective at lowering spread, as it blocks aerial spray of respiratory droplets, and the vaccine and boosters are widely available. We are fortunate to live in a country where there are no shortage of vaccine supplies, I only wish people would take advantage of them.
They won’t entirely protect you from getting COVID forever, but they definitely can make your infection less critical. I’m personally seven months out from my initial vaccines, and I haven’t grown any extra limbs, so I think I feel pretty confident that it works as intended. I definitely feel boosters are going to be essential to long-term means of addressing COVID, much like flu shots and other vaccines we regularly update for immunity.
Along with those mitigation strategies, getting tested even when you’re “certain” it isn’t COVID isn’t a bad idea. The test isn’t pleasant, but it could help prevent others from becoming ill if you know what you think are “allergy-like symptoms” are actually COVID sooner rather than later. COVID symptoms can vary so widely between people, due to their bodies’ individual immune responses, so it really can be risky to assume you’re clear without knowing for sure. I’ll gladly take a nose swab to prevent infecting others going forward. This was certainly a lesson learned.
Standard reporter Nikki Childers can be reached at 473-2191.