Sunday, December 5, 2021

Students share their experience with getting COVID-19

January 19, 2021
<p>This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed by electron microscope. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS</p>

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed by electron microscope. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Human biology sophomore Kelsey Robinson got COVID-19 the third week she got to campus from a friend.

Psychology sophomore Lauren Gudeman got it from her roommate's boyfriend’s roommate. 

Political science sophomore Ryland Bennett got COVID-19 from his roommate’s girlfriend.

Through different forms of transmission, these students all got sick and had varying experiences with the infectious virus, from mild flu symptoms to losing their sense of smell or taste.

Robinson said she had been really safe before getting the disease, keeping hand sanitizer in her bag all the time, wearing an N-95 mask, and social distancing.

Robinson also said she made sure her friend got a negative test result before coming over. However, later that week, they both tested positive, along with all of her roommates. Her symptoms were particularly bad. She said she had a 103-degree fever that lasted for four days, sore muscles, back pain and a loss of appetite.

“The fever was the worst part because it made me feel so unwell," she said. "I remember where I couldn’t move my eyes side-to-side. I had to turn my whole head because it would give me shooting pains in my head."

Once the fever lessened, Robinson said she felt a little better. She ended up losing her sense of smell and taste, only to fully recover two weeks later.

Even though she ended up alright in the end, she was still fearful to get the disease.

“I was scared to get COVID," she said. "I knew that it wouldn’t be that bad for our age group but I didn’t want to get it especially since we don’t know the repercussions of COVID right now and what it could really do." 

After she recovered, Robinson said she started seeing more friends since she had the antibodies in her system. According to the National Institute of Health, two studies showed that COVID-19 antibodies persist for at least three to four months after first infection.

Even though Robinson is a little more lenient on going out right now, she understands the risks involved with COVID-19. She even took a microbiology class in which she learned how the disease spreads, how it manipulates our DNA and our mRNA.

“I got to learn exactly how the vaccine works, so I know that if I get the opportunity to take the vaccine, immediately I’ll take it because it’s not going to damage me, Robinson said. "It's only beneficial at this point."

Gudeman was sick with COVID-19 for 10 days, during which she lost her sense of smell and taste. For three of these days, she felt like she had the flu and had a sore throat.

Because she has asthma and is at higher risk for complications, Gudeman said she would only hang out with people she knew, would always wear her mask and would gather with less than 10 people.

Her time having the disease also took a mental toll on her. 

“Just feeling that sick and not knowing, having it be a new illness that affects everyone totally differently, I was really anxious because I was scared if I went to bed feeling sick, how much sicker I would get,” she said.

The isolation part was also difficult for her. Since she’s a huge people person, she started to feel lonely.

Director of Health and Services at MSU Student Health and Wellness Keith Nelson said in an email that students that test positive should self isolate and avoid close contact with others. However, Nelson said it's difficult to stay isolated.

"It can be very trying to have to be isolated for a period of time," Nelson said. "Any forms of communication with friends and loved ones can be very helpful, whether that be via phone calls, Zoom calls, or social media. This also allows the student to communicate changing or worsening symptoms, and get further help if necessary."

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Bennett said he and his roommates were doing everything they could to make sure they didn’t get the disease: They wore their masks, checked their temperature, used hand sanitizer and did their best to social distance and not introduce new bodies into their social circle.

One slip occurred when he didn’t know his roommate's girlfriend had COVID when she visited. A few days later, Bennett and his roommate decided to get tested, which led to them being positive. 

During his first few days with the disease, Bennett said he had a lot of sinus pressure, body aches and a headache. Later, he also lost his sense of smell. 

Bennett said that seeing the death totals was scary while he was sick. However, since he is 20 years old, young and relatively healthy, he knew he was pretty safe from severe symptoms.

After getting COVID-19, he ended up becoming more careful and responsible with pandemic restrictions.

“Of my roommates, two of us got it and two of us didn’t, so I think my mindset shifted more while me and one of my roommates had antibodies for a certain amount of months," Bennett said. "I did get a little more cautious because I wanted to make sure my other few roommates didn’t get it. I made sure I was a little more aware of my surroundings trying to make sure while I had gotten it we didn't keep spreading it.”

Nelson said that college students who test positive for COVID-19 tend to have mild to moderate symptoms. If a student tests positive during the semester, they should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and visit the MSU Together We Will website for accommodations and resources.

This article is part of our MLK Day print issue. Read the full issue here.

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